This week we feature a set of the lesser-known tracks from the 1967 Rolling Stones album Between The Buttons. We also have a Donovan set that includes two 1998 stereo remixes of songs that were originally released in 1966, when all of Donovan's recordings were only mixed monoraully. And, as always, there are plenty of singles, B sides and album tracks ranging from 1964 to 1970 on this week's edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era.
Title: Get Together
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: The Youngbloods)
Writer(s): Chet Powers
Label: Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
The Youngbloods, led by transplanted New Yorker Jesse Colin Young, were the second San Francisco band signed to industry leader RCA Victor Records. Their first album was released in 1967 but was overshadowed by the vinyl debuts of the Grateful Dead and Moby Grape, among others. In fact, the Youngbloods toiled in relative obscurity until 1969, when their own version of Dino Valenti's Let's Get Together (from the 1967 LP) was used in a TV ad promoting world peace. The song was subsequently released (with the title slightly shortened) as a single and ended up being the group's only hit record (as well as Valenti's most famous composition, albeit published under his birth name of Chet Powers).
Title: Horse Latitudes/Moonlight Drive
Source: LP: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride, which he wrote even before the band was formed. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band. Horse Latitudes, which leads into Moonlight Ride, was also an obvious Morrison composition, as it is essentially a piece of Morrison poetry with a musique concrete soundtrack provided by the rest of the band.
Artist: Left Banke
Title: Barterers And Their Wives
Source: 45 RPM single B side
The Left Banke made a huge impact with their debut single, Walk Away Renee, in late 1966. All of a sudden the rock press (such as it was in 1966) was all abuzz with talk of "baroque rock" and how it was the latest, greatest thing. The band soon released a follow-up single, Pretty Ballerina, which made the top 10 as well, which led to an album entitled (naturally enough) Walk Away Renee/Pretty Ballerina, which featured several more songs in the same vein, such as Barterers And Their Wives, which was also released as a B side later that year. An unfortunate misstep by keyboardist Michael Brown, however, led to the Left Banke's early demise, and baroque rock soon went the way of other sixties fads.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Country Joe McDonald liked to write songs that were inspired by women he knew. Being Country Joe McDonald these included some women who would end up becoming quite famous as part of the San Francisco scene. One of the most famous of those was Grace Slick of the Jefferson Airplane, who inspired the final track on the first Country Joe And The Fish LP, Electric Music For The Mind And Body. Who would have guessed?
Title: When The Night Falls
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Terry Nolder
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
The Eyes formed in Whealing, West London in late 1962 as the Renegades, changing their name to Gerry Hart And The Hartbeats and finally The Eyes in 1964. The band was part of the Mod movement in mid-60s London, and was known as much for their visual image (they all wore rugby shirts and pink parkas with tire tracks across the back) as for the music they made. Like all Mod bands, the Eyes went for simply-structured tunes with repeated riffs, as can be heard on When The Night Falls, their 1966 debut single for a British label that had been formed to issue American recordings, which led British disc jockeys to jump to the conclusion that the Eyes were simply an American band trying to sound British. After three more singles and an EP failed to change that impression, the group decided to disband the following year.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Ain't It Hard
Source: Mono CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes got their big break in 1966 when a real estate saleswoman heard them playing in a garage in L.A.'s San Fernando Valley and told her friend Dave Hassinger about them. Hassinger was a successful studio engineer (having just finished the Rolling Stones' Aftermath album) who was looking to become a record producer. The Prunes were his first clients, and Hassinger's production style is evident on their debut single. Ain't It Hard had already been recorded by the Gypsy Trips, and the Electric Prunes would move into more psychedelic territory with their next release, the iconic I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night).
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title: Ups And Downs
Source: Mono LP: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
At the beginning of 1967 Paul Revere and the Raiders were still flying high, with singles that consistently hit the upper reaches of the charts and a solid promotional platform in the daily afternoon TV show Action. Their first hit of the year was Ups And Downs, a collaboration between lead vocalist Mark Lindsay and producer Terry Melcher. Things would soon turn sour for the band, however, as a volatile market turned against the group. In part it was because their revolutionary war costumes were becoming a bit camp. Also, Action left the airwaves in 1967, and its Saturday Morning replacement, Happening, was seen as more of a kid's show than a legitimate rock and roll venue. Most importantly, however, Melcher and the Raiders parted company, and the band realized too late just how important a role Melcher had played in the group's success.
Title: Sunny South Kensington
Source: British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original US label: Epic)
Donovan followed up his 1966 hit single Sunshine Superman with an album of the same name. He then repeated himself with the song and album Mellow Yellow. The B side of the Mellow Yellow single was Sunny South Kensington, a tune done in much the same style as Superman. The song was also included on the Mellow Yellow album, and in 1998 was mixed in stereo for the first time.
Title: The Love Song
Source: LP: Barabajagal
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
The 1969 LP Barabajagal marked the end of the highly productive alliance between singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch and producer Mickie Most, who parted ways over divergent musical visions. In fact, only six of the 10 tracks on Barabajagal were produced by Most, including The Love Song, which opens the original LP's second side. Donovan would never again attain the commercial success he had while working with Most.
Title: Sunshine Superman
Source: British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original US label: Epic)
Up until the early 1970s there was an unwritten rule that stated that in order to get played on top 40 radio a song could be no more than three and a half minutes long. There were exceptions, of course, such as Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, but as a general rule the policy was strictly adhered to. Sometimes an artist would record a song that exceeded the limit but nonetheless was considered to have commercial potential. In cases like these the usual practice was for the record company (or sometimes the record's own producer) to create an edited version of the master recording for release as a single. Usually in these cases the original unedited version of the song would appear on an album. In the case of Donovan's Sunshine Superman, however, the mono single version was used for the album as well, possibly because the album itself was never issued in stereo. In fact, it wasn't until 1969 that the full-length original recording of Sunshine Superman was made available as a track on Donovan's first Greatest Hits collection. This was also the first time the song had appeared in stereo, having been newly mixed for that album. An even newer mix was made in 1998 and is included on a British anthology album called Psychedelia At Abbey Road. This version takes advantage of digital technology and has a slightly different sound than previous releases of the song.
Source: LP: The Pentangle
Sometimes the same term can mean entirely different things, depending on where you are. For example, in the US folk music of the 1960s brings to mind images of beatniks in coffee houses or maybe a group of friends singing around a campfire. In the UK, however, the primary image associated with folk music was that of being forced to learn a bunch of songs in school that were old when your grandparents were born. As a result, there was a certain resistance to folk music in general among British youth that took a bit of doing to overcome. Scotland's Donovan Leitch managed to do it by following in the footsteps of Bob Dylan, ignoring traditional tunes in favor of writing his own more socially-conscious material. A few others performed a mix of traditional folk and modern jazz with rock overtones and were moderately successful at it. In 1968 five of these modern traditionalists got together to form a folk/jazz/rock supergroup. Somehow, despite the massive amount of talent that John Renbourne, Burt Jansch, Jacqui McShee, Terry Cox and Richard Thompson had between them, they managed to stay together for several years without letting their egos get in the way of the music. The result was a series of outstanding albums starting with their 1968 self-titled debut, which, in addition to new versions of the aforementioned British folk songs, contained a handful of original compositions by the band. One of these originals is Bells, which may be the only folk song in history to include a drum solo (and a rather tasty jazz-styled one at that)!
Title: I'm So Tired
Source: CD: The Beatles
Label: Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Somehow I can't help but thinking of the Firesign Theatre's Further Adventures of Nick Danger every time I hear this song. I guess that's better than thinking of Charles Manson's group, which some of the other songs on the "white album" make me do.
Artist: Ace Of Cups
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on CD: It's Bad For You But Buy It)
Writer(s): Denise Kaufman
Label: Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2003
The Ace Of Cups were a pioneering all-female rock band from San Francisco that included Denise Kaufman, immortalized by Ken Kesey as Mary Microgram in Tom Wolfe's book The Electric Koolaid Acid Test. As one of the major Merry Pranksters, Kaufman's irreverent attitude is in full evidence on the track Glue, which features a bit of guerilla theater parodying the standard TV commercials of the time. Lead vocals are by Mary Gannon, who came up with the idea of a rock band made up entirely of women in the first place.
Artist: Lollipop Shoppe
Title: It's Only A Reflection
Source: CD: The Weeds aka The Lollipop Shoppe (originally released on LP: Just Colour)
Writer(s): Ed Bowen
Label: Way Back (original label: Uni)
Band managers are a funny kind of animal. A good one can turn an average group into an overnight success, while a poor one can completely destroy a band's reputation. Then there are the weird ones like Lord Tim that manage to do both at the same time. His first big success was with the Seeds, whom he managed to closely associate with the flower power movement, which of course backfired once that movement lost credibility with its youthful adherents. His next group was a band originally from Las Vegas called the Weeds. After discovering them playing in a club in Sausalito, he got them a contract to record an entire album for Uni Records, the forerunner of what is now the world's largest record conglomerate, Universal. The band then went about recording a dozen songs for the album, all but one of which were either written or co-written by the band's lead vocalist, Fred Cole. The lone exception was It's Only A Reflection, written by lead guitarist Ed Bowen. When the album came out in 1968, however, the band was surprised to find out their name had been changed to the Lollipop Shoppe by Lord Tim. As to why this happened, there are two predominant theories, both of which are probably partially true. First, Lord Tim wanted to avoid any confusion caused by the similarity of the names Seeds and Weeds. Second, it was 1968, and something known as bubblegum music was dominating the top 40 charts from groups with names like the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Whatever the reason, it was done without the band's knowledge or permission, and led to the group and Lord Tim parting company soon after the album was released. Eventually the group ended up in Portland, Oregon, where Cole and his new wife Toolie ended up forming the legendary indy-rock band Dead Moon.
Title: All Day And All Of The Night
Source: Mono Canadian import CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: PolyTel (original label: Reprise)
Following up on their worldwide hit You Really Got Me, the Kinks proved that lightning could indeed strike twice with All Day And All Of The Night. Although there have been rumours over the years that the guitar solo on the track may have been played by studio guitarist Jimmy Page, reliable sources insist that it was solely the work of Dave Davies, who reportedly slashed his speakers to achieve the desired sound.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Yesterday's Papers
Source: CD: Between The Buttons
Label: Abkco (original label:London)
Between The Buttons was the Rolling Stones first album of 1967 and included their first forays into psychedelic music, a trend that would dominate their next LP, Their Satanic Majesties Request. The opening track of Between The Buttons was Yesterday's Papers, a song written in the wake of Mick Jagger's breakup with his girlfriend Chrissie Shrimpton (who, after the album was released, tried to commit suicide). The impact of the somewhat cynical song was considerably less in the US, where it was moved to the # 2 slot on side one to make room for Let's Spend The Night Together, a song that had only been released as a single in the band's native UK.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: My Obsession
Source: LP: Between The Buttons
My Obsession, from the 1967 album Between The Buttons, is the kind of song that garage bands loved: easy to learn, easy to sing, easy to dance to. The Rolling Stones, of course, were the kings of this type of song, which is why so many US garage bands sounded like the Stones.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Who's Been Sleeping Here
Source: LP: Between The Buttons
Between The Buttons, released in early 1967, shows the Rolling Stones beginning to experiment with a more psychedelic sound than on previous albums. Brian Jones, in particular, took up several new instruments, including the sitar, heard prominently on the track Who's Been Sleeping Here. The next LP, Their Satanic Majesties Request, would take the group even further into psychedelic territory, prompting a back to basics approach the following year.
Artist: Grass Roots
Title: You're A Lonely Girl
Source: 45 RPM single B side
In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that there was no band called the Grass Roots (or so they claimed), so Sloan and Barri decided to recruit an existing band and talk them into changing their name. The band they found was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (Ballad Of A Thin Man). The B side was You're A Lonely Girl, a Sloan/Barri composition. The Bedouins would soon grow disenchanted with their role and move back to San Francisco, leaving Sloan and Barri the task of finding a new Grass Roots. Eventually they did, and the rest is history. The Bedouins never recorded again.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer: Paul Simon
Year: 1966 (first stereo release: 1968)
Originally released as a single in late 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs slated to be used in the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used was Mrs. Robinson. The remaining songs eventually made up side two of the 1968 album Bookends, although several of them were also released as singles throughout 1967. A Hazy Shade Of Winter, being the first of these singles (and the only one released in 1966), was also the highest charting, peaking at # 13 just as the weather was turning cold in most of the country.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: One Rainy Wish
Source: CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
In the summer of 1967 my dad (who was a Sergeant in the Air Force), got transferred to Lindsay Air Station in Weisbaden, Germany. The housing situation there being what it was, it was several weeks before the rest of us could join him, and during that time he went out and bought an Akai X-355 reel to reel tape recorder that a fellow GI had picked up in Japan. The Akai had small speakers built into it, but the best way to listen to it was through headphones. It would be another year before he would pick up a turntable, so I started buying pre-recorded reel to reel tapes. Two of the first three tapes I bought were Are You Experienced and Axis: Bold As Love, both by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. As I was forced to share a bedroom with my little brother I made it a habit to sleep on the couch in the living room instead, usually with the headphones on listening to Axis: Bold As Love. I was blown away by the stereo effects on the album, which I attributed (somewhat correctly) to Hendrix, although I would find out years later that much of the credit belongs to engineer Eddie Kramer as well. One Rainy Wish, for example, starts off with all the instruments in the center channel (essentially a mono mix). After a few seconds of slow spacy intro the song gets into gear with vocals isolated all the way over to the left, with a guitar overdub on the opposite side to balance it out. As the song continues, things move back and forth from side to side, fading in and out at the same time. It was a hell of a way to drift off to sleep every night.
Artist: Procol Harum
Title: Rambling On
Source: CD: Shine On Brightly
Procol Harum is generally considered to be one of the first progressive rock bands, thanks in part to their second LP, Shine On Brightly. In addition to the album's showpiece, the seventeen minute In Held Twas I, the album has several memorable tracks, including Rambling On, which closes out side one of the original LP. The song's rambling first-person lyrics (none of which actually rhyme) tell the story of a guy who, inspired by a Batman movie, decides to jump off a roof and fly. Oddly enough, he succeeds.
Artist: Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies
Title: The Sing-Along Song
Source: LP: The American Metaphysical Circus
Writer(s): Joseph Byrd
After leaving the United States Of America (the band, not the country), avant-garde songwriter Joseph Byrd, using the name Joe Byrd And The Field Hippies, embarked on a new project called The American Metaphysical Circus that was even more experimental than his previous work. For some strange reason Columbia Records decided to release the album on its Masterworks classical label, which resulted in the album staying in print for several years, far longer than the United States Of America LP. How experimental was this new album? A listen to The Sing-Along Song, which manages to immerse itself in several different (and on the surface incompatible) musical genres over the course of four minutes, should answer that question.
Title: The Girl I Knew Somewhere (original version)
Source: Mono CD: Headquarters (bonus track)
Writer(s): Michael Nesmith
Although both Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork had participated in a few of the studio sessions for what became the first two Monkees albums (with Nesmith producing), the Monkees did not record as an actual band until January 16, 1967, when they taped the first version of Nesmith's The Girl I Knew Somewhere. Nesmith himself handled the lead vocals and guitar work, while Tork, the most accomplished musician in the group, played harpsichord. Mickey Dolenz, who would take over lead vocals on the final version of the song, played drums and Davy Jones added the tambourine part. The discordant note at the end of Tork's instrumental break was actually an accident that the band liked so much they decided to keep it. This version of the song, which was never mixed in stereo, sat on a shelf until 1995, when it appeared on the Rhino CD reissue of the Headquarters album.
Title: Happy Is The Man
Source: LP: Friday On My Mind
Label: United Artists
In the summer of 1966 the Easybeats, recently relocated to London from their native Australia, entered EMI's Abbey Road studios to begin working on an album to be called Good Friday. The first group of songs they recorded, written by the band's original songwriting team of Stevie Wright and George Young and produced by Ted Albert, failed to impress the higher ups at United Artists Records, and Shel Talmy was brought in to take over production duties. At the same time, lead guitarist Harry Vanda replaced Wright as George Young's songwriting partner. Among the songs the new team came up with was Friday On My Mind, which became the title of the album itself in the US, Canada and Brazil. The original title of Good Friday was used everywhere else (except Germany, where the album was titled The Easybeats). Probably the most politically incorrect song on the album (by today's standards) was Happy Is The Man, a song that is bound to set feminists seething, especially considering that the second verse seems to imply that the singer has given multiple women an STD without telling them about it.
Source: Mono Russian import LP: Disraeli Gears
Label: Lilith (original label: Atco)
I distinctly remember this song getting played on the local jukebox just as much as the single's A side, Sunshine Of Your Love (maybe even more). Like most of Cream's more psychedelic material, SWLABR (the title being an anagram for She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and poet Pete Brown. Brown had originally been brought in as a co-writer for Ginger Baker, but soon realized that he and Bruce had better songwriting chemistry.
Artist: Janis Joplin
Title: Half Moon
Source: LP: Pearl
Writer(s): John & Johanna Hall
Half Moon was the B side of Janis Joplin's biggest-selling single, Me And Bobby McGee. As such, it is one of Joplin's best known songs from the Pearl album. The song itself was written (with his wife Johanna) by John Hall, who later went on to form his own band, Orleans, which scored major hits in the late 1970s with Dance With Me and Still The One, both of which were written by Hall. In 1977 Hall left Orleans to pursue a solo career, becoming active in the anti-nuclear movement as well, co-founding Musicians United for Safe Energy with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash. While living in Saugerties, NY, he co-founded two citizens' groups, which led to his election to the Saugerties Board of Education. Hall continued to write songs, both for himself and other artists, while simultaneously pursuing a political career that led to him serving two terms in the US House of Representatives.
Artist: Grateful Dead
Title: Sugar Magnolia
Source: CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: American Beauty)
Label: Warner Brothers
One of the most popular songs in the Grateful Dead catalog, Sugar Magnolia also has the distinction of being the second-most performed song in the band's history, with 596 documented performances. The song, written by Robert Hunter and Bob Weir, first appeared on the 1970 album American Beauty, but was not released as a single. A live version two years later, however, did see a single release, charting in the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100.
Artist: Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck
Title: One Ring Jane
Source: British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in Canada on LP: Home Grown Stuff)
Label: Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Sometimes called Canada's most psychedelic band, Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck was formed in British Columbia in 1967. After recording one unsuccessful single for London, the Duck switched to Capitol Records' Canadian division and scored nationally with the album Home Grown Stuff. After a couple more years spent opening for big name bands such as Alice Cooper and Deep Purple and a couple more albums (on the Capitol-owned Duck Records) the group disbanded, with vocalist/guitarist Donny McDougall joining the Guess Who in 1972.
Title: Magic Bus
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
While working on their landmark Tommy album, the Who continued to crank out singles throughout 1968. One of the most popular was Magic Bus, a song that remained in the band's live repertoire for many years. Like most of the Who's pre-Tommy singles, the song was never mixed in true stereo, although a fake stereo mix was created for the US-only LP Magic Bus-The Who On Tour. The original mono version of the song heard here is also shorter than the LP version, clocking in at slightly over three minutes.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: I'm A Man
Source: Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: United Artists
The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer, while his brother Steve went on to form the band Traffic. Then Blind Faith. Then Traffic again. And then a successful solo career. Meanwhile, the Spencer Davis Group continued on for several years with a series of replacement vocalists, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes with the Winwoods.