Three sets this week. The first, from 1969, includes some rarities from well-known artists, while the second, from 1970, includes some old favorites. The final set is a mixed bag of lesser-known tunes from the early 1970s, in no particular order. Yes, that's how we roll on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Gimme Shelter (alternate take)
Considered one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded, Gimme Shelter was released in 1969 as the opening track of the LP Let It Bleed. The original guitar riff was composed by Keith Richards, and reflects the tension the guitarist was feeling about his girlfriend possibly having a fling with his songwriting partner Mick Jagger while working on the film Performance together. This emotional tension is particularly evident in this alternate take of the song, which features Richards himself on lead vocals. This particular recording was sent to me by a listener, and I have no idea where it originally came from, or even if it has ever been officially released. Nonetheless, it is an interesting listening experience.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Source: CD: Voodoo Soup (originally released on LP: War Heroes)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year: Recorded 1969, released 1972
One of the last recordings made by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience, Midnight first appeared on the post-humous LP War Heroes in 1972. After War Heroes went out of print, Midnight appeared on the CD album Voodoo Soup, Alan Douglas's 1995 attempt at creating a "fourth" Jimi Hendrix studio album. Less than two years later Experience Hendrix, the family business which ousted Douglas and took over control of the guitarist's recordings, released First Rays Of The New Rising Sun, which used Hendrix's own personal notes as a guide to track selection. Midnight, which was not included on First Rays, later appeared on the 1997 CD South Saturn Delta.
Artist: Sons Of Champlin
Source: British import CD: Loosen Up Naturally/Follow Your Heart/The Sons (originally released on LP: Loosen Up Naturally)
Writer(s): Bill Champlin
Label: BGO (original label: Capitol)
While still in high school in Mill Valley, California in 1965, guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Bill Champlin hooked up with a band called the Opposite Six, one of the few blue-eyed soul bands on the West Coast. The group did pretty well until both the drummer and the bass player were drafted by the US Army, causing the Opposite Six to fall apart. Champlin, along with saxophone player Tim Cain, soon formed a new band, which after a brief flirtation with the name Masterbeats became the first incarnation of the Sons Of Champlin. The Opposite Six had always featured a horn section, a practice that Champlin continued with his new band. The group signed to Trident Records in 1967, recording an album that remained unreleased until 1999. The following year they got a deal with Capitol Records, and recorded their first album locally at Golden State Recorders. One of the highlights of the double-LP, Loosen Up Naturally, was a tune called Rooftop, which is fairly representative of the band's sound. The album did well enough to allow the band to record several more albums before Champlin left to replace Terry Kath in Chicago. Following his departure from that band a few years back, Champlin formed a new Sons Of Champlin band that is still performing regularly.
Title: Abbey Road Medley #2
Source: CD: Abbey Road
The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys. The second one consists of Golden Slumbers, Carry That Weight and The End, with Her Majesty (not included on this week's show) tossed in as a kind of "hidden" track at the end of the album. The End is somewhat unique in that it features solos by all three guitar-playing members of the band, as well as the only Ringo Starr drum solo to appear on a Beatles album.
Title: Space Child/When I Touch You
Source: CD: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus
Spirit keyboardist John Locke used a combination of piano, organ and synthesizers (then a still-new technology) to set the mood for the entire Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus recording sessions with his instrumental piece Space Child. The tune starts with a rolling piano riff that gives bassist Mark Andes a rare opportunity to carry the melody line before switching to a jazzier tempo that manages to seamlessly transition from a waltz tempo to straight time without anyone noticing. After a short reprise of the tune's opening riff the track segues into Jay Ferguson's When I Touch You, a song that manages to be light and heavy at the same time.
Artist: Black Sabbath
Title: Black Sabbath
Source: LP: Black Sabbath
Label: Warner Brothers
This track has to hold some kind of record for "firsts". Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath, from the album Black Sabbath is, after all, the first song from the first album by the first true heavy metal band. The track starts off by immediately setting the mood with the sound of church bells in a rainstorm leading into the song's famous tri-tone (often referred to as the "devil's chord") intro, deliberately constructed to evoke the mood of classic Hollywood horror movies. Ozzy Osborne's vocals only add to the effect. Even the faster-paced final portion of the song has a certain dissonance that had never been heard in rock music before, in part thanks to Black Sabbath's deliberate use of a lower pitch in their basic tuning. The result is something that has sometimes been compared to a bad acid trip, but is unquestionably the foundation of what came to be called heavy metal.
Artist: Uriah Heep
Title: I'll Keep On Trying
Source: LP:Uriah Heep
The term "heavy metal" had not come into common usage in 1970. If it had, Uriah Heep's debut LP would have been hailed as an early example. Although their later albums, particularly Demons And Wizards and the Magician's Birthday, would take a more progressive turn and deal with fantasy themes, Uriah Heep's first LP was much more straight ahead hard rock. The album was originally released in the UK with the title Very 'eavy...Very 'umble and featured a picture of lead vocalist David Byron partially obscured by cobwebs. The US release of the LP was entitled simply Uriah Heep and had a wraparound cover featuring a silver dragon on a black background. With one exception the song lineup was the same for both albums. I'll Keep On Trying, a song written by Byron and guitarist Mick Box, was included on both versions. You can check out both album covers at the Stuck in the Psychedelic Era Facebook page.
Artist: West, Bruce & Laing
Title: The Doctor
Source: CD: Why Dontcha
If West, Bruce & Laing had anything resembling a signature song, it would be The Doctor, from their first LP, Why Dontcha. They performed the song pretty much every time they played live. In addition to the three band members, the song is credited to a Sandra Palmer. I tried using a search engine, but came up with absolutely nothing on her. Anyone?
Title: In The Eye Of The Sun
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ray Manzarek
When Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore began recording the instrumental tracks for what would become the 7th Doors studio album, Other Voices, they were expecting Jim Morrison to return from Paris to add vocals to the songs. Morrison's sudden death in July of 1971 forced a change of plans, and it fell to Manzarek and Krieger to provide the vocals themselves. The opening track of Other Voices was In The Eye Of The Sun, written and sung by Manzarek. The song was also chosen to be the B side of the second single released from the album.
Artist: Stevie Wonder
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Stevie Wonder
It's difficult to pick out songs to play from Stevie Wonder's Innvervisions album. This is because every song on the album crossfades into the next one. Luckily, they released a copy of the sort-of title track as the B side to Living In The City in 1973.