This week's show features the weirdest pairing of bands ever to appear on the same concert tour together, in what has to be the strangest battle of the bands yet presented on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. We also have plenty of sets from specific years, including a 1965 revisit to Highway 61.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Source: CD: Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
It may not have been the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but Kicks, as recorded by Paul Revere And The Raiders, was the first to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. The song, written by Brill building husband and wife team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was also the highest charting single for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation made it all the way to the top five years later.
Title: The Other Side Of This Life
Source: LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released in US on LP: Animalism)
Writer(s): Fred Neil
The final album credited to the original Animals was a late 1966 collection of mostly blues covers that was released only in the US. Animalism (not to be confused with the UK LP Animalisms from earlier in the year which was the basis for the US album Animalization) was recorded in Los Angeles, possibly at the same time as the Mothers Of Invention album Freak Out. Frank Zappa wrote, arranged and played guitar on the album's opening track (All Night Long) and arranged The Other Side Of This Life, a Fred Neil song that was being performed regularly by several California bands (including Jefferson Airplane) at around the same time. Although credited to the Animals, the instrumental tracks for those two songs were reportedly performed by various members of the Wrecking Crew, along with drummer John Guerin and Zappa himself, who played bass on The Other Side Of This Life.
Title: Cat's Squirrel
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Trad., arr. S. Splurge
One of the few instrumentals in the Cream repertoire, Cat's Squirrel was something of a blues standard whose origins are lost in antiquity. Unlike the 1968 Jethro Tull version, which emphasises Mick Abrahams's guitar work, Cream's Cat's Squirrel is heavy on the harmonica, played by bassist Jack Bruce.
Title: Get Together
Source: LP: The Youngbloods
Writer(s): Chet Powers
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).
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: The War Is Over
Source: LP: After Bathing At Baxters
Writer: Paul Kantner
Label: RCA/BMG Heritage
Jefferson Airplane's third album, After Bathing At Baxters' had a unique structure. The dozen or so songs were grouped into five suites, three on one side of the album and two on the other. The shortest of these was The War Is Over, which was comprised of two Paul Kantner songs, Martha and Wild Thyme. A short film of Martha, similar to those accompanying the Beatles' Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane earlier in the year, was shown on a Perry Como special in the fall of '67 (Como being a labelmate of the Airplane).
Artist: Velvet Illusions
Title: Acid Head
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Tell, also released on Metromedia Records)
Showing an obvious influence by the Electric Prunes (a suburban L.A. band that was embraced by the Seattle crowd as one of their own) the Illusions backtracked the Prunes' steps, leaving their native Yakima and steady gigging for the supposedly greener pastures of the City of Angels. After a few months of frustration in which the band seldom found places to practice, let alone perform, they headed back to Seattle to cut Acid Head before calling it quits.
Artist: Third Bardo
Title: I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Roulette)
The Third Bardo (the name coming from the Tibetan Book of the Dead) only released one single, but I'm Five Years Ahead Of My Time has become, over a period of time, one of the most sought-after records of the psychedelic era. Not much is known of this New York band made up of Jeffrey Moon (vocals), Bruce Ginsberg (drums), Ricky Goldclang (lead guitar), Damian Kelly (bass) and Richy Seslowe (guitar).
Artist: George Harrison
Source: CD: Wonderwall Music
Starting in 1966 George Harrison showed an intense interest in the music of sitarist Ravi Shankar, and in Indian classical music in general, even to the point of learning to play the sitar himself. His first composition along those lines was Love You To, from the Revolver album, followed in 1967 by Within You Without You from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. In 1968 Harrison took it a step further by composing and performing music for the soundtrack of a film by director Joe Massot called called Wonderwall. The film itself dealt with a wall separating two apartments occupied by individuals from extremely different backgrounds (a lonely college professor and a Vogue model), and a small gap in the wall itself creating a bridge between the two. Harrison used the film as a springboard to fuse music from Eastern (Indian classical) and Western (rock) traditions, introducing Western audiences to various Indian instruments in the process. The album, Wonderwall Music, was Harrison's first solo project as well as the first album released on the Apple label (predating the Beatles White Album by several weeks). Wonderwall Music featured several guest musicians, including Eric Clapton, who came up with the guitar riffs on Ski-ing, the shortest track on the album. Although Wonderwall Music was not a commercial success at the time of its release, it has since come to be highly regarded as a forerunner of both electronica and world music.
Title: Everybody's Next One
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
We all knew someone in high school who had trouble differentiating between lovemaking and casual sex. We also knew people who would take advantage of that person, usually bragging about it to their friends afterward. Thus was the stage set for Everybody's Next One, the B side of Steppenwolf's 1968 hit single Born To Be Wild. The song, written by Steppenwolf's lead vocalist John Kay and producer Gabriel Mekler, originally appeared on the band's debut LP.
Artist: Beacon Street Union
Title: Speed Kills
Source: British import CD: The Eyes of the Beacon Street Union/The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Label: See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Boston's Beacon Street Union had an interesting mix of tunes on their debut LP. Despite the title, Speed Kills is not an anti-drug song. Rather, the song addresses the frenetic pace of life the band members had encountered since relocating to New York City shortly before recording The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union.
Artist: Jeff Thomas
Title: Straight Arrow
Source: Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Jeff Thomas
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Warner Brothers)
To look at a publicity photo of Jeff Thomas, you'd think you had been transported to the late 1950s. Musically, he was squarely (pun intended) in the middle of the road, with a crooning style that was clearly out of synch with the times. Somehow, though, he managed to write a tasty piece of psychedelia called Straight Arrow, which was released as his second of three singles in late 1968.
Title: Wind Dream
Source: Mono British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Stephen Ehret
Label: Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
The Wildflower was one of four bands chosen to represent Mainstream Records on the 1967 compilation album With Love-A Pot Of Flowers. Unlike the other three bands, the Wildflower was part of the emerging San Francisco underground music scene, playing the same places as Jefferson Airplane, Quicksilver Messenger Service and the Grateful Dead. Following an audition at Gene Estribou's loft studio in Haight-Ashbury, the Wildflower, along with Big Brother And The Holding Company, were signed by Mainstream's owner, Bob Shad, who quickly flew the band down to Los Angeles to cut a single, a song written by guitarist Stephen Ehret and poet Michael McClure called Baby Dear. The B side of that single was an Ehret composition called Wind Dream. Although the record did not sell well, the band did a tour of the East Coast, and even generated major label interest, but by the time they were able to free themselves of their Mainstream contract, the group had broken up.
Source: Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original label: Pye; original US label: Reprise)
One of the best albums in the Kinks library is Face To Face. Released in 1966, the album features such classics and Sunny Afternoon and Dedicated Follower Of Fashion, as well as some lesser-known (yet excellent) tracks such as Fancy, a personal favorite of songwriter Ray Davies, who recalls coming up with the song late one night on his old Framus guitar. My first guitar was a Framus, but I sure didn't come up with anything remotely as cool as Fancy on it.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Section 43 (EP version)
Source: Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on EP: Rag Baby #2)
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
Label: Rhino (original label: Rag Baby)
Rag Baby was an underground journal published by Country Joe McDonald in mid-60s Berkeley, California. In 1965 McDonald decided to do a "talking issue" of the paper with an extended play (EP) record containing two songs by McDonald's band, Country Joe and the Fish and two by singer Peter Krug. In 1966 McDonald published a second Rag Baby EP, this time featuring four songs by Country Joe and the Fish. Among those was the original version of Section 43, a psychedelic instrumental that would appear in a re-recorded (and slightly changed) stereo form on the band's first LP, Electric Music For The Mind And Body, in early 1967.
Artist: Thor's Hammer (Hljomar)
Title: My Life
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released on British EP: Umbarumbamba for export to Iceland)
Label: Rhino (original label: Parlophone)
Originally formed in 1964 in Keflavik, Iceland, Hljomar, led by Gunnar Thordarson quickly became one of the most popular teen-oriented bands on the island nation, commencing to record locally in their native language in 1965. It soon became evident, however, that for the band to increase their audience base they would have to start recording in English, and by the end of the year had travelled to England to record songs under the name Thor's Hammer for an upcoming movie starring the band. Both the movie itself and a four-song EP featuring tunes from the film were released in late 1966, both bearing the name Umbarumbamba. Neither the movie or the EP did particularly well, however, despite strong tunes such as My Life, and after a final attempt at an English language single in 1967 the band returned to Iceland, becoming Hljomar once more for the remainder of their existence.
Artist: Shadows Of Knight
Title: I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("around here" in place of "up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the second follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest practicioner.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: You've Never Had It Better
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Snagster/Schwartz/Poncher (Lowe/Tulin)
Following the lack of a hit single from their second album, Underground, the Electric Prunes took one last shot at top 40 airplay with a song called Everybody Knows Your Not In Love. The band might have had better luck if they had pushed the flip side of the record, You Never Had It Better, which is a much stronger song. As it is, the record stiffed, and producer David Hassinger reacted by stripping the band of any creative freedom they might have had and made an album called Mass in F Minor using mostly studio musicians. The band, having signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes to their manager early on, could do nothing but watch helplessly as Hassinger created an album that had little in common with the original band other than their name. Because of this, the original members soon left, and Hassinger brought in a whole new group for two more albums (and several singles) before retiring the Prunes name for good. In recent years several members of the original band, including James Lowe and Mark Tulin, who wrote You've Never Had It Better, reformed the Electric Prunes. Whether they had to get permission to use the name is unknown.
Title: Love Is Only Sleeping
Source: LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD.
Among the various professional songwriters hired by Don Kirschner in 1966 to write songs for the Monkees were the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, who had hit it big with a pair of songs for Paul Revere And The Raiders (Kicks and Hungry) earlier that year. But when the Monkees rebelled against Kirschner's control over their recorded output in early 1967 it looked as though the band was done with Mann/Weil compositions altogether. Later that year, however, the Monkees themselves, now firmly in control of their own musical direction, chose to record a new Mann/Weil tune, Love Is Only Sleeping, as their fourth single. At the same time, the group was working on their fourth LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones, LTD. A last-minute change of plans resulted in a different song, Daydream Believer, being released as a single instead, with a tune from the album, Goin' Down, as the B side. Goin' Down was then deleted from the album lineup and Love Is Only Sleeping included in its place. It was the closest that Michael Nesmith would ever come to being the lead vocalist on a Monkees hit single.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Foxy Lady
Source: LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
The first track on the original UK release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was buried near the end of side 2.
Title: Porpoise Song
Source: CD: The Monkees Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Castles Made Of Sand
Source: LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA/Experience Hendrix
When I was a junior in high school I used to fall asleep on the living room couch with the headphones on, usually listening to pre-recorded tapes of either the Beatles' Revolver album or one of the first two albums by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. One song in particular from the second Hendrix album, Axis: Bold As Love, always gave me a chill when I heard it: Castles Made Of Sand. The song serves as a warning not to put too much faith in your dreams, and stands in direct contrast to the usual goal-oriented American attitude.
Title: The Door Into Summer
Source: LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
After playing nearly all the instrumental tracks on their third album themselves, the Monkees came to the painful conclusion that they would not be able to repeat the effort and still have time to tape a weekly TV show. As a result, the fourth Monkees LP, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones LTD., used studio musicians extensively, albeit under the creative supervision of the Monkees themselves. The group also had the final say over what songs ended up on the album, including The Door Into Summer, a tune by Bill Martin, a friend of band leader Michael Nesmith. For reasons that are too complicated to get into here (and probably wouldn't make much sense anyway), co-credit was given to the band's producer, Chip Douglas.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: 3rd Stone From The Sun
Source: LP: Are You Experienced
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
One of the great rock instrumentals, 3rd Stone From The Sun (from the Jimi Hendrix Experience album Are You Experienced) is one of the first tracks to use a recording technique known as backwards masking (where the tape is deliberately put on the machine backwards and new material is added to the reversed recording). In this particular case the masked material (Hendrix speaking) was added at a faster speed than the original recording, with a lot of reverb added, creating an almost otherworldly effect when played forward at normal speed.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Ballad Of A Thin Man
Source: CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan himself plays piano on Ballad Of A Thin Man, from his controversial 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited. Up to that point in his career, Dylan had recorded mostly acoustic material, usually accompanying himself on guitar with little or no other instrumentation. On Highway 61 Revisited, however, he was joined by a full complement of electric musicians, including guitarist Mike Bloomfield (of the Butterfield Blues Band) and Al Kooper (who would go on to be a star in his own right as a member of the Blues Project and later as the founder of Blood, Sweat And Tears). Ballad Of A Thin Man itself was, according to Dylan, based on a real person, or an amalgam of real people who had crossed Dylan's path. The subject of the song, Mr. Jones, as referred to in the song's refrain "Something is happening here/ But you don't know what it is/ Do you, Mr Jones?" was based on the various establishment types who were virtually clueless when it came to understanding the youthful counter-culture that was developing in the mid-1960s. The following year the Grass Roots scored a regional hit in Southern California with their cover of the song, retitled Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man).
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Like A Rolling Stone
Source: 45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan incurred the wrath of folk purists when he decided to use electric instruments for his 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited. The opening track on the album is the six-minute Like A Rolling Stone, a song that was also selected to be the first single released from the new album. After the single was pressed, the shirts at Columbia Records decided to cancel the release due to its length. An acetate copy of the record, however, made it to a local New York club, where, by audience request, the record was played over and over until it was worn out (acetate copies not being as durable as their vinyl counterparts). When Columbia started getting calls from local radio stations demanding copies of the song the next morning they decided to release the single after all. Like A Rolling Stone ended up going all the way to the number two spot on the US charts, doing quite well in several other countries as well.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues
Source: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer: Bob Dylan
Although Bob Dylan is not usually thought of as a psychedelic artist, he was the first major folk artist to go electric and was instrumental in introducing several of his fellow musicians to mind-expanding substances. 1965's Highway 61 Revisited album is generally regarded as being among the most influential of Dylan's albums, thanks to tracks like Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Double Decker Bus
Source: Mono LP: Psychotic Reaction
Writer(s): John Byrne
With Count Five's single Psychotic Reaction rocketing up the charts in late 1966, Double Shot Records rushed the band into the studio to record a full-length LP, called (naturally) Psychotic Reaction. The key word here is "rushed", as band members later complained that they were not given the time to fully develop their original material, most of which was written by guitarist John "Sean" Byrne. Nonetheless, the album contains nine original tunes (along with two covers of Who songs tossed in as filler), all of which are classic examples of what has come to be called garage rock. Double Decker Bus, which opens the album, is a good example of Byrne's original material. Count Five was never able to duplicate the success of their hit single, however, and after the song's popularity had run its course the group, consisting of Kenn Ellner on lead vocals, tambourine and harmonica, John "Mouse" Michalski on lead guitar, John "Sean" Byrne on rhythm guitar and vocals, Craig "Butch" Atkinson on drums and Roy Chaney on bass guitar, disbanded so that its members could pursue college educations and avoid being drafted.
Title: My White Bicycle
Source: Poorly done fake stereo CD: Acid Daze (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Label: Uncut (original label: Parlophone)
One of the most popular bands with the mid-60s London Mods was a group called the In Crowd. In 1967 the band abandoned its R&B/Soul sound for a more psychedelic approach, changing its name to Tomorrow in the process. Their debut single, My White Bicycle, was inspired by the practice in Amsterdam of leaving white bicycles at various stategic points throughout the city for anyone to use (Ithaca, NY currently does the same thing, except theirs are yellow and green). The song sold well and got a lot of play at local discoteques, but did not chart. Soon after the record was released, however, lead vocalist Keith West had a hit of his own, Excerpt From A Teenage Opera, which did not sound at all like the music Tomorrow was making. After a second Tomorrow single failed to chart, the individual members drifted off in different directions, with West concentrating on his solo career, guitarist Steve Howe joining Bodast, and bassist Junior Wood and drummer Twink Alder forming a short-lived group called Aquarian Age. Twink would go on to greater fame as a member of the Pretty Things and a founder of the Pink Fairies, but it was Howe that became an international star in the 70s after replacing Peter Banks in Yes.
Artist: Johnny Winter
Title: Rollin' And Tumblin'
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: The Progressive Blues Experiment)
Writer(s): McKinley Morganfield
Label: United Artists (original labels: Sonobeat/Imperial)
Johnny Winter's first album, The Progressive Blues Experiment, was originally released in 1968 on the Texas-based Sonobeat label. A ctitical success, it was picked up and reissued on the Imperial label a year later. Most of the songs on the album are covers of blues classics such as Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin'.
Title: Amazing Journey
Source: British Import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Tommy)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: Polydor (original US label: Decca)
After achieving major success in their native England with a series of hit singles in 1965-67, the Who began to concentrate more on their albums from 1968 on. The first of these concept albums was The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967. The Who Sell Out was a collection of songs connected by faux radio spots and actual jingles from England's last remaining pirate radio station, Radio London. After releasing a few more singles in 1968, the Who began work on their most ambitious project yet: the world's first rock opera. Tommy, released in 1969, was a double LP telling the story of a boy who, after being tramautized into becoming a sightless deaf-mute, eventually emerges as a kind of messiah, only to have his followers ultimately abandon him. One of the early tracks on the album is Amazing Journey, describing Tommy's voyage into the recesses of his own mind in response to the traumatic event that results in his "deaf, dumb and blind" condition.