This week we concentrate on longer sets with fewer interruptions. No artists' sets this time around, either, but we do have a new Advanced Psych segment featuring a couple tracks from the 1980s and one from the first 21st century album by the Electric Prunes.
Title: I Don't Want To Spoil The Party
Source: CD: Beatles For Sale (released in US as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Beatles VI)
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year: UK: 1964, US: 1965
As early as 1964 the Beatles were starting to incorporate acoustic guitars into their music to supplement their basic electric sound. One example of this is I Don't Want To Spoil The Party from their LP Beatles For Sale. In the US the song appeared in 1965 as the B side of Eight Days A Week and on the LP Beatles VI.
Title: For Your Love
Source: Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Graham Gouldman
Label: K-Tel (original label: Epic)
The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's first US hit, peaking in the #6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at #3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure (ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.
Title: I Tell Myself
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer(s): Marcus Tybalt
Label: GNP Crescendo
Sky Saxon was unquestionably responsible for the success of the Seeds, who hit the national charts in early 1967 with the classic Pushin' Too Hard. The song had actually first appeared as a 1965 single (as You're Pushin' Too Hard), but did not get much airplay at the time). By the time the song became a hit the band had already released a second album, A Web Of Sound. Nearly every Seeds song was either written or co-written by Saxon himself. The only exception I know of is I Tell Myself, a tune written by Hollywood songster Marcus Tybalt, which appears on the second LP, and the Seeds version almost sounds like a parody of a pop tune (which may well have been their intention for all I know).
Artist: Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title: Down On Me
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: Trad. Arr. Joplin
Big Brother And The Holding Company's first album, featuring the single Down On Me, was recorded in 1967 at the studios of Mainstream Records, a medium-sized Chicago label known for its jazz recordings. At the time, Mainstream's engineers had no experience with a rock band, particularly a loud one like Big Brother, and vainly attempted to clean up the band's sound as best they could. The result was an album full of relatively sterile recordings sucked dry of the energy that made Big Brother and the Holding Company one of the top live attractions of its time. Probably the stongest track on the album was lead vocalist Janis Joplin's arrangement of Down On Me, a "freedom song" dating back at least to the 1920s that Mainstream issued as a single during the Summer of Love. The song almost made the top 40 charts, peaking at #42.
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Baroque # 1
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s): Ian Bruce-Douglas
Of the half dozen or so major US record labels of the time, only two, Decca and M-G-M, failed to sign any San Francisco bands in the late 1960s. Decca, which had been bought by MCA in the early 60s, was fast fading as a major force in the industry (ironic considering that Universal, the direct descendant of MCA, is now the world's largest record company). M-G-M, on the other hand, had a strong presence on the Greenwich Village scene thanks to Jerry Schoenbaum at the Verve Forecast label, who had signed such critically-acclaimed artists as Dave Van Ronk, Tim Hardin and the Blues Project. Taking this as an inspiration, the parent label decided to create interest in the Boston music scene, aggressively promoting (some would say hyping) the "Boss-Town Sound". One of the bands signed was Ultimate Spinach, which was led by keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the band's material, including the instrumental Baroque # 1.
Title: New Dope In Town
Source: German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: Clear)
Label: CBS (original US label: Columbia)
The third Spirit album, Clear, is generally considered the weakest of the four albums released by the band's original lineup. The main reason for this is fatigue. The group had released two albums in 1968, along with providing the soundtrack for the film Model Shop in early 1969 and constantly touring throughout the entire period. This left them little time to develop the material that would be included on Clear. There are a few strong tracks on the LP, however, among them New Dope In Town, which closes out the original LP. Like Elijah, from their debut album, New Dope In Town is credited to the entire band, and was included on a CBS Records sampler album called Underground '70 that was released in Germany (on purple vinyl that glowed under a black light) around Christmastime.
Artist: Blues Image
Title: Pay My Dues
Source: CD: Open
Writer(s): Blues Image
Label: Sundazed (original label: Atco)
When I first heard Blues Image's Ride Captain Ride on the radio I wasn't all that impressed with it. Then the local club I hung out at got it on the jukebox and people started playing the B side, a song called Pay My Dues. Then I went out and bought the album, Open. Yes, Pay My Dues is that good. As it turns out, so is the rest of the album. Even Ride Captain Ride sounds better now. Shows the latent power of a B side, doesn't it?
Artist: Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys
Title: Good Old Rock and Roll
Source: CD: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-Vol. 1 (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
By 1969, folk-rock had morphed into what would come to be called country-rock. One of the early country-rock bands that is usually overlooked is Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys. This is probably because their only hit, the '50s tribute song Good Old Rock and Roll, was not at all typical of the band's sound.
Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Title: My Heart Beat Like A Hammer
Source: Australian import CD: The Essential Fleetwood Mac (originally released in UK on LP: Fleetwood Mac)
Writer(s): Jeremy Spencer
Label: Columbia/Sony Music (original UK label: Blue Horizon)
Fleetwood Mac was formed in 1967 when John Mayall gave guitarist Peter Green free studio time as a gift. Green used that time to record five tunes with his Bluesbreakers bandmates Mick Fleeetwood and John McVie. Green and drummer Fleetwood were so enthused by the sessions that they decided to form a new band. Green, hoping to entice bassist McVie to join them, decided to call the new band Fleetwood Mac, recruiting slide specialist Jeremy Spencer as the group's second guitarist. McVie, not wanting to lose his steady income, declined at first, but after the band's well-received live debut at the Windsor Jazz and Blues Festival as Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, also featuring Jeremy Spencer, McVie joined up as well. Spencer provided the lead vocals on half of the songs on the band's first self-titled LP, released in 1968, including the opening track, My Heart Beat Like A Hammer, one of three Elmore James styled Spencer compositions on the LP. Spencer was a member of Fleetwood Mac until February of 1971, when he left the band's hotel room in the middle of a US tour to visit a Hollywood bookshop, only to resurface a few days later to inform the rest of the band that he was leaving for good, having joined the Children Of God. Somebody needs to make a movie about Fleetwood Mac (and I mean a dramatization, not a bio pic).
Title: Get Thy Bearings
Source: British import CD: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original US label: Epic)
Donovan's 1968 album, The Hurdy Gurdy Man, saw the Scottish singer/songwriter stretching further from his folk roots with tracks like Get Thy Bearings, which uses 50s style jazz instrumentation to create a Beatnik atmosphere.
Artist: Deep Purple
Title: Hey Joe
Source: LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer(s): Billy Roberts
My first impression of Deep Purple was that they were Britain's answer to the Vanilla Fudge. After all, both bands had a big hit in 1968 with a rearranged version of someone else's song from 1967 (Vanilla Fudge with the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On and Deep Purple with Billy Joe Royal's Hush). Additionally, both groups included a Beatles cover on their debut LP (Fudge: Ticket To Ride, Purple: Help). Finally, both albums included a depressing Cher cover song. In the Vanilla Fudge case it was one of her biggest hits, Bang Bang. Deep Purple, on the other hand, went with a song that was actually more closely associated with the Jimi Hendrix Experience (although Cher did record it as well): Hey Joe. The Deep Purple version of the Billy Roberts classic (originally credited to the band on the label itself), is probably the most elaborate of the dozens of recorded versions of the song (which is up there with Louie Louie in terms of quantity), incorporating sections of the Miller's Dance (by Italian classical composer Manuel de Falla), as well as an extended instrumental section, making the finished track over seven and a half minutes long.
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: I Won't Hurt You
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Part One)
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Unlike more famous L.A. groups like Love and the Doors, the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was not a Sunset Strip club band. In fact, the WCPAEB really didn't play that many live performances in their career, although those they did tended to be at high profile venues such as the Hollywood Bowl. The band was formed when the Harris brothers, sons of an accomplished classical musician, decided to record their own album and release it on the small Fifa label. Only a few copies of that album, Volume One, were made and finding one now is next to impossible. That might have been the end of the story except for the fact that they were acquaintances of Kim Fowley, the Zelig-like record producer and all-around Hollywood (and sometimes London) hustler. Fowley invited them to a party where the Yardbirds were playing; a party also attended by one Bob Markley. Markley, who was nearly ten years older than the Harris brothers, was a former TV show host from the midwest who had moved out to the coast to try his luck in Hollywood. Impressed by the flock of young girls surrounding the Yardbirds, Markley expressed to Fowley his desire to be a rock and roll star and have the girls flock around him, too. Fowley, ever the deal-maker, responded by introducing Markley to the Harris Brothers and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was born. With the addition of guitarist Michael Lloyd and the influence of Markley's not-inconsiderable family money, the group soon landed a contract with Reprise Records, where they proceeded to record the album Part One, which includes the tune I Won't Hurt You, which uses a simulated heartbeat to keep the...umm, beat.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Porpoise Mouth
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
The songs on the first Country Joe And The Fish album ranged from silly satire (Super Bird) to downright spacey. One of the spaciest tracks on the album is Porpoise Mouth, both lyrically and musically.
Artist: Status Quo
Title: Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source: Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Francis Rossi
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Cadet Concept)
If you have ever seen the film This Is Spinal Tap, the story of Britain's Status Quo might seem a bit familiar. Signed to Pye Records in 1967 the group scored a huge international hit with their first single, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, but were unable to duplicate that success with subsequent releases. In the early 1970s the band totally reinvented itself as a boogie band and began a run in the UK that resulted in them scoring more charted singles than any other band in history, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones. For all that, however, they never again charted in the US, where they are generally remembered as one-hit wonders. In addition to their UK success, Status Quo remains immensely popular in the Scandanavian countries, where they continue to play to sellout crowds on a regular basis.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: White Rabbit
Source: LP: The Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Surrealistic Pillow)
Writer: Grace Slick
Label: RCA Victor
A few years back a co-worker asked me about what kind of music I played on the show. When I told him the show was called Stuck in the Psychedelic Era he immediately said "Oh, I bet you play White Rabbit a lot, huh?" As a matter of fact, I do, although not as much as some songs.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: Misty Lane
Source: Mono British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Martin Siegel
Label: Big Beat (original US label: Uptown)
The third Chocolate Watchband single, Misty Lane, was made, according to rock historian Alec Paleo, "under duress". Reportedly, the band hated the single so much that they took turns tossing copies in the air and using them for target practice. Written by British songwriter Martin Siegel, the song sounds nothing like the garage-punk club band that lived to outstage the big name acts they often opened for. The song was provided to the band by producer Ed Cobb, who later admitted that he didn't really know what to do with them in the studio.
Title: Prologue, August 29, 1968/Someday (August 29, 1968)
Source: LP: The Chicago Transit Authority
In the months leading up to the 1968 Democratic Convention the phrase "come to Chicago" was often heard among members of the counter-culture that had grown up around various anti-establishment causes. As the summer wore on it became clear that something was going to happen at the Convention that August. Sure enough, on August 28, with the crowd chanting "the whole world's watching", police began pulling demonstraters into paddy wagons, with a full-blown riot erupting the following day. Around that same time a local Chicago band calling itself the Big Thing hooked up with producer James William Guercio, who convinced them to change their name to the Chicago Transit Authority (later shortened to Chicago). It's only natural then that the band would include a song referencing the events of August 29th on their debut LP. The tracks begins with an actual recording of the chant itself, which leads into a tune written by James Pankow and Robert Lamm called Someday (August 29, 1968). The chant itself makes a short reappearance midway through the song as well.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Last Night I Had A Dream
Source: British import LP: Artifact
Writer(s): Randy Newman
More than thirty years after being squeezed out of their own band, most of the original members of the Electric Prunes reformed the group in the late 1990s, working up new material for what would become the album Artifact. Self-released in 2000 and then reissued in slightly shorter form in the UK by Heartbeat Productions the following year, Artifact contains mostly original material written by vocalist James Lowe and bassist Mark Tulin. The two cover songs on the album were chosen by the band members themselves, unlike during their original late 1960s run, where they recorded what their producer told them to record. One of the two is a cover of the obscure 1968 Randy Newman single Last Night I Had A Dream, that not only captures, but enhances, the dark humor of Newman's original version.
Source: British import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): The Stranglers
The Stranglers have always been difficult to pigeonhole, which may ultimately account for their longevity. Originally formed in 1974 as the Guildford Stranglers, the band soon became one of the first groups to be identified with Britain's punk-rock movement of the mid-1970s. They soon began to experiment with other musical styles, however, and ended up outlasting most of their contemporaries. By the early 1980s, punk-rock was waning in popularity, and the shirts at EMI hooked them up with producer Tony Visconti in an attempt at coming up with a more commercially viable sound. The result was La Folie, released in November of 1981. The lead single from the album was a song called Let Me Introduce You To The Family. The non-LP B side was Vietnamerica, a moody piece that reflects the influence on the Stranglers of 60s psychedelic bands like the Music Machine and the Doors.
Artist: King Crimson
Title: Man With An Open Heart
Source: LP: Three Of A Perfect Pair
Writer(s): King Crimson
Label: Warner Brothers/EG
Man With An Open Heart is the shortest track on King Crimson's 1984 LP Three Of A Perfect Pair. Like the other songs on the first side of the LP, it is primarily an Adrian Belew composition, although officially credited to the entire band.
Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: All These Blues
Source: CD: East-West
The second Butterfield Blues Band album, East-West, saw the group starting to experiment with variations on the Chicago blues style that characterized their debut LP. There were still plenty of more traditional tracks on the album, however, such as All These Blues, which some sources credit to Walter Johnson.
Title: Heaven And Hell
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original US label: United Artists)
Throughout the mid-60s Australia's most popular band was a group of immigrants calling themselves the Easybeats. Often referred to as the "Australian Beatles", their early material sounded like slightly dated British Beat music (Australia had a reputation for cultural lag, and besides, half the members were English). By late 1966 guitarist Harry Vanda (one of the two Dutch members of the group) had learned enough English to be able to replace vocalist Stevie Wright as George Young's writing partner. The new team was much more adventurous in their compositions than the Wright/Young team had been, and were responsible for the band's first international hit, Friday On My Mind. By then the Easybeats had relocated to England, and continued to produce fine singles such as Heaven And Hell.
Artist: Stone Poneys
Title: Stoney End
Source: LP: Stoney End (originally released on LP: Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys And Friends)
Writer(s): Laura Nyro
Label: Pickwick (original label: Capitol)
Better known as the title track for Barbra Streisand's breakthrough LP in 1970, Laura Nyro's Stoney End was first covered by the Stone Poneys on their 1968 LP, Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys And Friends. As the album title suggests, Ronstadt had come to dominate the group by the release of this, their final LP. After Ronstadt's solo recording career for the Asylum label took off in the early 1970s the Stone Poneys' original label tried to Capitol-ize (ugh) on her success with several compilations, including one called Stoney End, released in 1972 and later re-issued on the low-budget Pickwick label.
Artist: Fat Mattress
Title: Iridescent Butterfly
Source: CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Neil Landon
Label: Grapefruit (original label: Polydor)
Fat Mattress was, in a sense, a sort of second (or maybe third) tier supergroup formed by Jimi Hendrix Experience bassist Noel Redding, first as a side project and then as his primary band. Other members included vocalist Neil Landon (Flower Pot Men) and bassist Jim Leverton (Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens), with Redding on guitar. Iridescent Butterfly was a song written by Landon that was recorded at the same time as the band's debut LP but was not released until 1969, when it appeared as a B side.
Artist: Led Zeppelin
Title: How Many More Times
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Led Zeppelin)
Label: Cotillion (original label: Atlantic)
Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band reportedly tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title: Fortunate Son
Source: LP: Willy And The Poor Boys
Writer(s): John Fogerty
John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
Title: Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me)
Source: 45 RPM single
Minneapolis has always had a more active local music scene than one might expect from a medium-sized city in the heart of the snow belt. Many of the city's artists have risen to national prominence, including a band called Crow, who's 1969 single Evil Woman (Don't Play Your Games With Me), hit close to the top of the charts in early 1970. The band had been formed in 1967 as South 40, changing its name to Crow right around the same time they signed to Amaret Records in 1969.
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: Gimme Some Lovin'
Source: British import 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Steve Winwood
It only took the Spencer Davis Group about an hour to write and arrange what would become their biggest hit, Gimme Some Lovin'. It was June of 1966, and the band's most recent single, a Jackie Edwards tune called When I Come Home, had not performed as well as expected on the British charts, and the group was under pressure to come up with a hit. The day before they were scheduled to begin recording, their manager, Chris Blackwell, brought the band to a rehearsal room with instructions to come up with a new song. According to bassist Muff Winwood "We started to mess about with riffs, and it must have been eleven o'clock in the morning. We hadn't been there half an hour, and this idea just came. We thought, bloody hell, this sounds really good. We fitted it all together and by about twelve o'clock, we had the whole song. Steve had been singing 'Gimme, gimme some loving' - you know, just yelling anything, so we decided to call it that. We worked out the middle eight and then went to a cafe that's still on the corner down the road. Blackwell came to see how we were going on, to find our equipment set up and us not there, and he storms into the cafe, absolutely screaming, 'How can you do this?' he screams. Don't worry, we said. We were all really confident. We took him back, and said, how's this for half an hour's work, and we knocked off 'Gimme Some Lovin' and he couldn't believe it. We cut it the following day and everything about it worked." The original British single did not have backup vocals, and Steve Winwood's organ is more prominent in the mix than on the more familiar US version. This version also lacks the reverb that producer Jimmy Miller added for the song's US release to give it more "punch" and, due to a minor error in the mastering process, the first note on the record "bends" upward in pitch. Nearly every reissue of the song uses the US mix, making this British single version of Gimme Some Lovin' a bit of a rarity.
Title: Drunken Maria
Source: German import CD: Black Monk Time
Label: Repertoire (original label: Polydor International)
The Monks were ahead of their time. In fact they were so far ahead of their time that only in the next century did people start to realize just how powerful the music on their first and only LP actually was. Released in West Germany in 1966, Black Monk Time both delighted and confused record buyers with songs like Drunken Maria, which has an intro section that's about twice as long as the actual song, which itself is just one line repeated over and over. The Monks were a group of five American GIs (probably draftees) who, while stationed at Frankfurt, managed to come up with the idea of a rock band that looked and dressed like Monks (including the shaved patch on the top of each member's head) and sounded like nothing else in the world at that time. Of course, such a phenomenon can't sustain itself indefinitely, and the group disappeared in early 1967, never to be seen or heard from again.
Artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Title: I Am A Rock
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Sounds of Silence)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
The success of I Am A Rock, when released as a single in 1966, showed that the first Simon And Garfunkel hit, The Sound Of Silence, was no fluke. The two songs served as bookends to a very successful LP, Sounds Of Silence, and would lead to several more hit records before the two singers went their separate ways in 1970. This was actually the second time I Am A Rock had been issued as a single. An earlier version, from the Paul Simon Songbook, had been released in 1965. Both the single and the LP were only available for a short time and only in the UK, and were deleted at Simon's request.
Artist: Saturday's Children
Title: Born On Saturday
Source: Mono CD: If You're Ready! The Best Of Dunwich Records...Volume 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Sundazed/Here 'Tis (original label: Dunwich)
Despite being one of the most popular local bands in the Chicago area, Saturday's Children were never able to sell enough copies of their singles to be able to record an entire LP. Nonetheless, they did record some fine tunes such as Born On Saturday, which appeared as the B side of their first single for Dunwich Records. Bassist Jeff Bryan later went on to join H.P. Lovecraft, while guitarist Dave Carter ended up with the Cryan' Shames.