Sunday, September 25, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2240 (starts 9/26/22)

    Last week on our Advanced Psych segment we presented a track from the Mommyheads' 2021 album Age Of Isolation nearly a year after its initial release. This time around we are a bit more punctual, as we present a track from the brand-new Mommyheads album, Genuis Killer, released on September 20th, 2022, alongside an Electric Prunes track from the 2004 album California that's never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. Also of note: a Blues Magoos set and a Crosby, Stills, Nash & (in particular) Young set.
Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Sunshine Superman
Source:    CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1966
    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.

Artist:    Association
Title:    Along Comes Mary
Source:    LP: And Then...Along Comes The Association
Writer:    Tandyn Almer
Label:    Valiant
Year:    1966
    The Association are best known for a series of love ballads and light pop songs such as Cherish, Never My Love and Windy. Many of these records were a product of the L.A. studio scene and featured several members of the Wrecking Crew, the studio musicians who played on dozens of records in the late 60s and early 70s. The first major Association hit, however, featured the band members playing all the instruments themselves. Produced by Curt Boettcher, who would soon join Gary Usher's studio project Sagittarius, Along Comes Mary shows that the Association was quite capable of recording a classic without any help from studio musicians.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    After the surprise success of the Sound Of Silence single, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel (who had disbanded their partnership after the seeming failure of their Wednesday Morning 3 AM album in 1964) hastily reunited to record a new LP, Sounds Of Silence. The album, released in early 1966, consisted mostly of electrified versions of songs previously written by Simon, many of which had appeared in the UK in acoustic form on his 1965 solo LP The Paul Simon Songbook. With their newfound success, the duo set about recording an album's worth of new material. This time around, however, Simon had the time (and knowledge of what was working for the duo) to compose songs that would play to both the strengths of himself and Garfunkel as vocalists, as well as take advantage of the additional instrumentation available to him. The result was Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme, featuring tracks such as The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine, an energetic piece satirizing rampant consumerism and the advertising industry in particular.

Artist:     Love
Title:     Softly To Me
Source:     Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer:     Bryan MacLean
Label:     Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:     1966
     Before the signing of Love in 1966, Elektra was a folk and ethnic music label whose closest thing to a rock band was the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, which was at that time very much into creating as authentic Chicago blues sound as possible for a band of mostly white boys from New York. Love, on the other hand, was a bona-fide rock band that was packing the clubs on the Sunset Strip nightly. To underscore the significance of the signing, Elektra started a whole new numbering series for Love's debut album. Bryan McLean's role as a songwriter in Love was similar to George Harrison's as a Beatle. He didn't have many songs on any particular album, but those songs were often among the best tracks on the album. The first of these was Softly To Me from the band's debut LP. 

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Summer Is The Man
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Esposito
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Following up on their successful debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos released Electric Comic Book in March of 1967. Unfortunately the first single from the album had two equally strong songs, one of which was favored by the producers and the other by the band. Radio stations were unsure which song to push, and as a result, neither made the top 40, which in turn had a negative effect on album sales. Most of the remaining tracks on the album were written by the band members, including Summer Is The Man, a song with an interesting chord structure, a catchy melody and somewhat existential lyrics.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:     LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: Psychedelic Lollipop)
Writer:     Esposito/Gilbert/Scala
Label:     Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:     1966
     The Blues Magoos (original spelling: Bloos, not surprising for a bunch of guys from the Bronx) were either the first or second band to use the word psychedelic in an album title. Both they and the 13th Floor Elevators released their debut albums in 1966 and it is unclear which one actually came out first. What's not in dispute is the fact that Psychedelic Lollipop far outsold The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators. One major reason for this was the fact that (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet was a huge national hit in early 1967, which helped album sales considerably. Despite having a unique sound and a look to match (including electric suits), the Magoos were unable to duplicate the success of Nothin' Yet on subsequent releases, partially due to Mercury's pairing of two equally marketable songs on the band's next single without indicating to stations which one they were supposed to be playing.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Baby, I Want You
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer:    Gilbert/Theilhelm
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Although not as well-known as their debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos' Electric Comic Book is a worthy successor to that early psychedelic masterpiece. Handicapped by a lack of hit singles, the album floundered on the charts, despite the presence of songs like Baby, I Want You, one of many original tunes on the LP.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    Nights In White Satin (second single version)
Source:    LP: Days Of Future Passed
Writer(s):    Redwave/Knight
Label:    Deram
Year:    1967
    When the year 1967 started, the Moody Blues were still considered a one-hit wonder for their song Go Now, which had topped the British charts in 1965 and gone into the top 10 in the US as well. None of their follow-up singles had charted in the US, although they did manage to hit the #22 spot in the UK with From the Bottom of My Heart (I Love You). Despite still being a solid live draw, the group had pretty much dissolved by autumn of 1966. In November of that year the band reformed, with two new members, John Lodge and Justin Hayward, joining Mike Pinder, Ray Thomas and Graeme Edge. At this point they were in debt to their record company (British Decca), and agreed to make a rock and roll version of Antonín Dvořák's New World Symphony for the company's new Deram label, working with Peter Knight and various Decca studio musicians known informally as the London Festival Orchestra. The project was soon abandoned, but the Moodys convinced Knight to collaborate with the band to record an album of the own original material. That album was Days Of Future Passed, which rose to the #27 spot on the British charts (and five years later made the top 5 on the US album charts). The album was divided into several suites, each representing a particular time of day, with Knight's orchestral compositions linking the various songs together. The first single from the album was a severely (and somewhat sloppily) edited version of Nights In White Satin, issued in January of 1968. The record stiffed, but was reissued in a longer form in 1972, when it became an international hit. Although both versions were monoraul mixes, a handful of  stereo copies of the second single were sent to selected US radio stations using the mix heard here.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears (picture disc, if anyone cares)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown/Clapton
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Although by mid-1967 Cream had already released a handful of singles in the UK, Sunshine Of Your Love, featuring one of the most recognizable guitar rifts in the history of rock, was their first song to make a splash in the US. Although only moderately successful in edited form on AM Top-40 radio, the full-length LP version of the song received extensive airplay on the more progressive FM stations, and turned Disraeli Gears into a perennial best-seller. Guitarist Eric Clapton and bassist Jack Bruce constantly trade off lead vocal lines throughout the song. The basic compatibility of their voices is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly who is singing what line. Clapton's guitar solo (which was almost entirely edited out of the AM version) set a standard for instrumental breaks in terms of length and style that became a hallmark for what is now known as "classic rock."

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    My Back Pages
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    One of the items of contention between David Crosby and Roger McGuinn was the latter's insistence on continuing to record covers of Bob Dylan songs when the band members themselves had a wealth of their own material available. Indeed, it was reportedly an argument over whether or not to include Crosby's Triad on the next album that resulted in Crosby being fired from the band in October of 1967 (although other factors certainly played into it as well). Nonetheless, the last Dylan cover with Crosby still in the band was perhaps their best as well. Although not as big a hit as Mr. Tambourine Man, My Back Pages from the Younger Than Yesterday album did respectably well on the charts, becoming one of the Byrds' last top 40 hits.
Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Lantern
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones' answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, the album was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern. The Stones' next LP, Beggar's Banquet, was celebrated as a return to the band's roots.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Revolution 1
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    The Beatles' Revolution has a somewhat convoluted history. The song, as originally recorded, was over eight minutes long and included what eventually became Revolution 1 and part of Revolution 9. The song's writer, John Lennon, at some point decided to separate the sections into two distinct tracks, both of which ended up on the Beatles self-titled double LP (aka the White Album). Lennon wanted to release Revolution 1 as a single, but was voted down by both George Harrison and Paul McCartney on the grounds that the song's tempo was too slow. Lennon then came up with a faster version of the song, which ended up being released a few weeks before the album came out as the B side to the band's 1968 single Hey Jude. As a result, many of the band's fans erroneously assumed that Revolution 1 was the newer version of the song.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Magic Bus (2021 stereo mix)
Source:    CD box set: The Who Sell Out (Super Deluxe Edition) (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    UMC/Polydor (original US label: Decca)
Year:    1968
    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. Finally, in 2021, a new stereo mix of the single version was created for inclusion on the Super Deluxe Edition of The Who Sell Out.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Born On The Bayou
Source:    LP: Bayou Country
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1968
    If there is any single song that sums up what Creedence Clearwater Revival was all about, it could very well be Born On The Bayou, the opening track of CCR's second LP, Bayou Country. The song, which was written by John Fogerty late at night, became the opening for nearly every Creedence concert over the next few years, and is considered by many to be the band's signature song. Oddly enough, John Fogerty had never set foot on a bayou in his life when he wrote the song, but had always been a fan of the movie Swamp Fever, as well as having a fascination with "every other bit of southern bayou information that had entered my imagination from the time I was born."

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Nature's Way
Source:    CD: The Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus)
Writer:    Randy California
Label:    Epic
Year:    1970
    Nature's Way is one of the best-known and best-loved songs in the Spirit catalog. Originally released on the 1970 LP Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus, the song was finally issued as a single in 1973, long after lead vocalist Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes had left the band. The single mix is a bit different from the album version, particularly at the end of the song, which originally ended with a tympani roll by drummer Ed Cassidy that led into the next track on the album. The single version omits that drum roll entirely.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    I Need You
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    After a series of hard-rocking hits in 1964 such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks mellowed out a bit with songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You the following year. Lurking on the other side of Set Me Free, though, was a song that showed that the band still knew how to rock out: I Need You.

Artist:    Mommyheads
Title:    First Five Seconds
Source:    CD: Genius Killer
Writer(s):    Adam Cohen
Label:    Mommyhead Music
Year:    2022
    The Mommyheads are one of those rare bands that were able to recover from being totally screwed over by a major record company, although the process took several years. Formed around 1987 in New York, they already had several releases on independent labels by the time they signed with Geffen and recorded the album called The Mommyheads in 1997. Before the album was even released, however, the band was dropped from the label due to a company-wide shakeup, and within a few months had disbanded altogether. Nearly ten years later, following a reunion concert, the Mommyheads once again became a working band, re-releasing some of their earlier material over the next few years. In 2011 they released Delicate Friction, their first album of all-new material since the 1990s. Since then they have been releasing albums on a somewhat steady basis, including the 2020 re-release of their 1997 major label debut album. Their most recent release is Genius Killer, which came out on September, 20, 2022. First Five Seconds is the final track on that album.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Running With Scissors
Source:    CD: California
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    PruneTwang
Year:    2004
    Having finally had the opportunity to record "the third album we never got to make", the members of the reunited Electric Prunes got to work on an album built around the members' own memories of the Summer of Love, "a time when people still believed you could find gold in California". One of the wilder tracks on the album, Running With Scissors, has been described as being full of zingers and one-liners, delivered by vocalist James Lowe. Hearing is believing.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Thela Hun Gingeet
Source:    LP: Discipline
Writer(s):    King Crimson
Label:    Warner Brothers/EG
Year:    1981
    In 1981, after a seven-year hiatus, Robert Fripp decided to reform his old band, the legendary King Crimson. Not content to rehash the past, however, Fripp assembled a new lineup, with only drummer Bill Bruford being retained from any of the band's previous incarnations. Filling out the new lineup were guitarist/vocalist Adrian Belew (who had played with Talking Heads and Frank Zappa's band) and bassist Tony Levin, who also played Chapman stick on the album. Probably the most notable track on the album was Thela Hun Gingeet, which opens side two of the original LP. The track features a recording of Belew recounting a rather harrowing experience on the streets of London's Notting Hill Gate, where he was attempting to make a field recording. Belew speaks of being harrassed by local Rastafarians, who took exception to a stranger walking around their part of town with a tape recorder, accusing him of being a cop. The song's title is actually an anagram of "heat in the jungle", a slang reference to urban crime.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Title:    Helpless
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    Many of the songs on the second Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young album, Deja Vu, sound as if they could have been on solo albums by the various band members, particularly Neil Young, whose style really didn't mesh well with the others. A prime example of this is Helpless. Despite this (or maybe because of it) Helpless got more radio airplay than most of the other songs on the album.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Sea Of Madness
Source:    LP: Woodstock-Music From The Original Soundtrack And More
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1969
    Neil Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash to perform a few songs at Woodstock, including one of his own compositions, Sea Of Madness, and would be a full member of the group when their next album, Deja Vu, came out. The recording used for the Woodstock soundtrack album, however, was made in September of 1969 at the Fillmore East.

Artist:    Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young
Title:    Country Girl
Source:    CD: déjà vu
Writer(s):    Neil Young
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    The second Crosby, Stills and Nash album, déjà vu, was enhanced by the addition of singer/songwriter/guitarist Neil Young, along with bassist Dallas Taylor and drummer Greg Reeves. The LP itself was printed on textured cardboard with gold offset lettering, giving the package a unique look. But it was the music itself that made the album one of the top sellers of 1970, with three singles going into the top 40. One of the non-single tracks was Country Girl, a medley of three uncompleted Neil Young songs that would not have been out of place on a Young solo album.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    It Ain't Me Babe
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    The Turtles started out as a local high school surf band called the Crossfires. In 1965 they were signed to a record label that technically didn't exist yet. That did not deter the people at the label (which would come to be known as White Whale) from convincing the band to change its name and direction. Realizing that surf music was indeed on the way out, the band, now called the Turtles, went into the studio and recorded four songs. One of those was Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. The Byrds had just scored big with their version of Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man and the Turtles took a similar approach with It Ain't Me Babe. The song was a solid hit, going to the #8 spot on the national charts and leading to the first of many Turtles records on White Whale.
Artist:    Misunderstood
Title:    Find The Hidden Door
Source:    British Import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK on LP: Before The Dream Faded)
Writer(s):    Hill/Brown
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: Cherry Red)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1982
    One of London's most legendary psychedelic bands was actually from California. The story of the Misunderstood started in 1963 when three teenagers from Riverside, California decided to form a band called the Blue Notes. Like most West Coast bands of the time, the group played a mixture of surf and 50s rock 'n' roll cover songs, slowly developing a sound of their own as they went through a series of personnel changes, including the addition of lead vocalist Rick Brown. In 1965 the band changed their name to the Misunderstood and recorded six songs at a local recording studio. Although the recordings were not released, the band caught the attention of a San Bernardino disc jockey named John Ravencroft, an Englishman with an extensive knowledge of the British music scene. In June of 1966 the band, with Ravencroft's help, relocated to London, where they were joined by a local guitarist, Tony Hill.  Ravencroft's brother Alan got the band a deal with Fontana Records, resulting in a single in late 1966, I Can Take You To The Sun, that took the British pop scene by storm. In addition to that single, the band recorded a handful of outstanding tracks that remained unreleased until the 1980s. Among those unreleased tracks was a masterpiece called Find The Hidden Door, written (as were most of the songs the band recorded in London) by Brown and Hill.  Problems with their work visas derailed the Misunderstood, and the band members soon found themselves being deported back to the US, and in one case, drafted into the US Army.
As for John Ravencroft, he eventually returned to London, where he changed his last name to Peel and went on to become the most celebrated British DJ (or "presenter", as they call them there) of all time.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Uni
Year:    1967
    Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.

Artist:      Guess Who
Title:    Talisman
Source:      CD: American Woman
Writer(s):    Bachman/Cummings
Label:    Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:     1970
     Often dismissed as lightweights, the Guess Who nonetheless put out a classic with the American Woman album. The only track on side one that was not released as a single was Talisman, a moody ballad that features Randy Bachman on acoustic guitar and Burton Cummings on vocals. The track includes a piano coda played by Cummings.

Artist:    Seatrain
Title:    Sweet Creek's Suite/Outwear The Hills
Source:    LP: Sea Train
Writer(s):    Kulberg/Roberts
Label:    A&M
Year:    1969
    Very few bands can claim to have gone through the kind of total changes that Seatrain experienced in their relatively short existence. Formed in Marin County, California by former members of the Blues Project, Mystery Trend and Jim Kweskin's Jug Band, Seatrain's first LP was released as a Blues Project album called Planned Obsolescence, in order to fulfill contractual obligations incurred by two of its members, Andy Kulberg and Roy Blumenthal. The official debut of Seatrain came in 1969 with the album Sea Train, released on the A&M label. Most of the songwriting came from guitarist John Gregory and vocalist Jim Roberts. However, the album's final two tracks, the instrumental Sweet Creek's Suite and the semi-acoustic Outwear The Hills, were written by Kulberg, with lyrics on Outwear The Hills provided by Roberts. By the time Seatrain released its final album in 1973 only Kulberg remained from the band's original lineup, the group had relocated to Marblehead, Massachusetts and, most importantly, had completely changed its style to what would now be considered Americana, but at the time had people scratching their heads trying to figure out what to call it. 

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2240 (starts 9/26/22)

    This week Rockin' in the Days of Confusion crosses over to the dark side....of the moon. Specifically side two of the Pink Floyd classic, complete and uninterrupted. It takes a while to get there, however, starting in 1968 with a classic Jimi Hendrix studio track and working our way up one year at a time. A visit with a forgotten Queen classic from 1973 completes the hour.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    House Burning Down
Source:    LP: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    The third Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Electric Ladyland, was the first to be produced entirely by Hendrix himself, rather than with Chas Chandler (with more than a little help from engineer Eddie Kramer). It was also the first to use state-of-the-art eight-track recording technology (not to be confused with the later 8-track tape cartridge), as well as several new tech toys developed specifically for Hendrix to play with. The result was an album with production standards far beyond anything else being attempted at the time. One song that showcases Hendrix's prowess as a producer is House Burning Down. Using effects such as phasing, double-tracking and stereo panning, Hendrix manages to create music that sounds like it's actually swirling around the listener rather than coming from a specific location. It's also the only rock song I can think of that uses a genuine tango beat (in the verses).
Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed
Source:    CD: David Bowie (originally US title: Man Of Words/Man Of Music)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1969
    Written in response to the death of his father, David Bowie's Unwashed And Somewhat Slightly Dazed, from his self-titled 1969 LP, may have gone overlooked indefinitely if it were not for the fact that someone noticed that the song was Bowie's first collaboration with producer Tony Visconti, who would continue to work with Bowie for the remainder of his career. The song itself is classic early Bowie and, to my ears, is one of the best tracks on the album.

Artist:    Mountain
Title:    Never In My Life
Source:    CD: The Best Of Mountain (originally released on LP: Mountain Climbing)
Writer(s):    West/Pappalardi/Collins/Laing
Label:    Windfall/Columbia
Year:    1970
    Leslie West started his career as lead guitarist for the Vagrants, releasing a cover of Otis Redding's Respect nearly simultaneously with Aretha Franklin's version. His first solo LP, entitled Mountain, included former Cream producer Felix Pappalardi on bass and keyboards and led directly to the formation of the band Mountain, which gained instant popularity at the Woodstock festival in 1969. The first "official" Mountain album by the power trio of West, Pappalardi and drummer Corky Laing starts off with three outstanding songs, the third of which is Never In My Life.
Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Back From The Shadows Again
Source:    LP: I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus
Writer(s):    Proctor/Bergman/Austin/Ossman
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus is the fourth Firesign Theatre album, released in 1971. Like it's predecessor, Don't Touch That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers, Bozos is one continuous narrative covering both sides of an LP. It tells the story of a visit to a Future Fair that somewhat resembles Disney's Tomorrowland, with various interractive educational exhibits such as the Wall Of Science. The piece was actually made up of shorter bits that the Firesign Theatre had used previously on their weekly radio show, but reworked and re-recorded for the new album. One of these was Back From The Shadows Again, sung to the tune of Gene Autry's signature song Back In The Saddle Again.

Artist:    Rory Gallagher
Title:    Sinner Boy
Source:    LP: Rory Gallagher
Writer(s):    Rory Gallagher
Label:    Atco
Year:    1971
    After disbanding the group Taste following a final performance on Dec. 31, 1970, Irish guitarist Rory Gallagher immediately set out to find a new backup band. Among the various musicians Gallagher jammed with over the next month were former Jimi Hendrix Experience members Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell, but he ultimately went with a pair of Belfast musicians, bassist Gerry McAvoy and drummer Wilgar Campbell, to support him on his debut LP. All of the songs on the album, including concert favorite Sinner Boy, were written and sung by Gallagher.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Singing All Day
Source:    CD: Benefit (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Capitol/Chrysalis
Year:    1970
    Singing All Day is one of several tracks recorded during the sessions for the third Jethro Tull LP, Benefit, but not included on the album itself. The song finally got released in 1972 on the Living In The Past album and is now available as a bonus track on the CD version of Benefit.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Dark Side Of The Moon-part two
Source:    CD: Dark Side Of The Moon
Writer(s):    Gilmour/Mason/Waters/Wright
Label:    Capitol (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1973
    Usually when you hear Pink Floyd's Money, from the album Dark Side Of The Moon, on the radio, that's pretty much it. As the song fades out, you maybe hear a jingle, or a DJ talking, or even another song from some other group. What you rarely, if ever, hear is the rest of the album side, even though the next song, Us And Them, actually overlaps the end of Money on the album itself. In fact, all the songs on side two run together as one piece, which is how it is being presented on Rockin' in the Days of Confusion. So if you want to hear Us And Them, Any Colour You Like, Brain Damage and Eclipse, don't touch your radio dial (except to turn up the volume, of course).

Artist:    Queen
Title:    Great King Rat
Source:    LP: Queen
Writer(s):    Freddie Mercury
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1973
    When Queen's debut album came out in 1973, one had to wonder if maybe someone in the band had a bit of a royalty fixation. After all, not only was there the name of the band itself, but there were also two songs on the album with the word King in the title (not to mention another song called Jesus, about a different kind of king). As it turns out, all three of the aforementioned tunes were penned by lead vocalist Freddie Mercury, who took his own stage name from a Roman god, so who knows?

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2239 (starts 9/19/22)

    This week the emphasis is on longer tracks, with running times ranging from just under five minutes to just over 11. Following an opening track from King Crimson, we move up to 1977 and work our way back, one year at a time, ending up with a 1971 Marvin Gaye classic.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Red
Source:    CD: Red
Writer(s):    Robert Fripp
Label:    Discipline Global Mobile (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1974
    Red is the seventh and final album of the original run of King Crimson, released in 1974. By then, only guitarist Robert Fripp remained of the original King Crimson lineup; he would form a new King Crimson seven years later. The title track of Red, which opens the album, is the only piece on the LP written entirely by Fripp. It is an instrumental written for multi-tracked guitar, bass and drums, and redefines the term "power trio" in a scary way. Fripp himself was somewhat ambiguous about including the track on the album, but bassist John Wetton insisted on it (drummer Bill Bruford reportedly told Fripp "I don't get it, but if you tell me it's good, I trust you").
Artist:    Rush
Title:    Xanadu
Source:    LP: A Farewell To Kings
Writer(s):    Lee/Lifeson/Peart
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1977
    Perhaps more than any other rock band, Rush incorporated science fiction into much of their music, especially longer pieces such as Xanadu, which runs a full eleven minutes. The story is based on the legendary city of Xanadu, as described in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem Kubla Khan: or, A Vision in a Dream: A Fragment. In Rush's version, finding Xanadu will grant one immortality, and the song's protagonist does indeed find it, only to find himself gone mad after a thousand years, "waiting for the world to end". Apparently the moral of the story is "be careful what you wish for, because you might actually get it".

Artist:    Queen
Title:    The Millionaire Waltz
Source:    CD: A Day At The Races
Writer(s):    Freddie Mercury
Label:    Hollywood (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1976
    Like Paul McCartney, Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury had a penchant for writing songs that harkened back to the music of the early 20th century. The Millionaire Waltz, from the 1976 album A Day At The Races, combines that style with a short section of hard rock (provided by guitarist Brian May). The song was reportedly written about the band's manager, John Reid, who had previously been involved with Elton John.

Artist:    Mahogany Rush
Title:    Strange Universe
Source:    Canadian import CD: Strange Universe
Writer(s):    Frank Marino
Label:    Just A Minute (original label: 20th Century)
Year:    1975
    Although there are countless guitarists that have been influenced by Jimi Hendrix in various ways, only one has been able to capture his entire sound from a production as well as performance standpoint. That one is Frank Marino, whose band, Mahogany Rush, has been recording since 1972. A listen to the title track of the 1975 album Strange Universe pretty much proves my point.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    Cause We've Ended As Lovers
Source:    CD: Blow By Blow
Writer(s):    Stevie Wonder
Label:    Epic
Year:    1975
    Jeff Beck's second official solo album, Blow By Blow, featured two tracks written by his friend Stevie Wonder. The first of these, Cause We've Ended As Lovers, first appeared on the 1974 album Stevie Wonder Presents: Syreeta. Beck's version, an instrumental includes a dedication to fellow guitarist Roy Buchanan.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    Stealin'
Source:    LP: Heavy Metal (originally released on LP: Sweet Freedom)
Writer(s):    Ken Hensley
Label:    Warner Special Products (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1974
    Stealin' was the lead single from the sixth Uriah Heep album, Sweet Freedom. It was written by keyboardist Ken Hensley, who had at the point in time become the band's main songwriter, having either written or co-written six of the LP's eight songs.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Strange Kind Of Woman (live version)
Source:    CD: Made In Japan
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Rhino/Purple (original US label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1972
    Vocalist Ian Gillan and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore hit a high note...or rather several high notes, whenever Deep Purple performed Strange Kind Of Woman live. Although the band had been reluctant to release a live album, they finally relented and recorded a series of performances on their Japanese tour in August of 1972. The best of those performances were released on a double album called Made In Japan in December of 1972, including a nine and a half minute long version of Strange Kind Of Woman that has come to be considered one of the best live tracks ever recorded by a rock band.

Artist:    Marvin Gaye
Title:    Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)
Source:    LP: What's Going On
Writer(s):    Gaye/Nyx
Label:    Tamla
Year:    1971
    The final track (and third single) from Marvin Gaye's landmark album What's Going On, Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) was co-written by James Nyx Jr., a staff songwriter for Motown Records who also served as the facility's janitor. According to Nyx,  "Marvin had a good tune, sort of blues-like, but didn't have any words for it. We started putting some stuff in there about how rough things were around town. We laughed about putting lyrics in about high taxes, 'cause both of us owed a lot. And we talked about how the government would send guys to the moon, but not help folks in the ghetto. But we still didn't have a name, or really a good idea of the song. Then, I was home reading the paper one morning, and saw a headline that said something about the 'inner city' of Detroit. And I said, 'Damn, that's it. 'Inner City Blues'." The original LP version of the song heard here includes a reprise of the album's title track.

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2239 (starts 9/19/22)

    It's been probably a year since I received a copy of the Mommyheads CD Age Of Isolation (a rather appropriate name for a work conceived during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic). For one reason after another I never got around until playing anything from it until now, which is a shame, because this is some really good stuff from a band that has been unfairly overlooked by just about everyone for literally decades. The Mommyheads track kicks off an Advanced Psych segment that also includes a piece from Squires of the Subterrain that is also making its Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut this week. Also on this week's show: artists' sets from the Monkees and the Rolling Stones, and what could well be the longest continuous opening set in Stuck in the Psychedelic Era's history.

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     Shakin' All Over
Source:     Mono CD: Reelin' and Rockin' Vol. 7 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Johnny Kidd
Label:     Happy Days of Rock and Roll (original US label: Scepter)
Year:     1965
     The band that would become internationally famous as the Guess Who formed in Winnipeg, Alberta, Canada in 1960. Originally calling themselves the Silvertones, they were by 1962 known as Chad Allan and the Silvertones, then Chad Allan and the Reflections and finally, by 1964, Chad Allan and the Expressions. During those years they had several lineup changes, scoring a few minor hits on the Canadian charts in the process. Finally, in 1965, with a lineup consisting of Chad Allan, Randy Bachman, Bob Ashley, Jim Kale and Dale Peterson, they decided to try a new tactic. Their latest single, Shakin' All Over, was already huge success in Canada, going all the way to the top of the charts, but the band had their eyes on the US market as well. Deliberately circulating a rumor that the record might actually be a British Invasion supergroup recording under a pseudonym, the band's US label, Scepter Records, issued the record with a plain white label credited to "Guess Who?"  After the song was comfortably ensconced in the US top 40 (peaking at # 22) Scepter revealed that the band was actually Chad Allan and the Expressions. DJs in the US, however, continued to refer to the band as the Guess Who and within a few months the group adopted the new name. The band continued to chart minor hits in Canada using both Chad Allan and the Expressions and the Guess Who on their record labels, and for a time it looked like Shakin' All Over would be their only US hit. Burton Cummings replaced Bob Ashley in late 1965, sharing the lead vocals with Chad Allan, who left the group in 1966. Finally in 1969, after changing labels the Guess Who returned to the US charts with the album Wheatfield Soul, featuring the single These Eyes, and went on to score a series of hits in the early 70s.

Artist:     Animals
Title:     Inside Looking Out
Source:     Simulated stereo LP: Animalization
Writer:     Lomax/Lomax/Burdon/Chandler
Label:     M-G-M
Year:     1966
     The last Animals single to feature original drummer John Steel, Inside Looking Out (a powerful song about life in prison) was adapted from an actual chain gang chant called Rosie, which was included as part of Alan Lomax's Popular Songbook around 1960 or so. Released as a single in early 1966, the song was later included on the LP Animalization. Three years later Grand Funk Railroad recorded an extended version of Inside Looking Out that became a staple of their live show.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Slip Inside This House
Source:    Mono CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Erickson
Label:    Charly (original US label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    The 13th Floor Elevators returned from their only California tour in time to celebrate Christmas of 1966 in their native Texas. Not long after that things began to fall apart for the band. Much of this can be attributed to bad management, but at least some of the problems were internal in nature. Lead guitarist Stacy Southerland was caught with marijuana in the trunk of his car, thus causing his probation to be revoked, which in turn meant he was not allowed to leave the Lone Star state. This in turn caused the entire rhythm section to head off for San Francisco, leaving Southerland, along with electric juggest Tommy Hall and vocalist Roky Erickson, to find replacement members in time to start work on the band's second album, Easter Everywhere. Despite this, the album itself came out remarkably well, and is now considered a high point of the psychedelic era. Unlike the first 13th Floor Elevators album, Easter Everywhere was designed to be a primarily spiritual work. Nowhere is this more evident than on the album's opening track, the eight-minute epic Slip Inside This House. Written primarily by Hall, Slip Inside This House was intended to "establish the syncretic concepts behind Western and Eastern religions, science and mysticism, and consolidate them into one body of work that would help redefine the divine essence". While whether he succeeded or not is a matter of opinion, the track itself is certainly worth hearing for yourself. Enjoy.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    White Room (single version)
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    United Artists (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    In order to get songs played on top 40 radio, record companies made it a practice to shorten album cuts by cutting out extended instrumental breaks and extra verses. This version of the Cream classic White Room, clocking in at just over three minutes, is a typical example.

Artist:    Elephant's Memory
Title:    Brief Encounter
Source:    CD: Elephant's Memory
Writer(s):    Richard Sussman
Label:    BMG/Collector's Choice (original label: Buddah)
Year:    1969
    One of the hardest-to-describe bands of the late 1960s, Elephant's Memory was formed by singer/saxophonist/flautist/clarinetist Stan Bronstein and drummer Rick Frank, along with bassist/trombonist Myron Yules. One early member of the band was vocalist Carly Simon, although by the time the band recorded their debut LP in 1969 she had been replaced by Michal Shapiro. Filling out the band's 1969 lineup were keyboardist Richard Sussman and guitarists John Ward and Chester Ayres. Shapiro's vocals were particularly well suited to the band's jazzier numbers, such as Brief Encounter, which also incorporates elements of latino music.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    We Ain't Gonna Party Anymore
Source:    CD: All The Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Howard Kaylan
Label:    Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1970
    By 1970 relations between White Whale Records and the only artists ever to actually make the label any money had deteriorated to the point that White Whale locked the band out of the recording studio that housed all their equipment and recordings for their partially completed sixth LP, Shell Shock. The band finally was able to access their stuff only after promising to record a song called Who Ever Think That I Would Marry Margaret. The band members universally detested the tune, but the shirts at the label insisted it was hit record material. The song, of course, stiffed, but it did have an interesting B side written by lead vocalist Howard Kaylan called We Ain't Gonna Party Anymore. Although the track, originally meant for Shell Shock, is basically an antiwar song, it also served to let White Whale that the group was disbanding, and would be the last new recording by the band to appear on the White Whale label. White Whale responded by issuing a series of old Turtles album tracks as singles, but within a couple years the label itself was history.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Simple Sister
Source:    LP: Best of Procol Harum (originally released on LP: Broken Barricades)
Writer:    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1971
    By 1971 serious creative differences had developed between keyboardist/vocalist Gary Brooker and lead guitarist Robin Trower. At issue was the direction the band was moving in. While Brooker wanted to continue in the progressive/classical direction the band had become known for, Trower wanted a harder-edged sound. Trower's final album as a member of Procol Harum shows the two directions often at odds with each other. One track, though, Simple Sister, managed to merge elements of both Brooker's and Trower's styles, and received a significant amount of airplay on album-oriented FM radio throughout the 1970s.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Pleasant Valley Sunday
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.)
Writer:    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    After making it a point to play their own instruments on their third LP, Headquarters, the Monkees decided to once again use studio musicians for their next album, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD. The difference was that this time the studio musicians would be recording under the supervision of the Monkees themselves rather than Don Kirschner and the array of producers he had lined up for the first two Monkees LPs. The result was an album that many critics consider the group's best effort. The only single released from the album was Pleasant Valley Sunday, a song penned by the husband and wife team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and backed by the band's remake of the Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart song Words, which had been recorded the previous year by the Leaves. Although both songs ended up making the charts, it was Pleasant Valley Sunday that got the most airplay and is considered by many to be Monkees' greatest achievement.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    I'm A Believer
Source:    CD: The Monkees' Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: More Of The Monkees)
Writer(s):    Neil Diamond
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1966
    If there was ever any such thing as a guaranteed hit record, it was I'm A Believer, a Neil Diamond tune recorded by the Monkees in 1966. Released in November as the Monkees' second single, I'm A Believer hit the #1 spot on the Billboard charts on December 31st, and remained at the top of the charts for all of January and most of February of 1967. It was also included on the album More Of The Monkees, released in January of 1967, as well as being featured on four consecutive episodes of the TV series The Monkees. 

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Valleri
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released on LP: The Birds, The Bees, And The Monkees)
Writer(s):    Boyce/Hart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1968
    The last Monkees top 10 single was also Michael Nesmith's least favorite Monkees song. Valleri was a Tommy Boyce/Bobby Hart composition that the group had first recorded for the first season of their TV show in 1966. Apparently nobody was happy with the recording, however, and the song was never issed on vinyl. Two years later the song was re-recorded for the album The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees and subsequently released as a single. The flamenco-style guitar on the intro (and repeated throughout the song) was played by studio guitarist Louie Shelton, after Nesmith refused to participate in the recording.

Artist:    Who
Title:    Glow Girl
Source:    CD: The Who Sell Out (bonus track originally released on LP: Odds And Sods)
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1974
    Although it was originally recorded in January of 1968, right after the release of The Who Sell Out, Glow Girl sat on the shelf as the band got to work on their 1969 rock opera Tommy. Pete Townshend, who wrote Glow Girl, was not one to abandon song ideas easily, and he adapted the final line of Glow Girl to be one of the opening lines of Tommy itself, changing the word "girl" to "boy". Glow Girl itself was finally released in 1974 on the Odds And Sods album.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Wonder People (I Do Wonder)
Source:    CD: Forever Changes (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino (bonus track)
Year:    1967
    It's not entirely clear why Wonder People (I Do Wonder) was left off Love's Forever Changes album when it was first released in 1967. It could have been for space considerations; after a certain point more music on an LP means a loss of audio quality in order to fit it all. Another, more likely, possibility is that the song itself just wasn't dark enough to be a good fit with the rest of Forever Changes. Whatever the reason, the song is now available as a bonus track on the remastered CD version of the album. It's definitely worth a listen.

Artist:    Charlatans
Title:    Alabama Bound
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70
Writer:    trad., arr. The Charlatans
Label:    Rhino (original label: Ace/Big Beat)
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1996
    Despite being one of the most important bands on the San Francisco scene, the Charlatans did not have much luck in the recording studio. Their first sessions were aborted, the planned LP for Kama Sutra was shelved by the label itself, and the band was overruled in their choice of songs to be released on their first (and only) single issued from the Kama Sutra sessions. In 1967, however, they did manage to get some decent tracks recorded. Unfortunately, those tracks were not released until 1996, and then only in the UK. The centerpiece of the 1967 sessions was this six-and-a-half minute long recording of a traditional tune that is generally considered to be the Charlatans' signature song: Alabama Bound.

Artist:    Sam And Dave
Title:    Soul Man
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Hayes/Porter
Label:    Stax
Year:    1967
    There were a lot of talented people involved with the making of Sam And Dave's Soul Man, including guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, and songwriters Isaac Hayes and Darrell Porter, not to mention the Bar-Kays on horns. Although not considered "psychedelic" itself, it was still one of the anthems of the Summer of Love.

Artist:    Mommyheads
Title:    Out Of The Cave
Source:    CD: Age Of Isolation
Writer(s):    Adam Cohen
Label:    Mommyhead Music
Year:    2021
    The Mommyheads are a New York based band that has been around since the 1980s (taking the decade from 1998 to 2008 off). As of 2021, the year they released Age Of Isolation, the band consisted of drummer Dan Fisherman, bassist Jason McNair, keyboardist (and occasional guitarist) Michael Holt, and multi-instrumentalist Adam Elk, who, under his birth name of Adam Cohen writes most of the band's material, including Out Of The Cave. All members provide vocals.

Artist:    Splinter Fish
Title:    Mars
Source:    LP: Splinter Fish
Writer(s):    Chuck Hawley
Label:    StreetSound
Year:    1989
    One of my favorite bands on the late 80s Albuquerque music scene was Splinter Fish, a group that didn't quite fall naturally into any specific musical genre. They certainly had things in common with many new wave bands, but also touched on world music and even hard rock. One of their most popular tracks was Mars, which itself is hard to define, thanks to many sudden tempo and even stylistic changes, even though the entire track runs less than three minutes in length. Guitarist/vocalist Chuck Hawley now leads his own band, while fem vocalist Deb-O performs with a variety of Albuquerque musicians in several different combos.

Artist:    Squires Of The Subterrain
Title:    Admiral Albert's Apparition
Source:    CD: Pop In A CD
Writer(s):    Christopher Zajkowski
Label:    Rocket Racket
Year:    Recorded 1992, released 1998
    Based in Rochester, NY, the Squires Of The Subterrain are (is?) the work of Christopher Zajkowski of Rochester, NY, who has been releasing independent recordings on his own Rocket Racket label for the better part of 20 years. His work has elements of both Brian Wilson's Smile period and the Beatles at their most psychedelic. Admiral Albert's Apparition, recorded on 4-track equipment in 1992, combines the two quite nicely, yet has an original sound all its own.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Tobacco Road
Source:    LP: Psychedelic Lollipop
Writer(s):    John D. Loudermilk
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1966
    For years I've been trying to find a DVD copy of a video I saw on YouTube. It was the Blues Magoos, complete with electric suits and smoke generators, performing Tobacco Road on a Bob Hope TV special. The performance itself was a vintage piece of psychedelia, but the true appeal of the video is in Hope's reaction to the band immediately following the song. You can practically hear him thinking "Well, that's one act I'm not taking with me on my next USO tour."

Artist:    Del-Vetts
Title:    Last Time Around
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Dennis Dahlquist
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The Del-Vetts were from Chicago's affluent North Shore. Their gimmick was to show up at a high school dance by driving their matching corvettes onto the gymnasium dance floor. Musically, like most garage/punk bands, they were heavily influenced by the British invasion bands. Unlike most garage/punk bands, who favored the Rolling Stones, the Del-Vetts were more into the Jeff Beck incarnation of the Yardbirds. The 'Vetts had a few regional hits from 1965-67, the biggest being this single issued on the Dunwich label, home of fellow Chicago suburbanites the Shadows of Knight. In retrospect, considering the song's subject matter (and overall loudness), Last Time Around may well be the very first death metal rock song ever recorded.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Pledging My Time
Source:    Austrian import CD: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The second track from Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde album was Pledging My Time, a blues tune that features Robbie Robertson (who had been touring with Dylan) on guitar. The song was one of three tracks recorded in four takes in Nashville on March 8th of 1966. The song was also used as the B side of the album's first single, but was faded out about two-thirds of the way through.

Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Psychedelic Shack
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer:    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Motown Yesteryear (original label: Gordy)
Year:    1970
    Starting in 1969 the songwriting/production team of Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong began to carve out their own company within a company at Motown, producing a series of recordings with a far more psychedelic feel than anything else coming out of the Motor City's biggest label. The most blatantly obvious example of this is the Temptations tune Psychedelic Shack, which graced the charts in 1970. Whitfield would eventually form his own company, taking another Motown act, the Undisputed Truth, with him, but would not be able to equal the success of the songs he and Strong produced for the Temptations, such as 1972's Papa Was A Rolling Stone.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Chushingura
Source:    LP: Crown Of Creation
Writer(s):    Spencer Dryden
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1968
    Drummer Spencer Dryden was certainly not the most prolific songwriter in Jefferson Airplane. In fact, in terms of total output he was probably dead last, although bassist Jack Casady is not far ahead of him. However, Dryden's few contributions as a songwriter rank among the band's most innovative work. Chushingura, which closes out side one of the band's fourth LP, Crown Of Creation, is a good example of this innovation. Although the track is less than a minute and a half long, it stands as one of the earliest examples of electronic music on a rock album.

Artist:    Tommy James And The Shondells
Title:    Crimson And Clover
Source:    LP: Crimson And Clover
Writer(s):    James/Lucia
Label:    Roulette
Year:    1968
    Tommy James And The Shondells were one of the most successful singles bands in the world from 1966 through mid-1968, when they took a three month break from recording to go on tour with Hubert Humphrey's presidential campaign. During that time, James and the band came to the realization that the pop music scene was going through some major changes; in fact, the term "pop music" itself was giving way to "rock", just as the former term had supplanted the term "rock 'n' roll" in the late 1950s following the infamous payola scandal of 1959 that had destroyed the career of disc jockey Alan Freed, who had been instrumental in the popularization of rock 'n' roll in the first place. At the same time, albums were becoming more important to a band's success, a fact that was not lost on James. During their hiatus from recording the band worked on a change in style, and a marketing strategy to go with it. One of the first songs they recorded in this new style was Crimson And Clover. In November of 1968, Tommy James brought a rough mix of the song to Chicago's WLS, arguably the world's most listened to radio station at the time, and played it off the air for disc jockey Larry Lujack. Unbeknownst to James, however, Lujack had one of the station's engineers running a second tape deck in record mode, effectively making a bootleg copy of the song. As the story goes, James then left the station and got into a car that had its radio tuned to WLS, which was already playing the bootleg tape of Crimson And Clover. Although Morris Levy, the head of Roulette Records, asked WLS not to play the tape, the overwhelmingly positive response to the song caused him to change his mind and instead insist that a single be pressed using the same rough mix that WLS was playing. Tommy James was finally allowed to record a longer version of Crimson And Clover for the band's new album (also titled Crimson And Clover), but decided to use the already existing tracks and build on them rather than re-record the entire song. Unfortunately, a speed calibration issue between the original and new sections caused the song to change pitch slightly at the transition points. When Roulette reissued the single for the oldies market in the 1980s they used the LP version, complete with pitch variations.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Dandelion
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    If there was a British equivalent to the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations in terms of time and money spent on a single song, it might be We Love You, a 1967 single released by the Rolling Stones. To go along with the single (with its state-of-the-art production) the band spent a considerable sum making a full-color promotional video, a practice that would not become commonplace until the advent of MTV in the 1980s. Despite all this, US radio stations virtually ignored We Love You, choosing to instead flip the record over and play the B side, a tune called Dandelion. As to why this came about, I suspect that Bill Drake, the man behind the nation's most influential top 40 stations, simply decided that the less elaborately produced Dandelion was better suited to the US market than We Love You and instructed his hand-picked program directors at such stations as WABC, KHJ and WLS to play Dandelion. The copycat nature of top 40 radio being what it is, Dandelion ended up being a moderate hit in the US in the summer of '67.

Artist:     Rolling Stones
Title:     Hitch Hike
Source:     Mono CD: Out of Our Heads
Writer(s):    Gaye/Paul/Stevenson
Label:     Abkco (original label: London)
Year:     1965
     The Rolling Stones' early albums consisted of about a 50/50 mix of cover tunes and original tunes from the band members, primarily Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Marvin Gaye's Hitch Hike was one of the cover songs on the album Out of Our Heads, the same album that featured the #1 hit of 1965, (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Street Fighting Man
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released on LP: Beggar's Banquet)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    The Rolling Stones were at a low point in their career following their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came out in late 1967. As a response to charges in the rock press that they were no longer relevant the Stones released Jumpin' Jack Flash as a single in early 1968, following it up with the Beggar's Banquet album later in the year. The new album included the band's follow-up single, Street Fighting Man, a song that was almost as anthemic as Jumpin' Jack Flash itself and went a long ways toward insuring that the Rolling Stones would be making music on their own terms for as long as they chose to.

Artist:    Downliners Sect
Title:    Why Don't You Smile Now
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released on LP: The Rock Sect's In)
Writer(s):    Philips/Vance/Reed/Cale
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia UK)
Year:    1966
    The Downliners Sect was one of the more unusual British bands of the mid-sixties, with a penchant for choosing unconventional material to record. Their second LP, for instance, was made up of covers of songs originally recorded by US Country and Western artists. Their third LP, The Rock Sect's In, was (as the title implies) more of a straight rock album than their previous efforts. Still, they managed to find unique material to record, such as Why Don't You Smile Now, a song chosen from a stack of producers' demos from the US. Although nobody seems to know who Philips or Vance were, the Reed and Cale in the songwriting credits were none other than Lou and John, in a pre-Velvet Underground incarnation.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Heaven Is In Your Mind
Source:    LP: Best Of Traffic (originally released in US on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Winwood/Capaldi/Wood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    For a time in the mid-1960s recording artists would actually make two mixes of each song on their albums, one in monoraul and one in stereo. Often the monoraul mix would have a brighter sound, as those mixes were usually made with AM radio's technical limitations in mind. In rare cases, the differences would be even more pronounced. Such is the case with Traffic's first LP, Mr. Fantasy. The two versions of Heaven Is In Your Mind differ not only in their mix but in the actual recording, as the mono mix features an entirely different guitar solo than the more familiar stereo mix heard here.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Source:    CD: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    If there was ever a band that illustrated just how bizarre the late 60s could be, it was the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. Formed at a party (hosted by the ubiquitous Kim Fowley) by the sons of a noted orchestra conductor and a borderline pedophile with lots of money to burn, the band also included a talented but troubled lead guitarist from Denver and a multi-instrumentalist who would go on to become a highly successful record producer. As would be expected with such a disparate group, several members ended up quitting during the band's run; strangely enough, they all ended up returning to the band at one time or another. Their music was just as strange as their story, as the title track of their fourth album, Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil, illustrates vividly. Musically the song is powerful, almost anthemic, creating a mood that is immediately destroyed by a spoken bit (I hesitate to use the term "poetry") by the aforementioned borderline pedophile, Bob Markley, against a backdrop of a more subdued musical bed with background vocals somewhat resembling Gregorian chant. And just what words of wisdom does Markley have to share with us? Let me give you a small sample: "a vampire bat will suck blood from our hands, a dog with rabies will bite us, rats will run up your legs, but nothing will matter." Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the whole thing is that the piece was created without benefit of drugs, as all the members of the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (except for lead guitarist Ron Morgan) were notoriously drug-free, itself the exception rather than the rule in late 60s Hollywood. Oddly enough, in spite of this (or maybe because of it), the track is actually quite fun to listen to. Besides, it only lasts two minutes and twenty seconds.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2238 (starts 9/12/22)

    Over half of the tunes on this week's edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era were released in 1967, including a couple of tracks we've never played before that feature guitarists that would later become quite famous. Also in the bill, a set of Beatles tunes made around the same time as the band was forming Apple Corps that became some of the earliest releases on the label.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    We Love You
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    We Love You was, upon its release in the summer of 1967, the most expensive Rolling Stones record ever produced (as well as the last Rolling Stones record to be produced by Andrew Loog Oldham), and included a promotional film that is considered a forerunner of the modern music video. We Love You did well in the UK, reaching the # 8 spot on the charts, but it was the other side of the record, Dandelion, that ended up being a hit in the US. The song was dismissed at the time by John Lennon, who referred to it as the Stones' answer to All We Need Is Love, but in retrospect the song is now seen as a tongue-in-cheek response to the ongoing harassment of the band by law enforcement authorities at the time.

Artist:     Cream
Title:     SWLABR
Source:     CD: Disraeli Gears (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Bruce/Brown
Label:     Polydor (original label: Atco)
    Year: 1967
    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 (an anagram for She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow) was written by the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and 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:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Cream Puff War
Source:    CD: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s):    Jerry Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1967
    The first Grateful Dead album was recorded in a matter of days, and was mostly made up of cover tunes that the band was currently performing. The two exceptions were The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), which was credited to the entire band, and Cream Puff War, a song written by guitarist Jerry Garcia. The two tracks were paired up on the band's first single as well. Cream Puff War, as recorded, ran nearly three and a half minutes, but was edited down to 2:28 at the insistence of the corporate shirts at Warner Brothers Records.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Excuse, Excuse
Source:    LP: The Seeds (originally released in France on EP: The Seeds Avec Sky Saxon)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1965
    Although they branded themselves as the original flower power band, the Seeds have a legitimate claim to being one of the first punk-rock bands as well. A prime example is Excuse, Excuse. Whereas a more conventional song of the time might have been an angst-ridden tale of worry that perhaps the girl in question did not return the singer's feelings, Sky Saxon's lyrics (delivered with a sneer that would do Johnny Rotten proud) are instead a scathing condemnation of said girl for not being straight up honest about the whole thing. Excuse, Excuse was first released in late 1965 in France on an EP called The Seeds Avec Sky Saxon. The EP also included the band's debut single, Can't Seem To Make You Mine and its original B side, Daisy Mae, along with No Escape! All but Daisy Mae would be included on the band's self-titled debut LP the following April.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Rosy Won't You Please Come Home
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    The Davies were a close-knit family living in Muswell Hill, North London in the mid-20th century. Close enough, in fact, for two of the family members, Ray and Dave, to form (with fellow Muswell Hill resident Peter Quaife) their own rock band in the 1960s. That band, the Kinks, became one of the most popular and influential bands of the British Invasion. In 1964 a third family member, Rosy, moved to Australia with her husband Arthur, which devastated brother Ray to the point that he, in his own words "collapsed in a heap on the sandy beach and wept like a pathetic child" on the day that they left. Two years later the Kinks recorded Rosy Won't You Please Come Home and included it on the album Face To Face. When that didn't work they tried an entire album: Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) in 1969.

Artist:    Kim Fowley
Title:    Strangers From The Sky
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Fowley/Lloyd
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The 1960s Los Angeles music scene contained more than its share of colorful characters, so it takes quite a bit to stand out from even that group. Kim Fowley, however, definitely fits the bill, as he is more than willing to tell anyone who will listen. His first claim to fame is being the voice of the Hollywood Argyles, a studio concoction that had a huge hit with the novelty song Alley Oop in the early 1960s. Fowley met prodigy Michael Lloyd when Lloyd was only 13, and immediately recognized his potential. In late 1966 he was instrumental in hooking Lloyd up with the Harris brothers and local hipster Bob Markley, who together formed the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. It was while a member of the WCPAEB that Lloyd produced Fowley's Strangers From The Sky, recorded in Lloyd's own home 4-track studio with Lloyd playing all the instruments himself. In it's own way, Strangers From The Sky is every bit as bizarre as Alley Oop, although nowhere near as successful on the charts. Lloyd went on to become a big-time record producer, working with teen idols like the Osmonds and Shaun Cassidy as well as supervising the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Fowley continued to make his presence felt in both L.A. and London in several roles, including songwriter, producer and being the MC at the Toronto Rock And Roll Revival in 1969 (where he successfully pushed to get the Plastic Ono Band on the playbill). He famously introduced Sandy West to Joan Jett in the mid-1970s, which eventually led to the formation of the Runaways.
Artist:    Del Shannon
Title:    I Think I Love You
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: The Further Adventures Of Charles Westover)
Writer(s):    Del Shannon
Label:    Rhino (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Del Shannon? The guy who did Runaway back in '62? Yep. Also the same Del Shannon who Tom Petty has acknowledged as his number one inspiration and who was on the verge of being asked to replace the late Roy Orbison in the Traveling Wilburys when he himself became the late Del Shannon. Unlike many of his early 60s contemporaries such as Bobby Vee or Fabian, Shannon was able to keep up with the times, as this piece of pure psychedelia (penned by Shannon himself) from the album The Further Adventures of Charles Westover demonstrates.

Artist:     Vanilla Fudge
Title:     You Keep Me Hangin' On (includes Illusions Of My Childhood part one and two)
Source:     Mono LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):     Holland/Dozier/Holland
Label:     Atco
Year:     1967
     The Vanilla Fudge version of You Keep Me Hangin' On was originally recorded and released in 1967, not too long after the Supremes version of the song finished its own run on the charts. It wasn't until the following year, however, the the Vanilla Fudge recording caught on with radio listeners, turning it into the band's only top 40 hit. The original album version was considerably longer than the single, however, due in part to the inclusion of a framing sequence called Illusions Of My Childhood (basically a series of short psychedelic instrumental pieces incorporating themes from familiar nursery rhymes such as Farmer In The Dell and Ring Around The Rosie). You Keep Me Hangin' On was originally mixed only in mono as a kind of audition tape for the band. Rather than re-record the song for their debut LP, the band chose to use that original mono mix.

Artist:    Move
Title:    (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Roy Wood
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    The most successful British band of the psychedelic era not to have a US hit was the Move, a band that featured Roy Wood and (later) Jeff Lynne, among other notables. The band was already well established in the UK by 1967, when their single Flowers In The Rain was picked to be the first record played on the new BBC Radio One. The B side of that record was the equally-catchy (Here We Go Round) The Lemon Tree. Both songs were written by Wood, although he only sang lead vocals on the B side.

Artist:     Monkees
Title:     Randy Scouse Git
Source:     CD: Headquarters
Writer:     Barry/Sager
Label:     Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:     1967
     The original concept for the Monkees TV series was that the band would be shown performing two new songs on each weekly episodes. This meant that, even for an initial 13-week order, 26 songs would have to be recorded in a very short amount of time. The only way to meet that deadline was for several teams of producers, songwriters and studio musicians to work independently of each other at the same time. The instrumental tracks were then submitted to musical director Don Kirschner, who brought in Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith to record vocal tracks. Although some of the instrumental tracks, such as those produced by Nesmith, had Nesmith and Tork playing on them, most did not. Some backing tracks were even recorded in New York at the same time as the TV show was being taped in L.A. In a few cases, the Monkees themselves did not hear the songs until they were in the studio to record their vocal tracks. A dozen of these recordings were chosen for release on the first Monkees LP in 1966, including the hit single Last Train To Clarksville. When it became clear that the show was a hit and a full season's worth of episodes would be needed, Kirschner commissioned even more new songs (although by then Clarksville was being featured in nearly every episode, mitigating the need for new songs somewhat). Without the band's knowledge Kirschner issued a second album, More Of The Monkees, in early 1967, using several of the songs recorded specifically for the TV show. The Monkees themselves were furious, and the subsequent firestorm resulted in the removal of Kirschner from the entire Monkees project. The group then hired Turtles bassist Chip Douglas to work with the band to produce an album of songs that the Monkees themselves would both sing and play on. The album, Headquarters, spent one week at the top of the charts before giving way to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. There were, however, no singles released from the album; at least not in the US. It turns out that the seemingly nonsensical title of the album's final track, Randy Scouse Git, was actually British slang for "horny guy from Liverpool", or something along those lines. The song was released as a single everywhere but the Western Hemisphere under the name Alternate Title and was a surprise worldwide hit.

Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    The Incredible Journey Of Timothy Chase
Source:    Mono British import CD: Tomorrow
Writer(s):    Keith Hopkins
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1967
    Originally formed as Four Plus One, and later The In Crowd, Tomorrow consisted of vocalist Keith West (born Keith Hopkins), guitarist Steve Howe, bassist Junior Wood and drummer Twink Alder. Despite being one of the first psychedelic bands to grace London's legendary UFO club and being featured on John Peel's Perfumed Garden radio show, Tomorrow was never a commercial success. One of the main reasons for this was West's decision to work with Mark Wirtz on a side project called A Teenage Opera which resulted in West having a hit single as a solo artist. This actually hurt the band, as promoters insisted on billing the band as Tomorrow featuring Keith West, which didn't sit to well with the other members. They did manage to record and release a self-titled album in 1968, but it did not sell well and was quickly relegated to the cut-out bins. Most of the band members themselves fared quite a bit better with Twink going on the join the Pretty Things and later found the Pink Fairies and Howe becoming a member of Yes, turning that band into a major success.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    The Observation
Source:    Mono British import CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    Donovan was at first hailed as Britain's answer to Bob Dylan, but by 1967 he was proving that he was much more than that. The Observation is one of many innovative tunes that helped redefine Donovan from folk singer to singer/songwriter, transforming the entire genre in the process.

Artist:    Butch Engle And The Styx
Title:    Hey, I'm Lost
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Elliott/Durand
Label:    Rhino (original label: Onyx)
Year:    1967
    In 1966 a local San Francisco department store held a battle of the bands at the Cow Palace. Unlike most events in the city that year, this one did not tie in to the emerging hippie culture. Rather, the event drew bands that were in their element when playing high school dances and teen clubs (although the decidedly hippie Charlatans did make an appearance). The winners of that battle were Butch Engle and the Styx. Eighteen months later Hey, I'm Lost, their only single, appeared on the Onyx label and was distributed throughout the bay area.

Artist:    Whatt Four
Title:    You're Wishin' I Was Someone Else
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Sanders/Johnson
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1967
    By 1967 Mercury Records had long since moved beyond its roots as a regional Chicago label. In fact, Mercury, along with Capitol, Columbia, M-G-M, Decca and RCA Victor, was one of the "Big Six" record labels of the time, so called because between them they owned nearly all of the major record pressing plants in the country. It was really no surprise, then, to see Mercury signing local acts and releasing the records regionally in other parts of the country as well as Chicago. One such act was Riverside, California's Whatt Four, who took their shot at the brass ring in 1967 with a song called You're Wishin' I Was Someone Else.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Why (RCA Studios version)
Source:    CD: Fifth Dimension (bonus track)
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Crosby
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 1996
    One of the highlights of the Byrds' Younger Than Yesterday album, released in early 1967, was a song co-written by David Crosby and Jim (Roger) McGuinn called Why. Many of the band's fans already knew that a different version of the song had already been released as the B side of Eight Miles High the previous year. What was not as well-known, however, was that both songs had been first recorded at the RCA Studios in Burbank in December of 1965, but rejected by Columbia due to their being produced at studios owned by a hated competitor. Crosby has since said that he prefers the RCA recordings to the later ones made at Columbia's own studios, calling it "stronger...with a lot more flow to it".
Artist:     Sparkles
Title:     No Friend of Mine
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Writer(s)    Turnbow/Parks
Label:     Rhino (original label: Hickory)
Year:     1967
     It shouldn't come as a surprise that the state of Texas would produce its share of garage/psychedelic bands. After all, the place used to be a medium-sized country. In fact, one of the first bands to actually use the word psychedelic in an album title was the 13th Floor Elevators out of Austin. The Sparkles hailed from a different part of the state, one known for its high school football teams as much as anything else: West Texas. Recorded in Big Spring, No Friend of Mine was one of a series of regional hits for the Sparkles that got significant airplay in cities like Midland, Odessa and Monahans. 

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    In The Midnight Hour
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Pickett/Cropper
Label:    Tower
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2012
    Among the many Chocolate Watchband recordings that were subjected to major changes by producer Ed Cobb was a cover of Wilson Pickett's R&B classic In The Midnight Hour, a song that was also covered by the Young Rascals. The biggest change Cobb made to the recording was to replace Dave Aguilar's original lead vocals with those of studio vocalist Don Bennett. Once Sundazed got the rights to the Watchband's recordings they included both versions on their CD version of the No Way Out album and in 2012 issued the mono mix of the Aguilar version for the first time as a single.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Revolution 1
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    The Beatles' Revolution has a somewhat convoluted history. The song, the first album track to be recorded for the band's own Apple label, was over eight minutes long and included what eventually became Revolution 1 and part of Revolution 9. The song's writer, John Lennon, at some point decided to separate the sections into two distinct tracks, both of which ended up on the Beatles self-titled double LP (aka the White Album). Lennon wanted to release Revolution 1 as a single, but was voted down by both George Harrison and Paul McCartney on the grounds that the song's tempo was too slow. Lennon then came up with a faster version of the song, which ended up being released a few weeks before the album came out as the B side to the band's 1968 single Hey Jude. As a result, many of the band's fans erroneously assumed that Revolution 1 was the newer version of the song.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Hey Jude
Source:    CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1968
    Without a question, the biggest hit the Beatles ever had was Hey Jude. The song spent nineteen weeks on the charts, nine of them in the number one spot, making it the most popular song of 1968. It was also the first single released on the Apple label, and became the biggest-selling debut release for a record label in history, topping the charts in eleven countries. At over seven minutes in length, it held the record for longest-playing number one hit for 25 years. Hey Jude is also the most popular bar song in mid-world, as described in Stephen King's Dark Tower books. No wonder Paul McCartney still performs the song regularly.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Long, Long, Long
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    Written while the Beatles were in India studying Transcendental Meditiation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Long, Long, Long is one of four George Harrison compositions on the 1968 double LP The Beatles (aka the White Album). Of the four, Long, Long, Long is the most indicative of the direction Harrison's songwriting would take over the next few years, culminating with his three-disc box set, All Things Must Pass. The arrangement is sparse and the lyrics are deeply spiritual, yet open to interpretation. Harrison himself confirmed that the "you" in the lyrics refers to God rather than a specific person. Long, Long, Long is also one of the quietest Beatle songs ever recorded, standing in stark contrast to Helter Skelter, which precedes it on the album.

Artist:    Mad River
Title:    Wind Chimes
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released as 7" 33 1/3 RPM Extended Play mini-album)
Writer(s):    Mad River
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Wee)
Year:    1967
    Unlike most San Francisco Bay Area bands of the mid to late 1960s, Mad River was already a functioning band when they arrived on the scene from their native Ohio in 1967. The group, consisting of Lawrence Hammond (vocals, bass), David Robinson (guitar), Rick Bockner (guitar) and Greg Dewey (drums, vocals), had been formed in 1965 as the Mad River Blues Band in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where all of the members were attending college. By the time they relocated to Berkeley in early 1967 they had developed a unique style of their own. Once in Berkeley, the band quickly established themselves as one of the most "underground" bands in the area, often appearing on the bill with Country Joe And The Fish. In fact, it was the latter band that inspired Mad River to record an EP later that year. Following an unsuccessful audition for Fantasy Records, Mad River cut a three-song EP for the small Wee label. The entire second side of the disc was a six and a half minute long piece called Wind Chimes. The band later recut the track for their first full-length album (on Capitol) the following year.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Happy Together
Source:    CD: Billboard Top Rock 'N' Roll Hits-1967 (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Happy Together)
Writer(s):    Bonner/Gordon
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1967
    The Turtles got off to a strong start with their cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, which hit the top 20 in 1965. By early 1967, however, the band had fallen on hard times and was looking for a way to return to the charts. They found that way with Happy Together, a song written by Gary Bonner and Mark Gordon, both members of an east coast band called the Magicians. Happy Together was the Turtles' first international hit, going all the way to the top of the charts in several countries and becoming one of the most recognizable songs in the history of popular music.

Artist:    Sound Sandwich
Title:    Apothecary Dream
Source:    Mono LP: Ain't It Hard (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Johnny Cole
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Viva)
Year:    1967
    One of the more successful record producers in mid-60s Los Angeles was Snuff Garrett, whose credits include hits by Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Cher and others. For a while Garrett even had his own record label. Viva Records was only around for a couple of years, but during that time they turned out some of the best-produced psychedelic records ever made. One example is 1967's Apothecary Dream, a tune written by producer Johnny Cole and performed by local L.A. band the Sound Sandwich. The band cut a second single the following January before Viva folded.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Short-Haired Fathers
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Circus Maximus was formed in Greenwich Village by guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Bob Bruno and guitarist Jerry Jeff Walker in 1967. The group originally wanted to call itself the Lost Sea Dreamers, but changed it after the Vanguard Records expressed reservations about signing a group with the initials LSD. Of the eleven tracks on the band's debut LP, only four were written by Walker, and those were in more of a folk-rock vein. Bruno's seven tracks, on the other hand, are true gems of psychedelia, ranging from the jazz-influenced Wind to the proto-punk rocker Short-Haired Fathers. The group fell apart after only two albums, mostly due to the growing musical differences between Walker and Bruno. Walker, of course, went on to become one of the most successful songwriters of the country-rock genre. As for Bruno, he's still in New York City, concentrating more on the visual arts in recent years.

Artist:    Mitch Ryder And The Detroit Wheels
Title:    Too Many Fish In The Sea/Three Little Fishes
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Holland/Dowell
Label:    New Voice
Year:    1967
    Mitch Ryder (b. William Levise, Jr.) And The Detroit Wheels started off as Billy Lee And The Rivieras in the early 1960s, but decided to change their name when another group calling itself the Rivieras had a hit with a song called California Sun. They had their first hit in 1965 with Jenny Take A Ride, a song based loosely on the Little Richard hit Jenny Jenny. More hits followed, including the top 5 smash Devil With A Blue Dress On/Good Golly Miss Molly in 1966. The band's last hit was a pastiche of the Motown hit Too Many Fish In The Sea and the 1940s vintage Three Little Fishes, done up 50s rock and roll style. Not long after the record charted producer Bob Crewe convinced Ryder to quit the group and go solo, a career move that did not work out well for either Ryder or the band. (Crewe also convinced Frankie Valli to leave the 4 Seasons at around that same time, perhaps feeling that a solo artist would be easier to control than a group. Then again, maybe he was just being cheap.)

Artist:    Love
Title:    Signed D.C.
Source:    German import CD: Love
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Warner Strategic Marketing
Year:    1966
    The only acoustic track on the first Love album was Signed D.C., a slow ballad in the tradition of House of the Rising Sun. The song takes the form of a letter penned by a heroin addict, and the imagery is both stark and disturbing. Although Lee was known to occasionally say otherwise, the song title probably refers to Love's original drummer Don Conka, who left the band before their first recording sessions due to (you guessed it) heroin addiction.

Artist:    John Mayall's Bluesbreakers
Title:    Driving Sideways
Source:    LP: Crusade
Writer(s):    Freddie King
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Following the departure of Peter Green to form Fleetwood Mac in 1967, John Mayall recruited 18-year-old Mick Taylor to join his Bluesbreakers, joining a lineup that also included John McVie on bass, Keef Hartley on drums and saxophonists Chris Mercer and Rip Kant. The group recorded the entire album Crusade in one day in July, releasing the LP in both the UK and the US on September 1, 1967. Mayall would end up disbanding the Bluesbreakers after one more LP, with the various members going on to other bands while Mayall himself continued to record with a variety of musicians over a career that continues to this day.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Rambling On
Source:    LP: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M
Year:    1968
    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:    Jimi Hendrix/Gypsy Sun & Rainbows
Title:    Fire
Source:    CD: Live At Woodstock
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Despite announcing to the crowd that his stage band had had only two rehearsals and wouldn't be doing any of the "old stuff", they pulled off this blazing version of Fire about halfway through their set. I can tell you from firsthand experience that, except for the lead guitar and drum parts, Fire is a pretty easy song to learn and play along with, and since drummer Mitch Mitchell was part of the original Experience that had recorded the song in the first place, it ended up sounding pretty good.