It's once again that odd time of year when the calendar says it's still summer, but the thermometer is starting to say otherwise. Appropriately, we have our share of oddities on this week's Stuck in the Psychedelic Era as well, including (according to Billboard magazine) the only song with a genuine Native American chant ever to grace the Hot 100, along with several tracks that sat on the shelf for over 50 years before being released. We also have a new Advanced Psych segment unveiling yet another tune from the 21st century edition of the Electric Prunes and what has to be the strangest novelty hit of 1968, from a guy who ended up getting married on a popular TV show a year later, with 40 million people watching. We start the week off on a Satanic note...
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Sympathy For The Devil
Source: CD: Beggars Banquet
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Beggar's Banquet was a turning point for the Rolling Stones. They had just ended their association with Andrew Loog Oldham, who had produced all of their mid-60s records, and instead, (following one self-produced album) were working with Jimmy Miller, who was known for his association with Steve Winwood, both in his current band Traffic and the earlier Spencer Davis Group. Right from the opening bongo beats of Sympathy For The Devil, it was evident that this was the beginning of a new era for the bad boys of rock and roll. The song itself has gone on to be one of the defining tunes of album rock radio, and occupies the #32 spot on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" list.
Artist: Everything Is Everything
Title: Witchi Tai To
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Jim Pepper
Label: Vanguard Apostolic
Jim Pepper was a jazz saxophonist who was a member of the Free Spirits, often credited as the band that created jazz-rock fusion. When guitarist Larry Coryell and drummer Bob Moses left the band to play with Larry Burton, the remaining members, rather than continue on with them, formed a new group called Everything Is Everything. Led by Pepper, who was Of Kaw and Creek heritage, the new band combined elements of Native American music and jazz to produce a unique hybrid. Their best-known song, Witchi Tai To, released in 1968, was derived from a peyote song of the Native American Church which Pepper had learned from his grandfather, and is credited as the only Native American chant ever to crack the Billboard Hot 100. Following the breakup of Everything Is Everything, Pepper participated in a number of projects with a wide variety of jazz notables and spent much of his career playing dates in Europe. His 1984 CD Comin' And Goin' has the distinction of being the first recording ever issued on the Rykodisc label.
Artist: Friday's Chyld
Title: Boys And Girls Together
Source: Mono British import CD: Think I'm Going Weird
Writer(s): Bob Voice
Year: Recorded 1967, released 2021
Friday's Chyld was a trio of teenagers from the Hounslow district of West London. Led by guitarist/keyboardist/lead vocalist Dave Lambert, the group also included bassist Dick Dufall and drummer Bob Voice. They recorded a pair of tunes (one of which was called Boys And Girls Together) in 1967 under their original name before signing with Decca and rechristening themselves Fire, releasing a pair of singles in 1968. Lambert later went on to become a member of Strawbs.
Title: Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
Source: Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy is perhaps recognizable from a TV commercial from a few years back (don't ask me who the ad was for, as I tend to ignore such things). The song was originally the opening track from the 1965 album Kinda Kinks, which, like most British albums of the time, had a different song lineup on its US release than the original UK version. In this case, it also had entirely different cover art, for reasons that are not entirely clear.
Artist: Luv'd Ones
Source: Mono CD: Truth Gotta Stand
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2021
Among the many unreleased recordings made by Michigan's all-female Luv'd Ones is this cover version of a 1964 instrumental by Mississippi-born guitarist Travis Wammack. You can tell they were having fun recording this one.
Title: Glittering Girl
Source: LP: The Who Sell Out (bonus track)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: Track/Polydor (original US label: MCA)
Year: Recorded 1967, released 1995
The Who often recorded more material than they could fit on an album, resulting in several unreleased tracks remaining in the vaults for years. One of these was Glittering Girl, a Pete Townshend tune that was recorded around the same time as the songs on The Who Sell Out. It was finally issued as a bonus track on the 1995 CD release of the album and is included on disc two of the remastered vinyl edition of the LP.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Hey Joe
Source: LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced?)
Writer(s): Billy Roberts
The first track recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience was Hey Joe, a song that Hendrix had seen Tim Rose perform in Greenwich Village before relocating to London to form his new band. Hendrix's version is a bit heavier than Rose's and leaves off the first verse ("where you going with that money in your hand") entirely. The song itself was copyrighted in 1962 by California folk singer Billy Roberts and a much faster version by the Leaves had hit the US charts in early 1966.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Source: Mono LP: Midnight Ride (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Kicks may not have been the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a certified hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It was also the biggest hit for Paul Revere and the Raiders until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top in both countries five years later.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Priority (original label: Double Shot)
San Jose, California, was home to one of the most vibrant local music scenes in the late 60s, despite its relatively small, pre-silicon valley population. One of the most popular bands on that scene was Count Five, a group of five guys who dressed like Bela Lugosi's Dracula and sounded like the Jeff Beck-era Yardbirds. Fortunately for Count Five, Jeff Beck had just left the Yardbirds when Psychotic Reaction came out, leaving a hole that the boys from San Jose were more than happy to fill.
Artist: Mamas And The Papas
Title: California Dreamin'
Source: LP: 20 Golden Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): John Phillips
California Dreamin' was written in 1963 by John Phillips, who along with his wife Michelle was living in New York City at the time. The two of them were members of a folk group called the New Journeymen that would eventually become The Mamas And The Papas. Phillips initially gave the song to his friend Barry McGuire to record, but McGuire's version failed to chart. Not long after that McGuire introduced Philips to Lou Adler, president of Dunhill Records who quickly signed The Mamas And The Papas to a recording contract. Using the same instrumental backing track (provided by various Los Angeles studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew), The Mamas And The Papas recorded new vocals for California Dreamin', releasing it as a single in late 1965. The song took a while to catch on, but eventually peaked in the top five nationally.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Source: CD: Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Buffalo Springfield)
Writer(s): Neil Young
One of the most influential folk-rock bands to come out of the L.A. scene was Buffalo Springfield. The band had several quality songwriters, including Neil Young, whose voice was deemed "too weird" by certain record company people. Thus we have Richie Furay singing a Young tune on the band's first single, Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing.
Title: Magical Mystery Tour
Source: LP: Magical Mystery Tour
1967 had been a great year for the Beatles, starting with their double-sided hit single Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, followed by the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album and their late summer hit All You Need Is Love, with its worldwide TV debut (one of the few events of the time to utilize satellite technology). The next project, however, did not go over quite so well. It had been over two years since the group's last major movie (HELP!), and the band decided that their next film would be an exclusive for broadcast on BBC-TV. Unlike the previous two films, this new project would not follow traditional filmmaking procedures. Instead it would be a more experimental piece; a series of loosely related songs and comedy vignettes connected by a loose plot about a bus trip to the countryside. Magical Mystery Tour made its debut in early December of 1967 to overwhelmingly negative reaction by viewers and critics alike (partially because the film was shown in black and white on the tradition minded BBC-1 network; a later rebroadcast in color on BBC-2 went over much better). The songs used in the film, however, were quite popular. Since there were only six of them, far too few for a regular LP, it was decided to issue the album as a pair of 45 RPM EPs, complete with lyric sheets and booklet recounting the story from the film. The original EPs were available in both stereo and mono versions in Europe and the UK. In the US, where the six tunes were supplemented by the band's five remaining single sides from 1967 to create an LP, Magical Mystery Tour was only available in stereo. Although both the EP and LP versions have different song orders than the telefilm, all three open the same way, with the film's title song.
Title: Psychedelic Senate
Source: LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack
Writer(s): Les Baxter
If I had to pick the most unlikely person to record something psychedelic that actually did record something psychedelic, that person would have to be Les Baxter. Born in 1922, Baxter became well-known in the 1940s as a composer and arranger for various swing bands. By the 50s he was leading his own orchestra, recording his own brand of what came to be known as "exotica", easy-listening music flavored with elements taken from non-Western musical traditions. In the 1960s he scored dozens of movie soundtracks, including many for the relatively low-budget American International Pictures, working with people like Roger Corman on films like The Raven, The Pit And The Pendulum and House Of Usher, as well as teen exploitation films like Beach Blanket Bingo. It was through this association that he got involved with a film called Wild In The Streets in 1968. Although much of the film's soundtrack was made up of songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil and performed by the fictional Max Frost And The Troopers, there were a few Baxter pieces included as well, including Psychedelic Senate, a bit of incidental music written to underscore a scene wherein the entire US Senate gets dosed on LSD. If you listen closely you can hear someone saying "order order" in the background.
Title: Mr. Armageddon
Source: British import CD: Psychedelic At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: We Are Everything You See)
Writer(s): Norman Haines
Label: EMI (original label: Parlophone)
It's probably more than appropriate that a band from Birmingham, England, home of the industrial revolution, would have a name like Locomotive. Led by vocalist/guitarist Norman Haines, the group also included Mick Taylor (trumpet), Will Madge (keyboards), Mick Hincks (bass), and Bob Lamb (drums). After making their vinyl debut on the Direction label, the band moved to the larger Parlophone, recording their only album in 1968. The album, including the single Mr. Armageddon, was released in January of 1969. Not long after the album appeared on the racks Haines disbanded Locomotive and formed the Norman Haines group.
Title: Do You Hear Me Now
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Bert Jansch
In 1965 Donovan's UK label, Pye Records, released an Extended Play 45 RPM record (EP) called the Universal Soldier. The record featured four songs that were not available in any other format. EPs had been moderately successful in the US in the mid-1950s, but by 1965 had virtually disappeared from American record racks (except for children's records from companies like Disney and Peter Pan Records). Donovan's US label, Hickory Records, wanted to release the song Universal Soldier, but had no desire to release an EP. Instead they released the song as a single, with one of the other tracks from the EP, Do You Hear Me Now, as the B side. In 1971 Janus Records re-released many of Donovan's early songs, including Do You Hear Me Now, on a new set of albums. Unfortunately those LPs used the electronically reprocessed for stereo versions rather than the original mono mixes. Thanks to Paul out in Bakersfield, I now have a copy of the original mono single. Thanks, Paul!
Title: It Was A Very Good Year
Source: Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe (also released in Canada as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Ervin Drake
Label: White Whale (Canadian label: Quality)
It Was A Very Good Year was originally written for the Kingston Trio, but it was Frank Sinatra's 1961 version of the Ervin Drake composition that made the song famous worldwide. In 1965 the Turtles, who ironically were still in their teens, recorded the song for their debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe. Surprisingly, the song was released as a single in Canada in 1966, where it made the top 10 in March of that year.
Source: LP: 93/KHJ Boss Goldens Volume 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: not on label (original label: Challenge)
A lot of people thought the song Lies was the Beatles recording under a pseudonym when it came out. It wasn't, and I can't help but wonder why anyone would have thought the Beatles had any need to record under a different name (the Knickerbockers) and release a song on a second-tier label (Challenge) in the first place, especially one that sounded so much like the Beatles. Is it a Richard Bachman kind of thing?
Artist: Small Faces
Title: Don't Burst My Bubble
Source: British import CD: Ogden's Nut Gone Flake (bonus track)
Year: Recorded 1969, released 2007
Among the many bonus tracks on the reissued version of the Small Faces' 1968 album Ogden's Nut Gone Flake is a rather obscure song called Don't Burst My Bubble. There is no information given on the track other than the fact that it was recorded in 1969. Since lead vocalist and Don't Burst My Bubble co-writer Steve Marriott told his bandmates on New Year's Eve 1968-69 that he would be leaving the group, the song is likely to have been the last studio recording ever made by the original Small Faces. Marriott had already been helping his friend Peter Frampton form a band, and in early 1969 he became part of the group itself, which came to be known as Humble Pie.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: One Of These Days
Source: CD: Meddle
Label: Pink Floyd Records (original label: Harvest)
In their early years Pink Floyd was a band that was talked about more than heard, at least in the US. That began to change with the release of their 1971 LP Meddle and its opening track, One Of These Days, which got a significant amount of airplay on progressive FM radio stations.
Title: The End
Source: Stereo 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s): Oran & Trevor Thornton
Flick was formed in the mid-90s by the Thornton brothers, Oran and Trevor, who had been performing as an acoustic duo. The new band, which included bassist Eve Hill and drummer Paul Adam McGrath, played its first show in December of 1996 and issued its first EP the following spring. In 1998 Flick released their first full-length album on the Columbia label. One of the tracks from that album, The End, was also issued as a single on 7" 45 RPM vinyl, a relatively unusual occurence in the late 1990s.
Title: In The Shadows
Source: Stereo British import 7" 33 1/3 RPM EP
Writer(s): The Stranglers
Although 7" EPs had all but disappeared in the US by the end of the 1950s, they remained a viable format in many other markets worldwide, including the UK, for many years. In fact, by the end of the 1970s the format had become a fashionable alternative to the standard 45 RPM single and 33 1/3 RPM LP, especially among punk rock and new wave bands. This gave artists the option of choosing for themselves how much music they wanted to release at a given time. In 1979, for instance, the Stranglers had four songs that they wanted to include on one record. Since trying to fit all four on a 7" disc at the standard 45 RPM speed would have meant narrowing the grooves to the point of losing audio quality, they instead opted to press the record at 33 1/3. Among the four songs is a live rendition of a song called In The Shadows which had previously been released, in its studio version, as a B side in 1977 and included on their 1978 LP Black And White.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: Devil's Candy
Source: British import LP: Artifact
The story of the Electric Prunes begins in Los Angeles in 1965 with a group called the Sanctions. Like most Southern California bands of the time, the Sanctions' repertoire was mostly covers of popular (and danceable) tunes like Money (That's What I Want), Love Potion # 9 and of course Louie Louie, all of which the band recorded at a home studio owned by Russ Bottomly in March of 1965. At that point in time, the Sanctions were a quartet consisting of James Lowe (vocals), Mark Tulin (bass), Ken Williams (guitar) and Michael "Quint" Weakley (drums). Early in 1966 they came to the attention of Dave Hassinger, who had just finished working with the Rolling Stones, putting the finishing touches on the Aftermath album, and was eager to try his hand at being a producer. He convinced the band that they needed a new name, and eventually the group came up with the name Electric Prunes, which they felt was so far out of the ordinary that people were bound to remember it.
Even though their first single (a cover of the Gypsy Trips' Ain't It Hard) stiffed, the people at Reprise Records signed the Prunes to a rather onerous contract that left Hassinger firmly in control of virtually everything to come out of a recording studio with the name Electric Prunes on it. At first this was fine with the band (who had just replaced Weakley with Preston Ritter and added James "Weasel" Spagnola as a second guitarist), as they and Hassinger worked well together on the hit single I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night). But it soon became obvious that Hassinger and the band itself had different priorities. Lowe and Tulin had been busy writing songs, yet only two of their compositions ended up on the band's 1967 debut LP. The majority of the songs on the album came from outside songwriters, with Annette Tucker's name in particular appearing on more tracks than anyone else's.
The album provided the band with a second top 40 single, Get Me To The World On Time (like I Had Too Much To Dream, penned by Tucker), which in turn became a factor in the band being given a little more creative freedom for their second LP, Underground (although the fact that Hassinger's attention was divided between the Electric Prunes and a second band he was producing that summer, a San Francisco group called the Grateful Dead, was probably an even greater factor). This greater freedom resulted in an album that included seven original tunes among the twelve tracks, including the European hit single Long Day's Flight, which was co-written by Weakley, who had returned to the group in time to appear on five songs on the LP.
The lack of a solid hit single on the album, however, led to Hassinger becoming rather heavy-handed with the group in 1968, possibly due to his frustration with the Grateful Dead that led to his resigning as that band's producer midway through their second LP, Anthem Of The Sun. The Electric Prunes did manage to record one final single, Lowe and Tulin's Everybody Knows You're Not In Love, before Hassinger came up with the idea of the band recording a concept album written by David Axelrod called Mass In F Minor. The band played on three tracks on the Mass, but Hassinger, frustrated by the members' slow pace in learning the material, brought in a Canadian band called the Collectors to finish the project. Although Lowe, Tulin and Weakley did end up making contributions to every track on the album, it had become clear that the Electric Prunes were no longer in control of their own destiny, and after a disastrous attempt to perform the Mass with a full orchestra at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, both Lowe and Weakley left the group. Tulin and Williams stayed around long enough to complete the band's current tour with a patched together lineup that included Kenny Loggins and Jeremy Stuart (of Chad & Jeremy), but by mid-1968 all the original Electric Prunes members were gone.
Two more LPs and an assortment of singles later, the group Hassinger was still calling the Electric Prunes officially disbanded in 1970. Hardly anyone noticed. That wasn't the end of the story, however. Thanks in part to Lenny Kaye, who included I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) on the 1972 Nuggets compilation album that collected some of the best tracks of the psychedelic era on a double LP, interest in the music of the original Electric Prunes began to take root, eventually leading to both of the original band's albums being reissued in Europe in the 1980s. In the late 1990s rumors began circulating that the original group had begun to work on new material. Then, in Y2K, both original albums were issued in the US on compact disc, with the two non-album singles included as bonus tracks (it was these reissues, in fact, that helped convince me that creating a show called Stuck in the Psychedelic Era was a viable idea).
Finally, in 2001, the album Artifact appeared on the band's own PruneTwang label in the US, with a truncated version appearing in the UK on vinyl (on the Heartbeat label) the following year. The core members of the band, James Lowe, Mark Tulin and Ken Williams, were joined by guitarist Mark Moulin, keyboardist Cameron Lowe and drummer Joe Dooley for the album, supplemented by guest appearances from former Moby Grape guitarist Peter Lewis, dotarist Jim Gripps, drummer Mike Vasquez and a special guest appearance by original drummer Michael "Quint" Weakley. The presence of such original Lowe/Tulin tunes as Devil's Candy shows that the band was by no means going the nostalgia route; rather, they referred to Artifact as "the real third album that we never got to make." They have since released three more studio albums, as well as one live album (recorded in 2007) and a kind of hybrid CD called California '66 made to promote a 2009 East Coast tour that never happened, that would have featured the Electric Prunes, Sky Saxon (whose death prompted the tour's cancellation) and Arthur Lee's 21st century version of Love.
Title: We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (US version)
Source: 45 RPM single
In 1965 producer Mickey Most put out a call to Don Kirschner's Brill building songwriters for material that could be recorded by the Animals. He ended up selecting three songs, all of which are among the Animals' most popular singles. Possibly the best-known of the three is a song written by the husband and wife team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil called We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The song (the first Animals recording to featuring Dave Rowberry, who had replaced founder Alan Price on organ) starts off with what is probably Chas Chandler's best known bass line, slowly adding drums, vocals, guitar and finally keyboards on its way to an explosive chorus. The song was not originally intended for the Animals, however; it was written for the Righteous Brothers as a follow up to (You've Got That) Lovin' Feelin', which Mann and Weil had also provided for the duo. Mann, however, decided to record the song himself, but the Animals managed to get their version out first, taking it to the top 20 in the US and the top 5 in the UK. As the Vietnam war escalated, We Gotta Get Out Of This Place became a sort of underground anthem for US servicemen stationed in South Vietnam, and has been associated with that war ever since. Incidentally, there were actually two versions of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place recorded during the same recording session, with an alternate take accidentally being sent to M-G-M and subsequently being released as the US version of the single. This version (which some collectors and fans maintain has a stronger vocal track) appeared on the US-only LP Animal Tracks in the fall of 1965 as well as the original M-G-M pressings of the 1966 album Best Of The Animals. The original UK version, on the other hand, did not appear on any albums, as was common for British singles in the 1960s. By the 1980s record mogul Allen Klein had control of the original Animals' entire catalog, and decreed that all CD reissues of the song would use the original British version of the song, including the updated (and expanded) CD version of The Best Of The Animals. This expanded version of the album first appeared on the ABKCO label in 1973, but with the American, rather than the British, version of We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. With all this in mind, I looked for, and finally found, a copy of the original US single.
Source: British import LP: Cream (reissue of LP: Fresh Cream with bonus tracks)(song originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Willie Dixon
Label: Polydor (original US label: Atco)
When the album Fresh Cream was released by Atco in the US it was missing one track that was on the original UK version of the album: the original studio version of Willie Dixon's Spoonful. Instead the song was released on two sides of a single in 1967, with 90 seconds removed from the song between parts one and two. The single never charted and now is somewhat difficult to find a copy of (not that anybody would want to). A live version of Spoonful was included on the LP Wheels of Fire, but it wasn't until the 1969 compilation album Best Of Cream that the uncut studio version was finally released in the US.
Title: Strange Days
Source: LP: Strange Days
Writer(s): The Doors
One of the first rock albums to not picture the band members on the front cover was the Doors' second LP, Strange Days. Instead, the cover featured several circus performers doing various tricks on a city street, with the band's logo appearing on a poster on the wall of a building. The album itself contains some of the Doors' most memorable tracks, including the title song, which also appears on their greatest hits album despite never being released as a single.
Artist: Tiny Tim
Title: Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me
Source: 45 RPM single
I don't even know where to begin with this one.
Artist: Merrell Fankhauser And (His Trusty) HMS Bounty
Title: A Visit With Ayshia
Source: CD: Things
Writer(s): Merrell Fankhauser
Label: Sundazed (original label: Shamley)
Merrill Fankhauser first started playing guitar shortly after moving to San Luis Obispo, California in his teens. By 1960 he had become proficient enough to join a local band, the Impacts, as lead guitarist. In 1962 the Impacts got what they thought was a lucky break, but that turned out to be a classic example of people in the music business taking advantage of young, naive musicians. Following a successful gig at a place called the Rose Garden Ballroom they were approached by a guy named Norman Knowles, who played saxophone with a band called the Revels. Knowles convinced the Impacts to record an album's worth of material at Tony Hilder at Hilder's backyard studio in the Hollywood area. The two of them then took the recordings to Bob Keene, who issued them on his own Del-Fi label. It is not known how much money Knowles and Hilder made on the deal, but the Impacts never saw a penny of it, having signed a contract giving the band the grand total of one US dollar. Not long after the incident Fankhauser left the Impacts to move to Lancaster, Calfornia, where he formed a new band, the Exiles, in 1964. The Exiles had some regional success with a song called Can't We Get Along before breaking up, with Fankhauser returning to the coast to form his own band, Merrell and the Xiles. This band had a minor hit with a song called Tomorrow's Girl in 1967, leading to an album issued under the name Fapardokly (a mashup of band members' Fankhauser, Parrish, Dodd and Lee's last names). Fankhauser and Dodd then formed another band called Merrell Fankhauser And (His Trusty) HMS Bounty, which landed a contract with Uni Records (the label that would became MCA), issuing a self-titled album in 1968. This album was even more psychedelic than Fapardokly, as can be heard on A Visit With Ayshia. Fankhauser has been involved with several other projects since then, including a band called Mu in the early 1970s and, more recently the Fankhauser Cassidy band with drummer Ed Cassidy from Spirit. His latest project is an MP3 album called Signals From Malibu, released in 2015.
Title: Girl In Your Eye
Source: CD: Spirit
Writer(s): Jay Ferguson
Spirit was born in 1965 when drummer Ed Cassidy left the Rising Sons after breaking his arm and settled down with his new wife, who had a teenaged son named Randy. It wasn't long before Ed and Randy (who played guitar) formed a new band called the Red Roosters. The group lasted until the spring of 1966, when the family moved to New York for a few months, and Randy met an up and coming guitarist named James Marshall Hendrix. Hendrix was impressed with the teenaged Cassidy (whom he nicknamed Randy California) and invited him to become a member of his band, Jimmy James And The Blue Flames, that was performing regularly in Greenwich Village that summer. After being denied permission to accompany Hendrix to London that fall, Randy returned with his family to California, where he soon ran into two of his Red Roosters bandmates, singer Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes. The three of them decided to form a new band with Ed Cassidy and keyboardist John Locke. Both Cassidy and Locke had played in jazz bands, and the new band, Spirit, incorporated both rock and jazz elements into their sound. Most of the songs of the band's 1968 debut album were written by Ferguson, who tended to favor a softer sound on tracks like Girl In Your Eye. On later albums Randy California would take a greater share in the songwriting, eventually becoming the de facto leader of Spirit following the departure of Ferguson and Andes to form Jo Jo Gunne.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Caress Me Baby
Source: Mono CD: Projections
Writer: Jimmy Reed
Label: Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
After deliberately truncating their extended jams for their first LP, Live At The Cafe Au-Go-Go, the Blues Project recorded a second album that was a much more accurate representation of what the band was all about. Mixed in with the group's original material was this outstanding cover of Caress Me Baby, an old Jimmy Reed tune sung by lead guitarist and Blues Project founder Danny Kalb that runs over seven minutes in length. Andy Kuhlberg's memorable walking bass line would be lifted a few year later by Blood, Sweat and Tears bassist Jim Fielder for the track Blues, Part II.
Artist: First Edition
Title: Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source: LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Mickey Newbury
Label: Rhino (original label: Reprise)
In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic folk-rock to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.
Artist: Quicksilver Messenger Service
Source: CD: Quicksilver Messenger Service (originally released on LP: Revolution soundtrack)
Writer(s): Buffy Sainte-Marie
Label: Rock Beat (original label: United Artists)
Buffy St. Marie's Codine was a popular favorite among the club crowd in mid-60s California. In 1967, L.A.'s Leaves included it on their second LP. Around the same time, up the coast in San Francisco, the Charlatans selected it to be their own debut single. The suits at Kama-Sutra Records, however, balked at the idea of releasing a "drug song" as a single (despite the song's decidedly anti-drug stance), and instead released a cover of the Coasters' The Shadow Knows. The novelty-flavored record bombed so bad that the label decided not to release any more Charlatans tracks, thus leaving their version of Codine gathering dust in the vaults until the mid 1990s. Meanwhile, back in 1968, Quicksilver Messenger Service was still without a record contract, despite being known as one of the "big three" San Francisco bands (the others being Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead). The producers of the quasi-documentary film Revolution took advantage of the situation, using footage of Quicksilver performing Codine in the film. With the film itself in post-production, the producers commissioned the band to record a studio version of Codine for inclusion on the soundtrack album.