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.
Title: Sunshine Superman
Source: CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
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.
Title: Along Comes Mary
Source: LP: And Then...Along Comes The Association
Writer: Tandyn Almer
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
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.
Title: Softly To Me
Source: Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer: Bryan MacLean
Label: Raven (original label: Elektra)
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
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: Mercury)
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
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
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.
Title: Sunshine Of Your Love
Source: LP: Disraeli Gears (picture disc, if anyone cares)
Label: RSO (original label: Atco)
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."
Title: My Back Pages
Source: CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
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)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
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.
Title: Revolution 1
Source: LP: The Beatles
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.
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)
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
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."
Title: Nature's Way
Source: CD: The Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Twelve Dreams Of Dr. Sardonicus)
Writer: Randy California
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.
Title: I Need You
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ray Davies
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.
Title: First Five Seconds
Source: CD: Genius Killer
Writer(s): Adam Cohen
Label: Mommyhead Music
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
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
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
Source: CD: déjà vu
Writer(s): Neil Young
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
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
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.
Title: It Ain't Me Babe
Source: Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer: Bob Dylan
Label: White Whale
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.
Title: Find The Hidden Door
Source: British Import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released in UK on LP: Before The Dream Faded)
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
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
Source: CD: American Woman
Label: Buddha/BMG (original label: RCA Victor)
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.
Title: Sweet Creek's Suite/Outwear The Hills
Source: LP: Sea Train
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.