Following a week gravedigging for our Halloween show we're back in the groove(s) this week on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, with four artists' sets (two British, two American), four sets from individual years and even a short progression through the years.
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: Shadows Of Knight
Title: Dark Side
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Dark Side, written by guitarist Warren Rogers and singer Jim Sohns, is probably the quintessential Shadows of Knight song. It has all the classic elements of a garage rock song: three chords, a blues beat and lots of attitude. Oh, and the lyrics "I love you baby more than birds love the sky". What more can you ask for?
Artist: Things To Come
Title: 'Til The End
Source: Mono CD: If You're Ready-The Best Of Dunwich Records Volume 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Kennith Ashley
Label: Rhino/Here 'Tis (original label: Dunwich)
Despite spending a considerable amount of time looking for information on the Illinois band called Things To Come (not to be confused with the L.A. band of the same name), I still know absolutely nothing about them. The extensive liner notes accompanying the compilation CD If You're Ready-The Best Of Dunwich Records Volume 2 that contains the song 'Til The End fails to mention them at all. Even the spelling of the songwriter's first name is suspect. So if you know anything at all about these guys, let me know, OK?
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Go To Her
Source: LP: Early Flight
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1974
Nearly every major artist acquires a backlog of unreleased songs over a period of time, usually due to lack of space on their official albums. Eventually many of these tracks get released on compilation albums or (more recently) as bonus tracks on CD versions of the original albums. One of the first of these compilation albums was Jefferson Airplane's Early Flight LP, released in 1974. Of the nine tracks on Early Flight, five were recorded during sessions for the band's first two LPs, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and Surrealistic Pillow. One song originally intended for Surrealistic Pillow was Go To Her, an early Paul Kantner collaboration. At four minutes, the recording was longer than any of the songs that actually appeared on the album, which is probably the reason it didn't make the final cut, as it would have meant that two other songs would have to have been deleted instead.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small (at the time) city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities were then, as now, considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page and had shifted musical gears).
Title: The Trip
Source: Mono CD: Sunshine On The Mountain (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: Sony (original label: Epic)
Donovan had already established a reputation in his native Scotland as the UK's answer to Bob Dylan, but had not had much success in the US, where his records were being released on the relatively poorly distributed Hickory label. That all changed in 1966, however, when he began to move beyond his folk roots and embrace a more electric sound. Unlike Dylan, who basically kept the same style as his acoustic songs, simply adding electic instruments, Donovan took a more holistic approach. The result was a body of music with a much broader range of sounds. The first of these new electric tunes was Sunshine Superman, sometimes cited as the first top 10 psychedelic hit. The B side of Sunshine Superman was a song called The Trip, which managed to be even more psychedelic than it's A side. Both songs soon appeared on Donovan's major US label debut, an album that was not even released in the UK due to a contractual dispute between the singer/songwriter and Pye Records.
Artist: Albert King
Title: Kansas City
Source: LP: Born Under A Bad Sign
Originally written for Little Willie Littlefield in 1952, Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller's Kansas City has been recorded more than 300 times by a wide variety of artists. One of the least known, yet most authentic versions was by Albert King on his 1967 LP Born Under A Bad Sign. In addition to King on lead guitar and vocals, the song features Isaac Hayes on keyboards, along with the entire membership of Booker T. And The MGs and the Memphis Horns.
Artist: Vanilla Fudge
Title: Take Me For A Little While
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Trade Martin
The original single version of Vanilla Fudge's cover of the Holland-Dozier-Holland penned Supremes hit You Keep Me Hangin' On was yet another cover of a tune written by a man but originally sung by female artists. Take Me For A Little While, written by Trade Martin, was first released in 1965, with two versions, one by Evie Sands and the other by Jackie Ross, coming out at about the same time.
Artist: Wild Flowers
Title: More Than Me
Source: Mono CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): The Wildflowers
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Aster)
Phoenix, Arizona, was home to the Wild Flowers, a band that included bassist Michael Bruce, who would go on to become a founding member of Alice Cooper. The Wild Flowers only released a couple of singles on the local Aster label, the second of which was More Than Me, released in 1967.
Title: Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands (US single version)
Source: Mono CD: The Who Sell Out Super Deluxe Edition (box set) (originally released in US as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: Polydor/UMC (original label: Decca)
There are at least three versions of Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hands. The first was a monoraul-only electric version of the song released in the US on September 18, 1967 as the B side to I Can See For Miles. Two months later a second, slightly slower stereo version of the tune appeared under the title Mary-Anne With The Shaky Hand (singular) on The Who Sell Out. This more acoustic version of the song, which has a kind of calypso flavor to it, is the best known of the three, due to the album staying in circulation far longer than the 45. A third version of the song, also recorded in 1967 and featuring Al Kooper on organ, appeared as a bonus track on the 1995 CD release of Sell Out. The liner notes on the CD, however, erroneously state that it is the US single version, when in fact it is an entirely different recording.
Title: Heaven And Hell
Source: Mono LP: Who's Missing (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): John Entwhistle
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
Although by 1970 the Who had successfully transitioned from being mainly a singles-oriented band to being staples of album-oriented radio, the group continued to release singles on a regular basis, many of which included songs that were not available in any other format. As often as not, the B sides of the Who's singles were written by bassist John Alec Entwhistle, who had the reputation of coming up with songs that were just a bit off-kilter (Boris The Spider being a prime example). When the group decided to release a studio version of Eddie Cochrane's Summertime Blues, they included an Entwhistle tune called Heaven And Hell on the flip side of the record. The song soon became a concert staple for the band, but was not issued on LP vinyl until the 1980s, when it appeared on a collection of Who rarities called Who's Missing. The studio recording is currently available only on the Thirty Years Of Maximum R&B boxed set, though there are several live versions of the song still in print.
Title: Tattoo (early mono mix)
Source: Mono CD: The Who Sell Out Super Deluxe Edition (box set)
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Starting in 1966, the Who wrote songs about things no other rock group had even considered writing songs about. Happy Jack, for instance, was about a guy who would hang out on the beach and let the local kids tease (but not faze) him. I'm A Boy was about a guy whose mother insisted on dressing him the same as his sisters. And I'm not even getting into the subject matter of Pictures Of Lily. The Who Sell Out, released in December of 1967, continued this trend with songs like Tattoo, about an adolescent and his brother who go out and get (without their parents' permission) their first tattoos. The version heard here is and early mono mix that is preceded by one of the longer Radio London jingles that was not included on the original Who Sell Out LP.
Title: I Want To Tell You
Source: LP: Revolver
Writer(s): George Harrison
The first pre-recorded reel-to-reel tape I ever bought was the Capitol version of the Beatles' Revolver album, which I picked up about a year after the LP was released. Although my Dad's tape recorder had small built-in speakers, his Koss headphones had far superior sound, which led to me sleeping on the couch in the living room with the headphones on. Hearing songs like I Want To Tell You on factory-recorded reel-to-reel tape through a decent pair of headphones gave me an appreciation for just how well-engineered Revolver was, and also inspired me to (eventually) learn my own way around a recording studio. The song itself, by the way, is one of three George Harrison songs on Revolver; the most on any Beatles album up to that point, and a major reason that, when pressed, I almost always end up citing Revolver as my favorite Beatles LP.
Source: CD: The Beatles
Label: Parlophone (original label: Apple)
One of the great ironies of rock history was that the album entitled simply The Beatles was the one that had the fewest songs with all four of the band members playing on them. By 1968 the Beatles were experiencing internal conflicts, and nearly all of John Lennon and Paul McCartney's songs were played by just the two of them, while George Harrison's songs (and Ringo Starr's single contribution as a songwriter) featured an array of some of the UK's top musicians (including guitarist Eric Clapton). The opening track of side three of the album is typical of this approach, as Birthday is essentially a McCartney solo piece.
Title: For No One
Source: LP: Revolver
With the predominance of the keyboards and french horn (played by Alan Civil) in the mix, For No One (essentially a Paul McCartney solo number) shows just how far the Beatles had moved away from their original image as a "guitar band" by the time they recorded the Revolver album in 1966. John Lennon considered For No One to be one of Paul's best songs.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Source: LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme
Writer(s): Paul Simon
Although it was the third Simon And Garfunkel album, 1966s' Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme was actually the first to contain songs written following the duo's shift from pure folk music to a more electric sound. The album was more adventurous overall, containing such sonic experiments as Silent Night juxtaposed with the 7 O'Clock News and Patterns, which opens with a guitar string being detuned (or maybe tuned) and features an African beat throughout. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary And Thyme is now generally regarded as Simon's first true classic album.
Artist: First Edition
Title: Shadow In The Corner Of Your Mind
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Mike Settle
The First Edition was formed by Mike Settle and Kenny Rogers, both members of the New Christy Minstrels, a group that made more appearances on TV variety shows than on the record charts (imagine a professional version of a high school madrigal choir). The two wanted to get into something a little more hip than watered-down choral versions of Simon and Garfunkel songs and the like, and recorded an album that included folk-rock, country-rock and even the full-blown psychedelia of Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), which ended up being their first single. For the B side of that single one of Settle's songs, Shadow In The Corner Of Your Mind, was selected. The song, a decent piece of folk-rock with reasonably intelligent lyrics, might have been hit record material itself if it weren't for the fact that by 1968 folk-rock had pretty much run its course.
Artist: Bob Seger System
Title: Death Row
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer: Bob Seger
I like to play Bob Seger's Death Row, written from the perspective of a convicted murderer waiting to be executed, for fans of the Silver Bullet Band who think that Turn the Page is about as intense as it gets. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled across this rare single at a radio station I used to work for. Even better, the station had no desire to keep the record, since the A side, the equally intense anti-war song 2+2=?, never charted. Their loss.
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Greg Roslie
Label: Rhino (original label: Etiquette)
In 1965 Seattle record label Etiquette decided to re-release the first Sonics single, The Witch, this time with a different B side. That B side, Psycho, proved so popular that eventually it was itself reissued, this time as an A side. The song itself is a solid example of what made the Sonics one of the most revered bands in indy rock history.
Title: End Of The Night
Source: LP: Weird Scenes Inside The Goldmine (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer: The Doors
Sometimes you run across a song that seems to encapsulate what a band is all about. End Of The Night, from the first Doors album, is one of those songs. Apparently the band members felt the same way, as it was included on the anthology album Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine, despite never being released as a single.
Title: Twentieth Century Fox
Source: Mono LP: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
There's no getting around it: there are no bad songs on the first two Doors albums. Pick one at random, say Twentieth Century Fox. Great song. They all are.
Title: Five To One
Source: LP: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun)
Writer(s): The Doors
Despite the fact that it was the Doors' only album to hit the top of the charts, Waiting For The Sun was actually a disappointment for many of the band's fans, who felt that the material lacked the edginess of the first two Doors LPs. One notable exception was the album's closing track, Five To One, which features one of Jim Morrison's most famous lines: "No one here gets out alive".
Source: British import CD: Arthur or The Decline & Fall Of The British Empire
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Label: Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
When Rosy Davies and her husband Arthur Anning left their native England to relocate to Australia in 1964 her brother Ray was devastated. Being a songwriter and leader of the Kinks, he responded by writing a song asking her to come back home. When that didn't work, he wrote an entire album called Arthur. Although the LP was subtitled The Decline & Fall Of The British Empire it was really an expression of his own feelings of alienation brought to the surface by his sister's departure five years before.
Artist: Bubble Puppy
Title: Hurry Sundown (remix)
Source: Mono British import CD: A Gathering Of Promises (mono remix originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Charly (original label: International Artists)
The Bubble Puppy came into existence in 1967, when two former members of the legendary Corpus Christie,Texas garage band the Bad Seeds, guitarist Rod Prince and keyboardist/bassist Roy Cox, relocated to San Antonio, recruiting guitarist Todd Potter and drummer Craig Root to form the new band. Success came quickly in the form of the band's very first gig, opening for the Who at the San Antonio Colosseum. After David Fore replaced Root in the band, the group relocated to Austin, where they got a steady gig at the Vulcan Gas Company. By 1968 the Bubble Puppy was traveling all over Texas for gigs, and late in the year got a contract with Houston-based International Artists, a label that had already gained notoriety by signing the 13th Floor Elevators and Red Crayola. After releasing a surprise top 40 hit, Hot Smoke And Sassafras in December of 1968, the band got to work on a full album, A Gathering Of Promises. International Artists failed to get the album, which was full of fine tunes like Hurry Sundown, out quickly enough to capitilize of the popularity of Hot Smoke And Sassafras, and further hurt the band's chance of success by refusing to grant licensing rights on the single to Apple Records for European release. By 1970 the band and the label had parted company, with the Bubble Puppy relocating to Los Angeles and changing their name to Demian.
Artist: Frank Zappa
Title: Peaches En Regalia
Source: CD: Strictly Commercial (originally released on LP: Hot Rats)
Writer(s): Frank Zappa
Label: Ryko (original label: Bizarre/Reprise)
Somewhere, lost among a huge pile of promotional CDs I swiped from various radio stations, is a 3" CD containing Frank Zappa's Peaches En Regalia. It plays fine on spindle-type CD players. Unfortunately, most CD players have 5" wide drawers, which is why I've allowed it to disappear into the pile. Now, thanks to a listener who sent in a copy of the out-of-print Strictly Commercial, I have a copy of one of Zappa's finest instrumental pieces that I can actually play on the radio. Yay!
Artist: Hour Glass
Source: Import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released on LP: Hour Glass)
Writer(s): Edgar Allen Poe, arr. Peter Alin
Label: Zonophone (UK) (original US label: Liberty)
On the avant-garde side we have the most experimental (and most psychedelic) track by a band known mostly as the band Duane and Gregg Allman were in before they formed the Allman Brother Band. The Hour Glass, by most accounts, was a decent jam band when they played live. Their record producers, however, kept trying to shoehorn them into a blue-eyed soul mold, mainly because Gregg Allman's vocals sounded black to them. Only on a few tracks on their second LP did they show any of their improvisational talents. Bells, on the other hand, a spoken adaptation of an Edgar Allen Poe poem set against a musical background, was a true departure for the group, both from their studio sound and their live performances. The track appeared on the group's 1967 debut LP.
Source: CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s): John Kay
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
A close listen to the first Steppenwolf album reveals a band still looking for its signature sound. As a result, the album includes songs from a greater variety of genres than on later efforts. Among those is the slow love ballad, as represented by John Kay's Desperation.
Title: Magic Carpet Ride
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf The Second)
Label: Priority (original label: Dunhill)
Steppenwolf's second top 10 single was Magic Carpet Ride, a song that combines feedback, prominent organ work by Goldy McJohn and an updated Bo Diddly beat with psychedelic lyrics. Along with Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride (co-written by vocalist John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve) has become one of the defining songs of both Steppenwolf and the late 60s.
Title: Everybody's Next One
Source: CD: Steppenwolf
Label: MCA (original label: Dunhill)
We all knew someone in high school who made no distinction between making love and having sex. We also knew people who would take advantage of that person, usually bragging about it to their friends afterward. Thus was the stage set for the B side of Steppenwolf's 1968 hit single Born To Be Wild. Everybody's Next One, written by Steppenwolf's lead vocalist, John Kay and producer Gabriel Mekler, originally appeared on the band's debut LP.
Title: Elijah (alternate take)
Source: CD: Spirit
Writer: John Locke
Since the mid-1960s many bands have had one long piece that they play in concert that is specifically designed to allow individual band members to strut their stuff. In a few cases, such as Iron Butterfly's In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida or Lynnard Skynnard's Freebird, it becomes their best-known song. In most cases, though, a studio version of the piece gets put on an early album and never gets heard on the radio. Such is the case with Spirit's show-stopper Elijah, which was reportedly never played the same way twice (in fact, this alternate take is evidence of that). Elijah, written by keyboardist John Locke, starts with a hard-rockin' main theme that is followed by a jazzier second theme that showcases one of the lead instruments (guitar, keyboards). The piece then comes to a dead stop while one of the members has a solo section of their own devising. This is followed by the main theme, repeating several times until every member has had their own solo section. The piece ends with a return to the main theme followed by a classic power rock ending.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2013
Although the Jimi Hendrix Experience did not officially disband until 1969, Hendrix himself was spending more and more time working with musicians outside the band as early as mid-1968. The Electric Ladyland album itself features guest appearances by the likes of Steve Winwood, Buddy Miles and Chris Wood, among others, and for years there have been even more recordings by non-Experience members rumored to exist. Among those legendary tracks is Somewhere, a piece that features Miles on drums, and, unusually, Stephen Stills on bass. In addition to a special 45 RPM single release, Somewhere is available on the 2013 album People, Hell and Angels. According to engineer Eddie Kramer, this was the final collection of unreleased studio tracks to be issued by the Hendrix family estate. Turns out he was wrong, as another collection, Both Sides Of The Sky, was released in 2018.