Sunday, November 20, 2022

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2247 (starts 11/21/22)

    This week we have an Advanced Psych set made up entirely of tracks never played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before, as well as artists' sets from the Beatles and the Monkees. Also on tap: multiple sets from 1966 and 1968 and a couple regressions through the years.

Artist:     Troggs
Title:     Wild Thing
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Chip Taylor
Label:     Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:     1966
    I have a DVD copy of a music video (although back then they were called promotional films) for the Troggs' Wild Thing in which the members of the band are walking through what looks like a train station while being mobbed by girls at every turn. Every time I watch it I imagine singer Reg Presley saying giggity-giggity as he bobs his head.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Pet Sounds
Source:    CD: Pet Sounds
Writer(s):    Brian Wilson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Originally titled Run James Run, Brian Wilson's instrumental Pet Sounds was intended for a James Bond film, but instead ended up as the title track of the Beach Boys' most celebrated album (although it actually appears close to the end of the album itself). The track somewhat resembles a 60s update of the Tiki room recordings made by Martin Denny in the 1950s, with heavily reverberated bongos and guiro featured prominently over a latin beat. Although credited to the Beach Boys, only Brian Wilson appears on the track (on piano), with the remainder of the instruments played by various Los Angeles studio musicians collectively known as the Wrecking Crew.

Artist:    Love
Title:    She Comes In Colors
Source:    CD: Da Capo (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Arthur Lee's transition from angry punk (on songs like 7&7 Is and My Little Red Book) to a softer, more introspective kind of singer/songwriter was evident on Love's second LP, Da Capo. Although there were still some hard rockers, such as Stephanie Knows Who, the album also includes songs like She Comes In Colors, which was released ahead of the album as the band's third single in late 1966. The song was one of Lee's first to inspire critics to draw comparisons between Lee's vocal style and that of Johnny Mathis. Lee may indeed have been, as many assert, a musical genius, but his reference to "England town" shows his knowledge of geography to be somewhat lacking.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Think
Source:    CD: Aftermath
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original US label: London)
Year:    1966
    The 1966 album Aftermath marked a turning point for the Rolling Stones, as it was the first Stones album to be entirely made up of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Although, as with all the early Stones releases, there were differences between the US and UK versions of the album, both releases included Think, a song that is fairly representative of the mid-60s Rolling Stones sound.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    P.O. Box 9847
Source:    LP: The Birds, The Bees, And The Monkees
Writer:    Boyce/Hart
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1968
    After four consecutive number one albums, the Monkees streak was broken in 1968 with the Birds, The Bees, And The Monkees, which still managed to peak in the number three spot. The album included two hit singles, Daydream Believer and Valleri, as well as several tracks that had appeared on the Monkees TV show, which had ceased production (at the request of the Monkees themselves) at the end of its second season. One of the tunes on that album came from the same writing team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart that had provided the bulk of the group's material for their first two albums, including their first hit, Last Train To Clarksville (in fact, as originally conceived, the Monkees would have had Boyce and Hart as its Lennon and McCartney analogs). As it turns out, P.O. Box 9847 is one of the Monkee's most psychedelic songs.
Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Porpoise Song
Source:    CD: The Monkees Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Head soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:    1968
    In 1968 the Monkees, trying desperately to shed a teeny-bopper image, enlisted Jack Nicholson to co-write a feature film that was a 180-degree departure from their recently-cancelled TV show. This made sense, since the original fans of the show were by then already outgrowing the group. Unfortunately, by 1968 the Monkees brand was irrevocably tainted by the fact that the Monkees had not been allowed to play their own instruments on their first two albums. The movie Head itself was the type of film that was best suited to being shown in theaters that specialized in "art" films, but that audience was among the most hostile to the Monkees and the movie bombed. It is now considered a cult classic.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Zor And Zam
Source:    LP: The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees
Writer(s):    B. Chadwick/J. Chadwick
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1968
    By mid-1968 the Monkees were already beginning to fade, although they still had enough star power that their fifth LP, The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees, made it to the #3 spot on the Billboard album charts. Still, it was the first album by the band not to go all the way to the top of the charts, being released shortly after the cancellation of the Monkees TV show. Most of the songs on The Birds, The Bees And The Monkees were produced by the individual band members (except PeterTork, who had almost nothing to do with the making of the album itself and would leave the band by the end of the year). Among the Mickey Dolenz tracks is a strange little tune called Zor And Zam, about two kings who prepare to wage a war, only to find a lack of participants among their own people. The song, written by Bill and John Chadwick, was featured in the final episode of the Monkees TV series.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    We've Got A Groovey Thing Goin'
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM B side and included on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    In late 1965, a New York based Columbia Records staff producer, Tom Wilson, decided to perform an experiment. He had just put the finishing touches on Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited album, and was high on the potential of integrating electric rock instruments into folk music. Around this same time, The Sound Of Silence, a song by the folk duo Simon & Garfunkel that Wilson had produced the previous year, had begun to get airplay on radio stations in Boston and throughout the state of Florida. Without the knowledge of the duo (who had by then split up) Wilson remixed the song, adding electric guitar, bass and drums, essentially creating a whole new version of the song and, for that matter, a whole new genre: folk-rock. The new electric version of The Sound of Silence, backed by We've Got a Groovey Thing Goin', was released in September of 1965, and it soon became obvious that it was going to be a hit. The only problem was that by the time all this happened, Simon and Garfunkel had gone their separate ways, briefly reuniting in April of 1965 to record We've Got a Groovey Thing Going, but not releasing it at the time. Simon had relocated to London and recorded a UK-only LP called the Paul Simon Songbook in June of 1965, releasing it two months later. By mid-November The Sound Of Silence was the #1 song in Boston, and had entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Simon returned to the states, got back together with Art Garfunkel and, on December 13, 1965 began recording tracks for a new album. On January 1, 1966 The Sound Of Silence hit the #1 spot on the Hot 100. Two weeks later the LP Sounds Of Silence, which included a new stereo mix of We've Got A Groovey Thing Going made from the original 4-track master tape, was released. By the way, this song is the only instance I know of of the word "groovy" being spelled "groovey".

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Psychedelic Trip
Source:    Mono CD: No Way Out (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Loomis/Flores/Tolby/Aguilar/Andrijasevich
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1994
    Psychedelic Trip is essentially an early instrumental version of what would eventually become the title track for the No Way Out album. Although Psychedelic Trip is credited to the entire band, producer/manager Ed Cobb (the Ed Wood of psychedelic music) took sole credit for the song No Way Out.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Happen To Love You
Source:    CD: Underground
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Arguably the most commercial-sounding cut on the second Electric Prunes album, Underground, I Happen To Love You was inexplicably passed over as a potential single in favor of the bizarre Dr. Do-Good, which did nothing on the charts, and did more harm than good to the band's reputation. Written by the highly successful songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, I Happen To Love You may not have fit the psychedelic image that the band's promotional team was looking to push, but probably would have gotten a decent amount of airplay on top 40 radio.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     In My Life
Source:     CD: Rubber Soul
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Parlophone
Year:     1965
    Rubber Soul was the first Beatles album to be made up entirely of songs written by the band members themselves, with most of them penned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Lennon's contributions in particular were starting to move away from the typical "young love" songs the band had become famous for. One of the best examples is In My Life, which is a nostalgic look back at Lennon's own past (although put in such a way that it could be universally applied). Despite never being released as a single, In My Life remains one of the most popular songs in the Beatles catalog.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Flying
Source:    CD: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starr
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1967
    1967 was an odd year for the Beatles. They started it with one of their most successful double-sided singles, Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, and followed it up with the iconic Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. From there, they embarked on a new film project. Unlike their previous movies, the Magical Mystery Tour was not made to be shown in theaters; rather, the film was aired as a television special shown exclusively in the UK. The airing of the film, in December of 1967, coincided with the release (again only in the UK and Europe) of a two-disc extended play 45 RPM set featuring the six songs from the special. As EPs were at that time considered a non-starter in the US, Capitol Records decided to release Magical Mystery Tour as a full-length album instead, with the songs from the telefilm on one side of the LP and all of the single sides they had released that year on the other. Among the songs from the film itself is Flying, an instrumental track that, unusually, was credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Girl
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    Some people think Girl is one of those John Lennon drug songs. I see it as one of those John Lennon observing what's really going on beneath the civilized veneer of western society songs myself. Your choice.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Why Did You Hurt Me
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    Dodd/Valentine
Label:    Tower
Year:    1966
    Why Did You Hurt Me is a bit of a musical oddity. The song, which was released B side of their second single, Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White, starts off as a growling three-chord bit of classic garage rock, but then goes into a bridge that sounds more like flower pop, with flowing melodic harmonies. This leads into a short transitional section that has little in common with what had come before and finally (somewhat awkwardly) segues back into the three chord main section to finish the song. The important thing, however, is that the piece was written by band members Dick Dodd and Tony Valentine, thus generating royalties for the two (royalties on singles were divided equally among the songwriters on both sides of a record, regardless of which song what actually a hit).

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    And I Like It
Source:    LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer:    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1966
    Jorma Kaukonen was giving guitar lessons when he was approached by Marty Balin about joining a new band that Balin was forming. Kaukonen said yes and became a founding member of Jefferson Airplane. The two seldom collaborated on songwriting, though. One of the few examples of a Balin/Kaukonen composition is And I Like It from the band's first album. The song sounds to me like early Hot Tuna, but with Balin's vocals instead of Kaukonen's.

Artist:    Euphoria
Title:    No Me Tomorrow
Source:    British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lincoln/Watt
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1966
    No Me Tomorrow, the B side of the only single issued on the Mainstream label by the Los Angeles based Euphoria, can best be described as the dark side of folk rock. Most of the song is in a minor key, with the lyrics taking the point of view of someone contemplating suicide. About 3/4 of the way through, though, it becomes a high energy instrumental that sounds like a cross between Dick Dale and Ginger Baker. Euphoria itself was the creation of multi-instrumentalists Wesley Watt and Bill Lincoln, who wrote No Me Tomorrow. At the time Ne Me Tomorrow was recorded, Euphoria also included drummer David Potter (who had been with the group right from the start) and Texans James Harrell (guitar) and Peter Black (bass), both of which had been members of the Houston-based Misfits. Lincoln had already left the group (temporarily it turns out) to get married and move to England. A Euphoria LP appeared in 1969 on the Capitol label that included both Watt and Lincoln, along with several studio musicians.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Happiness Runs
Source:    LP: Barabajagal
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic
Year:    1969
    Starting with his 1967 album A Gift From A Flower To A Garden, Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch devoted much of his time to writing and performing songs aimed specifically at children. Several of these appear on the 1969 album Barabajagal, including Happiness Runs. The sound is sung as a round, with Donovan being joined by Graham Nash, Mike McCartney (as Mike McGear) and Lesley Duncan.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    (Roamin' Thro' The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM B side and on LP: Traffic)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1968
    The second Traffic album saw the band taking in a broader set of influences, including traditional English folk music. (Roamin' Through The Gloamin' With) 40,000 Headmen, originally released as the B side to the Dave Mason tune No Face, No Name, No Number, combines those influences with the Steve Winwood brand of British R&B to create a timeless classic.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    Rhino (original 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:    Primitives
Title:    You Said
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Geoff Tindall
Label:    Rhino (original label: Pye)
Year:    1964
    The Corn Flakes were formed in Oxford, England, but did not get much attention until they changed their name to the highly appropriate Primitives in 1964. Following the name change, the Primitives were able to garner several TV and magazine appearances based on their image alone. As can be heard on their second single, You Said, the band sounded a bit like a cross between the Who and the Rolling Stones. In 1966 the Primitives relocated to Italy, enjoying a much greater degree of chart success than they had been able to drum up in their own country.

Artist:    Squires Of The Subterrain
Title:    Make Love To Me
Source:    CD: Big Boy Treats
Writer(s):    Miller/Zajkowski
Label:    Rocket Racket
Year:    2002
    Once upon a time in the 1960s there was an Englishman named Peter "Big Boy" Miller, who wrote songs that were rejected by British record labels. Flash forward to Rochester, NY, in the year 2002, where multi-instrumentalist Christopher Earl, recording as Squires Of The Subterrain, decided to rework some of Miller's songs and record them for an album called Big Boy Treats. Even better, Miller himself flew to Rochester to produce the album, which includes tunes like Make Love To Me. In addition to Earl, who provides the drums and keyboards as well as vocals, the song features Gregory Townson on acoustic guitar and Todd Bradley on bass.

Artist:    R.E.M.
Title:    Stumble
Source:    12" EP: Chronic Town
Writer(s):    Buck/Berry/Mills/Stipe
Label:    I.R.S.
Year:    1982
    Following the release of the first recording of Radio Free Europe as a single on the independent Hib-Tone label in 1981, R.E.M. returned to Drive-in Studio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to record Chronic Town, a five-song EP to be released on a proposed new label called Dasht Hopes. Before any of that could happen, however, the band signed a deal with I.R.S. Records, who bought out the band's contracts with both Hib-Tone and Dasht Hopes and released Chronic Town on August 24, 1982. The longest track on Chronic Town was Stumble, which helped establish the band's sound. Although the EP itself is long out of print, all five tracks were included on the CD edition of Dead Letter Office, released in 1987.

Artist:    Sand Pebbles
Title:    Silver Comet
Source:    Australian import CD: Ceduna
Writer(s):    Sand Pebbles
Label:    Sensory Projects
Year:    2008
    Neighbours is the longest-running drama series on Australian television, having aired its first episode in March of 1985. It is also the unlikely origin point for Sand Pebbles, a band formed in 2001 by three Neighbours screenwriters. Those three founding members, bassist Christopher Hollow, guitarist Ben Michael and drummer Piet Collins were soon joined by guitarist/vocalist Andrew Tanner. The band's fourth album, Ceduna, also featured guitarist/vocalist Tor Larsen. Perhaps the most overtly psychedelic tune on the album is Silver Comet, which sounds like it could have been written in 1967.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    My Sunday Feeling
Source:    LP: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    For years my only copy of Jethro Tull's first LP, This Was, was a cassette copy I had made myself. In fact, the two sides of the album were actually on two different tapes (don't ask why). When I labelled the tapes I neglected to specify which tape had which side of the album; as a result I was under the impression that My Sunday Feeling was the opening track on the album. It turns out it was actually the first track on side two, but I still tend to think of it as the "first" Jethro Tull song, despite the fact that the band had actually released a single, Sunshine Day, the previous year for a different label.

Artist:    Wildwood
Title:    Plastic People
Source:    Mono CD: A Deadly Dose Of Wild Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    F. Colli
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Magnum)
Year:    1968
    Stockton, California's Wildwood only released two singles, both in 1968. The first of these, Plastic People, takes a somewhat cynical view of the Flower Power movement, which had by 1968 pretty much run its course. Musically the track owes much to Sean Bonniwell's Music Machine.

Artist:    Tangerine Zoo
Title:    Nature's Children
Source:    CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released on LP: Tangerine Zoo)
Writer(s):    Medeiros/Smith
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Many of the acts signed to Bob Shad's Mainstream label are considered by rock historians to be somewhat lacking in one or another categories, such as songwriting, virtuosity or just plain commercial viability. This has resulted in the reputations of the few quality bands appearing on the label to be somewhat unfairly tarnished by association. One of those bands that really deserves a second look is the Tangerine Zoo, from Swansea, Mass., a few miles south of Boston. The band, made up of Tony Taviera (bass), Wayne Gagnon (guitar), Ron Medieros (organ), Bob Benevides (lead vocals) and Donald Smith (drums), recorded two albums for the label, both of which were released in 1968. Tangerine Zoo had actually been approached by no less than two major labels (RCA Victor and Mercury) before deciding to go with Mainstream, the only label to offer them an album contract from the start. Unfortunately internal issues caused the Zoo to close down before they could record a third LP.

Artist:     Blue Cheer
Title:     Out Of Focus
Source:     Dutch import LP: Vincebus Eruptum
Writer:     Dickie Peterson
Label:     Philips
Year:     1968
     With the possible exception of the Grateful Dead (when they were using the Owsley-designed sound system), the loudest band to come out of San Francisco was Blue Cheer. The album Vincebus Eruptum, highlighted by the band's feedback-drenched version of Eddie Cochrane's Summertime Blues, is considered by some to be the first heavy metal album ever recorded. My own favorite track on the album is Out Of Focus, which opens side 2 of the LP and was issued as the B side of Summertime Blues.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    My Mistake
Source:    British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    Alan Wilson
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    Although Robert "The Bear" Hite was the main lead vocalist for Canned Heat, guitarist Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson had his share of the spotlight as well, particularly on songs that he wrote himself, such as My Mistake, from the 1968 album Living The Blues. Similar in sound and structure to his most famous song, Going Up The Country, My Mistake is a worthy companion to that classic.

Artist:    Aardvarks
Title:    Subconscious Train Of Thought
Source:    Mono CD: A Lethal Dose Of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Borman/Daley/Newman/Wee
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Arch)
Year:    1968
    Not much is known about the Aardvarks other than they were reportedly from Florissant, Missouri and that they are generally the first band to show up on any alphabetical list of rock groups. Their only known single was a track called Subconscious Train Of Thought that was released in 1968 on the St. Louis based Arch Records. Interestingly, the record lists Memphis Group guitarist Steve Cropper as co-producer, although this is likely because Arch Records were distributed by Stax Records, who might have wanted one of their own people on the scene.

Artist:    Salt
Title:    Lucifer
Source:    British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Levine/Bellack
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1968
    One of the most bizarre concepts to come out of the psychedelic era was a song called Lucifer (yes, That Lucifer, Prince of Darkness, Ruler of Hell, etc.), done in a style similar to that of the 1910 Fruitgum Company. Yes, that's right. A bubble gum song about the devil. Lucifer was the product of the minds of Joey Levine and Marc Bellack, who had previously collaborated on the Standells' Try It, and would later produce a single called Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me) by a band called Reunion. Also involved with the Lucifer project was co-producer David Lucas, who, along with Bellack, would have fronted a band called The Salt had the single taken off. Luckily for all of us, it didn't.

Artist:    Small Faces
Title:    The Autumn Stone
Source:    British import 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Steve Marriott
Label:    Immediate
Year:    1969 (single mix: 2016)
    The Small Faces went into a recording studio together for the final time on September 11, 1968 to record two sides of a projected, but ultimately unreleased single. The A side, a Steve Marriott tune called The Autumn Stone, ended up being the title track of a double LP released a year later, after the group had officially disbanded. By this time Marriott had already formed Humble Pie (with Peter Frampton) while the remaining members of the Small Faces had regrouped with new members Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, shortening their name to Faces in the process.

Artist:    Harvey Mandel
Title:    Before Six
Source:    LP: Cristo Redentor
Writer(s):    Larry Fraiser
Label:    Philips
Year:    1968
    Harvey Mandel first came to national attention as the guitarist on Stand Back! Here Comes Charlie Musselwhite's South Side Band, one of the first blues albums to be also targeted to rock listeners. One of the standout tracks on the album was Christo Redemptor, which has come to be considered Musselwhite's signature song. Not long after the album was released, Mandel moved to San Francisco, performing regularly at the Matrix club and often jamming with fellow guitarists Elvin Bishop and Jerry Garcia. A chance meeting with local disc jockey Abe "Voco" Kesh led to Mandel's first solo LP, released in 1968. The album, made up entirely of instrumentals like Before Six, led to Mandel being invited to replace Henry Vestine in Canned Heat the following year.

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)
Year:    1968
    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.

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