Sunday, January 1, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2301 (starts 1/2/23) 

    This week it's once again Beatles vs. Stones on a show recorded in June of 2018 but never broadcast before this week. We also have quite a bit of psychedelic blues this time around, including a 20-minute long Canned Heat piece featuring special guests John Mayall and John Fahey. That still leaves lots of room for the usual mixture of A sides, B sides, album tracks and alternate takes as well.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    Monterey
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Twain Shall Meet)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    One of the first appearances of the New Animals on stage was at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The experience so impressed the group that they wrote a song about it. The song was issued both as a single and on the LP The Twain Shall Meet. The single used a mono mix; the LP version, while in stereo, was overlapped at both the beginning and end by adjoining tracks, and was missing the first few seconds of the single version. The version used here was created by splicing the mono intro onto the stereo main portion of the song, fading out at the end a bit early to avoid the overlap from the LP. This process (called making a "cut down") was first done by a company called Drake-Chenault, which supplied tapes to radio stations using the most pristine stereo versions of songs available. Whether M-G-M, which included Monterey on The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals Volume 2, used the Drake-Chenault version or did the cut down itself, the result is the same.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Moonlight Drive
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band.
Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Heroes And Villains (alternate take)
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Smiley Smile/Wild Honey)
Writer(s):    Wilson/Parks
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1995
    The last major Beach Boys hit of the 1960s was Heroes And Villains, released as a follow-up to Good Vibrations in early 1967. The song was intended to be part of the Smile album, but ended up being released as a single in an entirely different form than Brian Wilson originally intended. Eventually the entire Smile project was canned, and a considerably less sophisticated album called Smiley Smile was released in its place. Nearly 30 years later Smiley Smile and its follow-up album, Wild Honey, were released on compact disc as a set.  One of the bonus tracks in that set was this alternate version of Heroes And Villains, which was also included in the box set Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys. Finally, in 2004, Brian Wilson's Smile, featuring all new stereo recordings, was released, with an arrangement of Heroes And Villains that was quite similar to the one heard here.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    See My Friends
Source:    LP: Kinkdom
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    Possibly the most psychedelic recording ever made by the Kinks, See My Friends was originally released as a single in the UK in 1965, making the top 10. Ray Davies has been heard to say the song is about the death of his older sister Rene, who had given him his first guitar for his 13th birthday shortly before her death from an undiagnosed hole in her heart. Like many of the Kinks' UK singles, See My Friends was not released as a single in the US, appearing instead on the US-only LP Kinkdom.

Artist:    Butterfield Blues Band
Title:    Mary Mary
Source:    CD: East-West
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    Poor Mike Nesmith. One of his first compositions to get recorded was Mary Mary, which appeared on the classic 1966 Butterfield Blues Band album East-West. Unfortunately for Mr. Nesmith, his name was inadvertently left out of the credits, leading Butterfield fans to assume it was a band original. Not long after East-West was released Nesmith successfully auditioned for a new TV show about the adventures of an up-and-coming band called the Monkees. The TV show was an instant success, spawning a hit single and album in late 1966, making Nesmith quite famous. When a second Monkees album appeared in January of 1967 with their own version of Mary Mary on it, a lot of people assumed that Nesmith had ripped off the Butterfield Blues Band. In reality, it was the Monkees themselves that were getting screwed, as the album, featuring studio musicians under the supervision of Don Kirschner playing on all the tracks, was released without the knowledge or consent of the band itself.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    1906 (mono single mix)
Source:    CD: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Markley/Morgan
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    A few years back I was in contact with Robert Morgan, brother of the late Ron Morgan, guitarist for the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. I asked him if his brother had ever received royalties from songs like 1906, which was essentially a Morgan composition with spoken lyrics tacked on by bandleader/vocalist Bob Markley. He replied that Ron had received a check for something like eight dollars shortly before his death, but that he had always felt that Markley had paid him fairly for his services. He then went on to say that Ron Morgan was more interested in making his mark than in getting any financial compensation. Attitudes like that are a big part of why I do this show. It's hard to imagine many of today's pop stars making a statement like that and meaning it.

Artist:    Savage Resurrection
Title:    Thing In "E"
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    John Palmer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mercury)
Year:    1968
    Like many areas across the US during the mid-1960s, Contra Costa County, California (say that a few times fast) was home to a thriving local music scene, particularly in the city of Richmond. In 1967 members of several local bands got together to form a sort of garage supergroup, calling themselves Savage Resurrection. The band, consisting of lead vocalist Bill Harper, lead guitarist Randy Hammon, rhythm guitarist John Palmer, bassist Steve Lage and drummer Jeff Myer, was quite popular locally despite the relative youth of its members (Hammon, for instance, was all of 16 years old), and soon signed a management contract with Matthew Katz, who also managed such well-known San Francisco bands as Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape and It's A Beautiful Day. Katz got the band a contract with Mercury records, and their first and only LP came out in 1968. Thing In "E" was the single from that album, which is still considered one of the best examples of psychedelic garage rock ever recorded. Touring soon took its toll, however, and Harper and Lage left the band soon after the album was released. The rest of the band continued with new members for a few months, but by the end of 1968 Savage Resurrection was little more than a footnote to the San Francisco music story.

Artist:    Janis Joplin/Kozmic Blues Band
Title:    Summertime
Source:    EP box set: Move Over
Writer(s):    Hayward/Gershwin/Gershwin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2011
    One of the most popular tracks on the 1968 album Cheap Thrills by Big Brother And The Holding Company was George Gershwin's Summertime, from  Porgy And Bess. After leaving Big Brother, vocalist Janis Joplin continued to perform the song with her new Kozmic Blues Band. The performance heard here was recorded in Amsterdam, Holland, on April 1, 1969.

Artist:    Sugarloaf
Title:    Gold And The Blues
Source:    LP: Sugarloaf
Writer(s):    Corbetta/Pollock/Raymond/Webber
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1970
    There don't seem to be very many tracks highlighting instrumental work in rock radio these days, and virtually none in what passes for top 40. Perhaps that's just a natural consequence of the emergence of a "front" person as the center of attention in the 70s. There was a time, however, that every member of a band played an instrument, and many albums included at least one instrumental track. Gold And The Blues, from the debut Sugarloaf album, is basically a blues jam that shows that Jerry Corbetta was far more than just the guy who sang Green-Eyed Lady and Don't Call Us, We'll Call You; he was quite possibly the best rock organist ever. Bob Webber's guitar work on the tune ain't half bad, either.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Viola Lee Blues
Source:    CD: Birth Of The Dead
Writer(s):    Noah Lewis
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2003
    The Grateful Dead established a reputation over the years for playing long extended jams. One of the earliest was their version of Viola Lee Blues, recorded in 1966 before they had their first album deal with Warner Brothers.
Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Season Of The Witch
Source:    CD: Donovan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Sunshine Superman)
Writer:    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Sony (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966 (stereo version, 1969)
     Season Of The Witch has proved to be one of the most popular and enduring tracks on Donovan's Sunshine Superman album. Due to a contract dispute with Pye Records, the album was not released in the UK until late 1967, and then only as an LP combining tracks from both the Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow albums. Like all tracks from both Sunshine Superman and Mellow Yellow, Season Of The Witch was only available in a mono mix until 1969, when a new stereo mix was created from the original multi-track masters for the singer/songwriter's first greatest hits compilation. Season of the Witch has since been covered by an impressive array of artists, including Al Kooper and Stephen Stills (on the Super Session album) and Vanilla Fudge.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released on LP: The Electric Prunes and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes' biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in November of 1966. The record, initially released without much promotion from their record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation (and the second track on Rhino's first Nuggets LP).

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    King Midas In Reverse
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    One of the last Hollies singles to include original member Graham Nash, King Midas In Reverse combines pop and psychedelia in a purely British way. The problem was that, with the exception of Nash, the Hollies had no desire to embrace psychedelia, and Nash soon found himself banding with Americans David Crosby and Stephen Stills instead.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    It Ain't Me Babe
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    The Turtles started out as a local high school surf band called the Crossfires. In 1965 they were signed to a record label that technically didn't exist yet. That did not deter the people at the label (which would come to be known as White Whale) from convincing the band to change its name and direction. Realizing that surf music was indeed on the way out, the band, now called the Turtles, went into the studio and recorded four songs. One of those was Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. The Byrds had just scored big with their version of Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man and the Turtles took a similar approach with It Ain't Me Babe. The song was a solid hit, going to the #8 spot on the national charts and leading to the first of many Turtles albums on the White Whale label.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Ticket To Ride
Source:    CD: Help!
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    Trying to figure out the Beatles' catalog can be a bit confusing, as Capitol Records, which had the rights to release the band's recordings in the US, had their own ideas about what should be on a Beatles album, which was often at odds with the wishes of the band members themselves. Some US albums, such as Beatles '65, had no British counterpart at all, while others had different track lineups than the original UK versions. Probably the most radically altered of the original LPs was the soundtrack album to the film Help! In the UK, side one of the album contained songs from the film itself, while side two contained a collection of unrelated studio recordings, some of which had been intended for, but not used in, the film. In the US, however, the Help album included incidental orchestral pieces heard throughout the movie interspersed with the songs heard on side one of the UK album. Among the tracks heard on both versions was Ticket To Ride, which was also issued as a single in the US (using one of the songs from side two of the UK Help album as a B side). The tune has gone on to become one of the most recognizable Beatle songs ever recorded.
Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Under My Thumb
Source:    CD: Aftermath
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1966
    With the exception of certain Beatle tracks, pretty much every popular song from the beginning of recorded music through the year 1966 had been released as a single either on 45 or 78 RPM records (and for a while in the 1950s, on both). With Under My Thumb, from the Aftermath album, the Rolling Stones proved that someone besides the fab four could record a classic that was available only as a 33 1/3 RPM LP track. In a sense, then, Aftermath can be considered the very foundation of album rock, as more and groups put their most creative energy into making albums rather than singles in the ensuing years. Thanks, Stones.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Need You
Source:    CD: Help!
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1965
    Conventional thought is that George Harrison's songwriting ability didn't really blossom until 1968, when the song While My Guitar Gently Weeps became a hit with the counter-culture. I say BS. Songs like I Need You, from the soundtrack of the film Help, are every bit as good, if not better, than most of what was being played on the radio in 1965. The problem, of course, is that the Lennon-McCartney compositions coming from the same band overshadowed not only Harrison's material, but just about everything else that was being released that year.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Gomper
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Probably the most overtly psychedelic track ever recorded by the Rolling Stones, Gomper might best be described as a hippy love song with its references to nature, innocence and, of course, pyschedelic substances. Brian Jones makes one of his last significant contributions as a member of the band he founded, playing the dulcimer, as well as tablas, organ, pan flutes and various percussion instruments on the song.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Piggies
Source:    British import LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    Beatle George Harrison had first revealed an anti-establishment side with his song Taxman, released in 1966 on the Revolver album. This particular viewpoint remained dormant until the song Piggies came out on the 1968 double LP The Beatles (aka the White Album). Although the song was intended to be satirical in tone, at least one Californian, Charles Manson, took it seriously enough to justify "whacking" a few "piggies" of his own. It was not pretty.
Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    She's A Rainbow
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    The only song from the Rolling Stones' Their Satanic Majesties Request album to get significant airplay in the US was She's A Rainbow, released as a single in the fall of '67.  Oddly enough it was the single's B side, 2,000 Light Years From Home, that charted in Germany. Another song from the album, In Another Land, had been released in the US a week before the album came out and was marketed as the first Bill Wyman solo song (with a Rolling Stones B side), but only made it to the #87 spot on the Billboard singles chart. This perhaps is a reflection of the uncertainty surrounding the Rolling Stones' role in the world of rock at the time. That uncertainty would soon be dispelled when the band hired a new producer, Jimmy Miller, the following year and released Jumpin' Jack Flash, an undisputed classic that helped define the band for years to come.

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:    Canned Heat
Title:    Parthenogenesis
Source:    British import CD: Living The Blues
Writer(s):    Canned Heat
Label:    BGO (original label: Liberty)
Year:    1968
    It is extremely unlikely that the members of Canned Heat had the literal meaning of the word parthenogenesis (a natural form of asexual reproduction in which growth and development of embryos occur without fertilization by sperm) in mind when they decided to use it as the title for perhaps the most experiment piece in the history of recorded blues. Parthenogenesis (the Canned Heat track) runs nearly 20 minutes and takes up most of side two of their 1968 double LP Living The Blues. It begins with Nebulosity, featuring Al "Blind Owl" Wilson on jaw-harp, accompanied by guest guitarist John Fahey, which eases into Wilson's solo interpretation of Muddy Waters's Rollin' And Tumblin', also on jaw-harp. From there, Parthenogenesis continues with another Wilson solo piece, this one featuring a multi-tracked Owl on four harmonicas and one guitar. Next, it's Robert "The Bear" Hite's turn with a tune called Bear Wires, a tribute to his friend John Mayall, who plays piano on the piece. The next part of Parthogenesis is Snooky Flowers, basically a drum solo from Fito de la Parre, with additional congas provided by Larry "The Mole" Taylor, the band's bassist. Guitarist Henry Vestine then takes center stage with Sunflower Power, which features five multitracked guitars. Wilson returns, this time on chromatic harp with Raga Kafi, which leads into Vestine's Icebag. Parthenogenesis concludes with a reprise of Nebulosity, this time titled Childhood's End. As strange as it may sound, Parthenogenesis is not the longest track on Living The Blues, as the entire third and fourth side of the original album are taken up by a live performance of Refried Boogie that runs 41 minutes total.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Angus Of Aberdeen
Source:    LP: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Weisberg
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    After releasing their first LP in early 1968, Boston's Beacon Street Union relocated to New York to record their follow-up album, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens. Whereas the first album, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, was produced by Tom Wilson and is now considered a classic piece of late 60s psychedelia, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens was produced by Wes Farrell, who would go on to greater success as producer of the Partridge Family. Unlike Wilson, who favored a stripped down approach consistent with the band's live sound, Farrell was a big fan of using strings to enhance his recordings. These can be heard on tracks like Angus Of Aberdeen, which otherwise resembles a Procol Harum kind of song. The "clown" on the album cover, incidentally, was photographer Joel Brodsky's assistant, who also appeared as the juggler on the cover of the second Doors album, Strange Days.

Artist:    Paraphernalia
Title:    Watch Out
Source:    CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Zanniel/Sirio
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: St. George International)
Year:    1968
    Virtually nothing is known about the band called Paraphernalia other than the fact that they released a single called Watch Out on the St. George International label in 1968. The song itself features some killer guitar work from the band that is rumored to be from somewhere in New England.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Born To Be Wild
Source:    CD: Steppenwolf
Writer(s):    Mars Bonfire
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Born To Be Wild's status as a counter-cultural anthem was cemented when it was chosen for the soundtrack of the movie Easy Rider. The popularity of both the song and the movie resulted in Steppenwolf becoming the all-time favorite band of bikers all over the world.

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