This week's show has a bit of everything; an artists' set featuring a worldwide smash hit and a pair of B sides, an entire segment of tunes from 1967, several songs that were hits in some places and unknown in others, and even a soulful rendition of a Beatles tune that features a sideman who would soon become a major star in his own right. Plus, of course, plenty of album tracks and obscurities to balance it all out, starting with the opening track of the first Mothers Of Invention album.
Artist: Mothers of Invention
Title: Hungry Freaks, Daddy
Source: CD: Freak Out
Writer: Frank Zappa
Label: Ryko (original label: Verve)
Hungry Freaks, Daddy is the opening track on the first Mothers Of Invention album, Freak Out! This alone would make the track historically significant, but the truth of the matter is that Hungry Freaks, Daddy is an excellent song in its own right. Unlike most socially aware songs up to that point in time, Hungry Freaks, Daddy has a decidedly satirical edge that would become a trademark of Frank Zappa's songwriting for years to come.
Title: No Time
Source: CD: Headquarters
Writer(s): Hank Cicalo
Label: Rhino (original label: Colgems)
No Time is basically a Little Richard styled rock 'n' roll studio jam by the Monkees, with Micky Dolenz improvising on the lyrics. The band, who played their own instruments on the recording, decided to credit the song to recording engineer Hank Cicalo, in appreciation for the hard work he was putting in as de facto producer of their Headquarters album. This actually got Cicalo in trouble with the brass at RCA, who had strict rules about engineers soliciting songs to be recorded. On the other hand, the royalties from the song helped him buy a house.
Title: Hello, I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Jim Morrison
I have to admit, when I first heard the Doors' Hello, I Love You I hated it, considering it only a half step away from the bubble gum hits like 1,2,3 Red Light and Chewy Chewy that were dominating the top 40 charts in 1968. It turns out that the song was originally recorded in 1965 as a demo by Rick And The Ravens (basically a Doors predecessor) using the title Hello, I Love You (Won't You Tell Me Your Name). The single pressing of the song is notable for being one of the first rock songs to be released as a stereo 45 RPM record. The song went to the top of the charts in the US and Canada and became the first Doors song to break into the British top 20 as well.
Artist: Wilson Pickett
Title: Hey Jude
Source: LP: Duane Allman-An Anthology (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Capricorn (original label: Atlantic)
When Rick Hall, owner/operator of Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, got the opportunity to record Wilson Pickett, he went out of his way to get the best talent available for the session. Among those he picked was a young guitarist named Duane Allman. At the session itself, when Pickett was trying to decide what to record, Allman suggested they break into what was then the #1 song on the charts, the Beatles' Hey Jude. Wilson thought it was an absurd suggestion, but after Allman and the others started jamming on the tune Wilson joined in, and the resulting single was a million-seller in its own right. Pickett and Hall were so impressed by Allman's playing that they ended up using him on the entire album. Eric Clapton later called Allman's performance "the greatest guitar solo on a r&b song" he had ever heard.
Title: Deserted Cities Of The Heart
Source: LP: Wheels Of Fire
Label: RSO (original label: Atco)
The most psychedelic of Cream's songs were penned by Jack Bruce and his songwriting partner Pete Brown. One of the best of these was chosen to close out the last studio side of the last Cream album released while the band was still in existence. Deserted Cities Of The Heart is a fitting epitaph to an unforgettable band.
Title: Out Of The Question
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Future
Label: GNP Crescendo
Until 2014, one's chances of hearing, let alone posessing, a copy of the B side of the original pressing of the Seeds' Your Pushing Too Hard was, for most of us, Out Of The Question. A rechannelled stereo version of the song appeared two years later on the third Seeds album, Future, which sold poorly and is almost as hard to find as the original single.
Title: Deadend Street
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Ray Davies
The last major Kinks hit of the 1960s in the US was Sunny Afternoon in the summer of 1966. The November follow-up, Deadend Street, was in much the same style and made the top 5 in the UK, but did not achieve the same kind of success in the US, thanks in large part to a performance ban imposed by the American Federation of Musicians. Although the Kinks would get some minor airplay for subsequent singles such as Victoria, the would not have another major US hit until Lola was released in 1970.
Artist: Barry McGuire
Title: Eve of Destruction
Source: CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: P.F. Sloan
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
P.F. Sloan had already established a reputation for writing songs that captured the anger of youth by the time he wrote Eve Of Destruction, which Barry McGuire took into the top 10 in 1965. It would be McGuire's only major hit, and represented folk-rock at the peak of its popularity.
Title: So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star
Source: Mono LP: Younger Than Yesterday
By early 1967 there was a building resentment among musicians and rock press alike concerning the instant (and in many eyes unearned) success of the Monkees. One notable expression of this resentment was the Byrds' So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star, which takes a somewhat sarcastic look at what it takes to succeed in the music business. Unfortunately, much of what they talk about in the song continues to apply today (although the guitar has been somewhat supplanted by the computer as the instrument of choice).
Artist: Spencer Davis Group
Title: I'm A Man
Source: Mono LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: United Artists
The Spencer Davis Group, featuring Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer, while his brother Steve went on to form the band Traffic. Then Blind Faith. Then Traffic again. And then a successful solo career. Meanwhile, the Spencer Davis Group continued on for several years with a series of replacement vocalists, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes with the Winwoods.
Artist: Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Source: CD: Is Spreading/The Great Conspiracy (originally released on LP: The Great Conspiracy)
Writer(s): John Merrill
Label: Collectables (original label: Columbia)
The members of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy were not able to play the way they really wanted to on their two LPs for Columbia Records. Much of the reason for this was because of Columbia itself, which had a history of being against just about everything that made psychedelic rock what it was. Immediately after signing the band, the label assigned Gary Usher, whose background was mainly in vocal surf music, to produce the group. Usher urged the band, who had already built up a sizable following playing Los Angeles clubs, to soften their sound and become more hit oriented. To do this he brought in several studio musicians he had previously worked with, including members of the Wrecking Crew, to fill out the band's sound. At first, it seemed to be a successful strategy, as the band's first single, It's A Happening Thing, sold fairly well in local record stores, but when the next two singles failed to generate any interest the band began to assert its right to play on their own records. As a result, all the instruments on the band's second LP, The Great Conspiracy, were played by members of the Peanut Butter Conspiracy itself, including new member Bill Wolff, who had previously played guitar with the Sound Machine. For the most part however, they were still not able to fully recreate the extended jams that they were known for in their live performances, although a couple of tracks, such as Ecstacy, come pretty close. Written by lead guitarist John Merrill, the piece is a classic psychedelic jam, running over six minutes in length. Around the same time as the album was released, Merrill began losing interest in the group, and did not contribute any songs to the band's final album, For Children Of All Ages, released on the Challenge label in 1969.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine
Source: LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
While not as commercially successful as the Jefferson Airplane or as long-lived as the Grateful Dead (there's an oxymoron for ya), Country Joe and the Fish may well be the most accurate musical representation of what the whole Haight-Ashbury scene was about, which is itself ironic, since the band operated out of Berkeley on the other side of the bay. Of all the tracks on their first album, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine probably got the most airplay on various underground radio stations that were popping up on the FM dial at the time (some of them even legally).
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: If 6 Was 9
Source: CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Before 1967 stereo was little more than an excuse to charge a dollar more for an LP. That all changed in a hurry, as artists such as Jimi Hendrix began to explore the possibilities of the technology, in essence treating stereophonic sound as a multi-dimensional sonic palette. The result can be heard on songs such as If 6 Were 9 from the Axis: Bold As Love album, which is best listened to at high volume, preferably with headphones on.
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Otis Redding
Label: Rhino (original label: Atco)
Sounding a lot like the Rascals, the Vagrants were a popular Long Island band led by singer Peter Sabatino and best remembered for being the group that had guitarist Leslie Weinstein in it. Weinstein would change his last name to West and record a solo album called Mountain before forming the band of the same name. This version of Respect is fairly faithful to the original Otis Redding version. Unfortunately for the Vagrants, Aretha Franklin would release her radically rearranged version of the song just a few weeks after the Vagrants, relegating their version of the tune (and the Vagrants themselves) to footnote status.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Baby Please Don't Go (7" single version)
Source: Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released on LP: The Amboy Dukes and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Joe Williams
Label: Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
The Amboy Dukes were a garage supergroup formed by guitarist Ted Nugent, a Chicago native who had heard that Bob Shad, head of jazz-oriented Mainstream Records, was looking for rock bands to sign to the label. Nugent relocated to Detroit in 1967, where he recruited vocalist John Drake, guitarist Steve Farmer, organist Rick Lober, bassist Bill White and drummer Dave Palmer, all of whom had been members of various local bands. The Dukes' self-titled debut LP was released in November of 1967. In addition to seven original pieces, the album included a handful of cover songs, the best of which was their rocked out version of the old Joe Williams tune Baby Please Don't Go. The song was released as a single in January of 1968, where it got a decent amount of airplay in the Detroit area, and was ultimately chosen by Lenny Kaye for inclusion on the original Nuggets compilation album. Unlike the other tracks on Nuggets, Kaye used the stereo album version of Baby Please Don't Go rather than the edited mono single version heard here.
Artist: Left Banke
Title: Pretty Ballerina
Source: Stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: Michael Brown
The Left Banke, taking advantage of bandleader Michael Brown's industry connections (his father ran a New York recording studio), ushered in what was considered to be the "next big thing" in popular music in early 1967: Baroque Pop. After their debut single, Walk Away Renee, became a huge bestseller, the band followed it up with Pretty Ballerina, which easily made the top 20 as well. Subsequent releases were sabotaged by a series of bad decisions by Brown and the other band members that left radio stations leery of playing any record with the words "Left Banke" on the label.
Title: Thinking Of Your Fate
Source: Mono British import CD: With Love...A Pot Of Flowers (bonus track)
Writer(s): Tony McGuire
Label: Big Beat
Year: Recorded 1965, released 2010
One of the first garage bands signed to Bob Shad's Brent label was The Ban. Based in Lompoc, California, the Ban was led by guitarist/vocalist Tony McGuire, who also wrote the band's original material, and also included Oliver McKinney, whose wailing organ combined with Frank Straits distorted bass and Randy Gordon's driving drums to create Thinking Of Your Fate, a garage band classic that sat on the shelf for 35 years before finally being released on the expanded version of the Mainstream sampler With Love...A Pot Of Flowers.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction
Source: CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Out Of Our Heads and as 45 RPM single )
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
Singles released in the UK in the 60s tended to stay on the racks much longer than their American counterparts. This is because singles were generally not duplicated on LPs like they were in the US. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction was a good example. In the US, the song was added to the Out Of Our Heads album, which had a considerably different song lineup than the original UK version. In the UK and Europe the song was unavailable as an LP track until Big Hits (High Tide And Green Grass) was released, yet the single remained available until at least late 1967, when I had the opportunity to listen to a copy of it in a German department store. All the store's singles were behind the counter, and you had to ask the store clerk to play the record for you, which you would then listen to on headphones.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Who's Driving Your Plane?
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
By 1966 Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were writing everything the Rolling Stones recorded. As their songwriting skills became more sophisticated the band began to lose touch with its R&B roots. To counteract this, Jagger and Richards would occasionally come up with tunes like Who's Driving Your Plane, a bluesy number that nonetheless is consistent with the band's cultivated image as the bad boys of rock. The song appeared as the B side (mistitled on the US version as Who's Driving My Plane) of their loudest single to date, the feedback-drenched Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing In The Shadow.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Year (originally released on LP: Out Of Our Heads and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Nanker Phelge
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones embraced the Los Angeles music scene probably more than any other British invasion band. They attended the clubs on Sunset Strip when they were in town, recorded a lot of their classic recordings at RCA's Burbank studios, and generally did a lot of schmoozing with people in the record industry. This latter was the inspiration for their 1965 track The Under Assistant West Coast Promotion Man. The song, which originally appeared only in the US as the B side of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction and was later included on all versions of the LP Out Of Our Heads, was the last tune to be credited to the entire band using the pseudonym Nanker Phelge.
Title: Four Years Lost
Source: Mono CD: The Huns Conquer Ithaca, NY 1966
Writer(s): Rich La Bonte
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2017
In 1965, most bands in the upstate New York area were inspired mainly by the Beatles, and made their living doing cover songs of various British Invasion bands, particularly those with hits on the charts. And then along came the Huns, a group formed in Ithaca, NY by longtime schoolmates Frank Van Nostrand (bass) and John Sweeney (organ). The first member recruited for the new band was vocalist Rich La Bonte, who brought a Mick Jagger like swagger and his own material, including the introspective Four Years Lost. Filling out the band were Buz Warmkessel and drummer Dick Headley. The Huns, who by then had replaced Headley with Steve Dworetz and added rhythm guitarist Keith Ginsberg, made their only studio recordings on March 10, 1966 at Ithaca College's experimental TV studios in downtown Ithaca. Less than three months later the Huns were history, thanks in large part to Van Nostrand and Sweeney being asked by the college dean to pursue their academic careers elsewhere. Undoubtedly the dean made sure the local draft board was informed of their change in status as well.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title: Good Thing
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: The Spirit Of '67 and as 45 RPM single)
From 1965 to 1967 Paul Revere And The Raiders were on a roll, with a string of six consecutive top 20 singles, four of which made the top 5. Among these was Good Thing, a tune written by lead vocalist Mark Lindsay and producer Terry Melcher (sometimes referred to as the "Fifth Raider"). The song first appeared on the Spirit Of '67 LP in 1966, and was released as a single late that year. The song ended up being the Raiders' second biggest hit, peaking at # 4 in early 1967.
Source: Mono German import CD: Black Monk Time (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Repertoire (original label Polydor)
The Monks were formed in Germany by five American GIs stationed in Frankfurt. Right from the start, the Monks had a look and sound that was unlike anything that had come before. With military haircuts supplemented by shaved patches at the top and wearing black gowns with a hangman's noose for a necktie, the Monks spat out angry tunes centered on the dark side of human nature. Although they were enough of a curiosity to attract live audiences, their records did not sell particularly well, and for their second single, a song called I Can't Get Over You, they toned it down a touch. The B side, however, a track called Cuckoo, retains much of the energy that made the Monks true pioneers of punk-rock years before the term would come into common usage.
Artist: Hearts And Flowers
Title: Tin Angel (Will You Ever Come Down)
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Larry Murray
Label: Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Hearts and Flowers (featuring a pre-Eagles Bernie Leadon on lead guitar) is known as one of the pioneering country-rock bands, but in 1968 they recorded what could well be regarded as a lost psychedelic masterpiece. Producer Steve Venet reportedly had Sgt. Pepper in mind as he crafted out Larry Murray's Tin Angel over a period of weeks, paying attention to the minutest details of the recording process. The result speaks for itself.
Artist: Moody Blues
Title: Legend Of A Mind
Source: CD: In Search Of The Lost Chord
Writer(s): Ray Thomas
The Moody Blues started off as a fairly typical British beat band, scoring one major international hit, Go Now, in 1965, as well as several minor British hit singles. By 1967 lead vocalist Denny Laine was no longer with the group (he would later surface as a member of Paul McCartney's Wings), and the remaining members were not entirely sure of where to go next. At around that time their record label, Deram, was looking to make a rock version of a well-known classical piece (Horst's The Nine Planets), and the Moody Blues were tapped for the project. Somewhere along the way, however, the group decided to instead write their own music for rock band and symphony orchestra, and Days Of Future Passed was the result. The album, describing a somewhat typical day in the life of a somewhat typical Britisher, was successful enough to revitalize the band's career, and a follow-up LP, In Search Of The Lost Chord, was released in 1968. Instead of a full orchestra, however, the band members themselves provided all the instrumentation on the new album, using a relatively new keyboard instrument called the mellotron, a complicated contraption that utilized tape loops to simulate orchestral sounds. Like its predecessor, In Search Of The Lost Chord was a concept album, this time dealing with the universal search for the meaning of life through music. One of the standout tracks on the album is Legend Of A Mind, with its signature lines: "Timothy Leary's dead. No, no, he's outside looking in." Although never released as a single, the track got a fair amount of airplay on college and progressive FM radio stations, and has long been considered a cult hit.
Artist: Frumious Bandersnatch
Title: Hearts To Cry
Source: Mono British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on self-titled EP)
Writer: Jack King
Label: Big Beat (original label: Muggles Gramophone Works)
Rock music and the real estate business have something in common: location can make all the difference. Take the San Francisco Bay Area. You have one of the world's great Cosmopolitan cities at the north end of a peninsula. South of the city, along the peninsula itself you have mostly redwood forest land interspersed with fairly affluent communities along the way to Silicon Valley and the city of San Jose at the south end of the bay. The eastern side of the bay, on the other hand, spans a socio-economic range from blue collar to ghetto and is politically conservative; not exactly the most receptive environment for a hippy band calling itself Frumious Bandersnatch, which is a shame, since they had at least as much talent as any other band in the area. Unable to develop much of a following, they are one of the great "should have beens" of the psychedelic era, as evidenced by Hearts To Cry, the lead track of their 1968 untitled EP.
Title: I Wish You Would (expanded version)
Source: Simulated stereo British import LP: Remember...The Yardbirds
Writer(s): Billy Boy Arnold
Year: Recorded 1964, released 1971
The first Yardbirds record ever released was, predictably, a cover of an old blues song. I Wish You Would had originally been written and recorded by Billy Boy Arnold. Arnold's original version, released in 1955 on the Vee Jay label, featured a Bo-Diddley style beat; indeed, the song had originally been intended for Diddley himself and would have been his second single if not for the fact that Arnold got it into his head that Leonard Chess, whose Chess label Diddley recorded for, did not like him, so he ended up taking the song to Vee Jay and recording it himself. The Yardbirds version of the song, released in 1964, is missing the Bo Diddley beat, and is reportedly a much shorter version than the band performed live at the time. A few years later Yardbirds manager Giorgio Gomelsky released the first Yardbirds compilation album, with an expanded version of I Wish You Would that has not appeared anywhere else. Unfortunately, the LP used fake stereo, but is still worth hearing for Eric Clapton and Keith Relf's expanded solos on guitar and harmonica, respectively.
Source: LP: Rubber Soul
The oldest song on the Rubber Soul album, Wait was originally recorded for the British version of Help , but did not make the final cut. Six months later, when the band was putting the finishing touches on Rubber Soul, they realized they would not be able to come up with enough new material in time for a Christmas release, so they added some overdubs to Wait and included it on the new album. The song itself was a collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, with the two sharing vocals throughout the tune.
Artist: Rising Sons
Title: Take A Giant Step
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD:The Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: Recorded 1968, released 1992
Popular Los Angeles club band The Rising Sons were blessed with the talents of not one, but three musicians that would go on to become highly respected in the music business: vocalist Taj Mahal, guitarist Ry Cooder, and singer/songwriter Jesse Lee Kincaid. At the time, however, Columbia Records had no clue how to market an interracial country-blues/rock band. After an early single bombed the band attempted a more commercial sounding tune, the Gerry Goffin/ Carole King penned Take A Giant Step, but Columbia sat on it, as well as over an album's worth of other material. The song itself became well known when the Monkees released it as the B side of their debut single, Last Train To Clarksville. Taj Mahal, who liked the lyrics but not the fast tempo of the original version, re-recorded the song at a slower pace for his 1969 album Giant Step, making it one of his signature songs in the process.
Artist: Kim Fowley
Title: Strangers From The Sky
Source: Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Reprise)
The 1960s Los Angeles music scene contained more than its share of colorful characters, so it takes quite a bit to stand out from even that group. Kim Fowley, however, definitely fits the bill, as he is more than willing to tell anyone who will listen. His first claim to fame is being a member of the Hollywood Argyles, a studio concoction that had a huge hit with the novelty song Alley Oop in the early 1960s. Fowley met prodigy Michael Lloyd when Lloyd was only 13, and immediately recognized his potential. In late 1966 he was instrumental in hooking Lloyd up with the Harris brothers and local hipster Bob Markley, who together formed the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. It was while a member of the WCPAEB that Lloyd produced Fowley's Strangers From The Sky, recorded in Lloyd's own home 4-track studio with Lloyd playing all the instruments himself. In it's own way, Strangers From The Sky is every bit as bizarre as Alley Oop, although nowhere near as successful on the charts. Lloyd went on to become a big-time record producer, working with teen idols like the Osmonds and Shaun Cassidy as well as supervising the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. Fowley continued to make his presence felt in both L.A. and London in several roles, including songwriter, producer and being the MC at the Toronto Rock And Roll Revival in 1969 (where he successfully pushed to get the Plastic Ono Band on the playbill). He famously introduced Sandy West to Joan Jett in the mid-1970s, which eventually led to the formation of the Runaways.