This week we go exploring some of the nooks and crannies of the psychedelic era, with an occasional visit to more familiar territory to break things up. In fact, we start with a huge hit single, but immediately move into album track territory and stay there for the rest of the first hour. We go even deeper in the second half of the show, with nearly half the tracks making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut.
Artist: Paul Revere And The Raiders
Source: Simulated stereo CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on 45 RPM single)
Label: Priority (original label: Columbia)
Kicks was not the first pop song with a strong anti-drug message, but it was the first one to be a major hit, making it to the number four spot on the US charts and hitting number one in Canada. It remained Paul Revere and the Raiders' best known song until Indian Reservation went all the way to the top of the charts five years later.
Title: Pulsating Dream
Source: CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Side Trips)
Writer: Chris Darrow
Label: Rhino (original label: Epic)
From Los Angeles we have the Kaleidoscope, a band that had more in common with the folk-rock bands up in San Francisco than its contemporaries on the L.A. club scene. Pulsating Dream is a somewhat typical example of what the group sounded like on its only album for Epic, Side Trips, released in 1967.
Title: Bent Over You
Source: LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
While not an unlistenable track by any means, the most curious aspect of Bent Over You from Them's 1968 Time Out! Time In! For Them album is probably the fact that the entire band (but not the individual members) shares songwriting credit with Thomas Lane and Sharon Pulley, who in fact wrote most of the songs on the album itself. I have to wonder just how the royalties situation would have worked if the album had actually made any money.
Artist: Blind Faith
Title: Had To Cry Today
Source: LP: Blind Faith
Writer(s): Steve Winwood
Label: Polydor (original label: Atco)
One of the most eagerly-awaited albums of 1969 was Blind Faith, the self-titled debut album of a group consisting of Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker from Cream, Steve Winwood from Traffic and Rich Grech, who had played bass with a band called Family. The buzz about this new band was such that the rock press had to coin a brand-new term to describe it: supergroup. On release, the album shot up to the number one spot on the charts in record time. Of course, as subsequent supergroups have shown, such bands seldom stick around very long, and Blind Faith set the pattern early on by splitting up after just one LP and a short tour to promote it. The opening track of the album was a pure Winwood piece that features Winwood and Clapton playing simultaneous lead guitar solos.
Artist: Frijid Pink
Title: Sing A Song For Freedom
Source: 45 RPM single
Frijid Pink was formed in Detroit in 1967 by singer Tom Beaudry, guitarist Gary Ray Thompson, bassist Tom Harris, and drummer Richard Stevers. After a couple of years playing various venues in the southeast Michigan area, the band signed with London subsidiary Parrot Records, releasing a pair of singles in 1969. They scored an international hit with a fuzz-laden rendition of House OfThe Rising Sun in 1970, which was soon followed by a self-titled LP. Their second LP, Defrosted, featuring the single Sing A Song For Freedom, was released in summer of 1970, but a change in personnel brought on by overesized egos led to the band's swift decline.
Title: Indian Summer
Source: CD: Morrison Hotel
Although it was included on the 1970 LP Morrison Hotel, Indian Summer is actually one of the earliest Doors tracks, having been recorded for the band's debut album in 1966. Unlike the other songs recorded by the Doors at that time, Indian Summer is credited to guitarist Robby Krieger and vocalist Jim Morrison rather than to the entire band.
Title: You're Lost Little Girl
Source: LP: Strange Days
Writer: The Doors
The Doors second LP, Strange Days, was stylistically similar to the first, and served notice to the world that this band was going to be around for awhile. Songwriting credit for You're Lost Little Girl (a haunting number that's always been a personal favorite of mine) was given to the entire band, a practice that would continue until the release of The Soft Parade in 1969.
Title: The Spy
Source: CD: Morrison Hotel
Writer(s): Jim Morrison
As the 1960s drew to a close, the Doors, who had been riding high since 1967, were at a low point. In fact, it could be argued that the last few months of 1969 were the worst in the band's career. Vocalist Jim Morrison had been arrested for indecent exposure for exposing himself onstage in Miami the previous March. This had resulted in the cancellation of over two dozen performances as well as a sizable number of radio stations refusing to play their records. In June, the band released their fourth album, The Soft Parade, which was critically panned for its overuse of horns and strings. The album was also the first to give individual members of the band songwriting credits (previously all songwriting credits were shared by the four band members). This was brought about by Morrison's wish to distance himself from the lyrics of the album's opening track, Tell All The People, which had been written by guitarist Robby Krieger. Adding to the problems, Morrison had been arrested for causing a disturbance on an airplane and charged under a new hijacking law that carried a fine up of to $10,000 and ten years in prison. In November, the Doors started work on their fifth album, to be called Morrison Hotel (with the second side subtitled Hard Rock Cafe). After the poor reception of The Soft Parade the band decided to take a back to basics approach. One thing that did not change, however, was the policy of band members taking individual song credits. Thus, we have songs like The Spy (originally called Spy In The House Of Love), which was inspired by Morrison's fiery relationship with his longtime girlfriend Pamela Coulson. Morrison Hotel would end up being a turning point for the Doors; their next LP, L.A. Woman, is universally considered one of their best.
Artist: Mad River
Title: Wind Chimes
Source: LP: Mad River
Writer(s): Mad River
Label: Sundazed/EMI (original label: Capitol)
When Mad River's debut LP was released, the San Francisco rock press hailed it as "taking rock music as far as it could go." Indeed, songs like Wind Chimes certainly pushed the envelope in 1968, when bubble gum was king of top 40 radio and progressive FM stations were still in the process of finding an audience. One thing that helped was the band members' friendship with avant-garde poet Richard Brautigan, who pulled whatever strings he could to get attention for his favorite local band. Still, the time was not yet right for such a band as Mad River, who had quietly faded away by the early 1970s.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Source: CD: Mass In F Minor
Writer: David Axelrod
Label: Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
After the commercial disappointment of the Electric Prunes second LP, Underground, producer David Hassinger decided to use the band in an experiment. David Axelrod had written a rock-mass and was looking for a band to record it. The problem was that the only member of the Electric Prunes who could read music was bassist Mark Tulin, who then had to show the rest of the band what was wanted from them. Needless to say it was a slow process, and after the three songs that comprise side one of the LP were completed, Hassinger decided to hire a Canadian band called the Collectors to provide instrumental tracks for the album's second side. In addition to Tulin, bassist Quint Weakley and vocalist James Lowe appear on every track on Mass In F Minor, while guitarists Ken Williams and Mike Gannon are only featured on the LP's first side. Williams's guitar work is featured prominently on Credo, which also features a full orchestra track arranged by Axelrod.
Title: Your Mind And We Belong Together
Source: Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Arthur Lee
Label: Raven (original label: Elektra)
The last record to be released by the classic Love lineup of Arthur Lee, Ken Forssi, Johnny Echols, Bryan MacLean and Michael Stuart was a single, Your Mind And We Belong Together. Although released in 1968, the song is very much the same style as the 1967 album Forever Changes. A bonus track on the Forever Changes CD shows Lee very much in command of the recording sessions, calling for over two dozen takes before getting an acceptable version of the song. The song serves as a fitting close to the story of one of the most influential, yet overlooked, bands in rock history...or would have, if Lee had not tried to revive the band with new members several times over the next several decades.
Artist: Paul Jones
Title: The Dog Presides
Source: British import CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Paul Jones
Label: Zonophone (original UK label: Columbia)
Like many frontmen in the mid-60s Manfred Mann's Paul Jones decided to leave the group for a solo career right at the height of the band's success. Also like many former frontmen, Jones's solo career, beginning in 1966, was less than stellar. Most of Jones's records were done in an almost lounge lizard style. One notable exception is The Dog Presides, the B side of a forgettable 1968 single called And The Sun Will Shine. In addition to Jones on vocals and harmonica, The Dog Presides features former Yardbirds guitarist Jeff Beck and bassist Paul-Samwell Smith and some guy named Paul McCartney on drums. This bit of psychedelic insanity was officially credited to Jones himself, but in all likelihood was a collaborative effort by the four of them.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: I Don't Live Today
Source: LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
I remember a black light poster that choked me up the first time I saw it in early 1971. It was a shot of Jimi Hendrix playing his guitar with the caption I Don't Live Today. I don't believe Hendrix was being deliberately prophetic when he wrote and recorded this classic track for the Are You Experienced album, but it occasionally gives me chills to hear it, even now.
Title: I'm A Boy (original version)
Source: British import 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
The Who's1966 hit I'm A Boy was originally intended to be part of a rock mini-opera set in a future where parents choose the sex of their children ahead of time. The family of the protagonist orders four girls, but instead gets three girls and a boy. Refusing to acknowledge the truth, the mother insists on dressing the boy in girl's clothing and forces him to do "feminine" things. OK, it's a pretty absurd idea, but the song, recorded in early August of 1966 and released about two weeks later, ended up going all the way to the #2 spot on the British charts. The song was rearranged and re-recorded three months later for the 1966 LP A Quick One, but ended up being left off the album. It finally appeared on the 1971 LP Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy.
Source: Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
In 1968 White Whale Records was not particularly happy with the recent activities of their primary money makers, the Turtles. The band had been asserting its independence, even going so far as to self-produce a set of recordings that the label in turn rejected as having no commercial potential. The label wanted another Happy Together. The band responded by creating a facetious new song called Elenore. The song had deliberately silly lyrics such as "Elenore gee I think you're swell" and "you're my pride and joy etcetera" and gave production credit to former Turtles bassist Chip Douglas for the "Douglas F. Hatelid Foundation", which was in itself an in-joke referring to the pseudonym Douglas was forced to use as producer for the Monkees in 1967. Then a strange thing happened: the record became a hit. I suspect this was the event that began Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman's eventually metamorphosis into rock parody act Flo and Eddie.
Title: Let The Cold Winds Blow
Source: Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s): Howard Kaylan
Label: White Whale
Although still quite young (the band members had to get their parents' permission to record their first LP), the Turtles already had the makings of a successful group in 1965 when they recorded It Ain't Me Babe. In addition to the usual batch of cover songs that were expected from a "pop" band (the term "rock" having not come into common usage at that point in time) the album included a handful of original compositions from bandmembers. Lead vocalist Howard Kaylan, in particular, provided some decent tunes such as Let The Cold Winds Blow, which opens side two of the original LP.
Title: House On The Hill
Source: Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
Although credited to the entire band, House On The Hill, released in April of 1969, was actually the creation of guitarist Al Nichol (music) and new drummer John Seiter, whom the Turtles had poached from tourmates Spanky & Our Gang after John Barbata had left the group. The single, produced by the Kinks' Ray Davies, failed to chart, prompting the band to return to the "Happy Together" formula for their next single, You Don't Have To Walk In The Rain.
Artist: Glass Family
Title: House Of Glass
Source: LP: The Glass Family Electric Band
Writer(s): Ralph Parrett
Label: Maplewood (original label: Warner Brothers)
The Glass Family (Ralph Parrett, David Capilouto and Gary Green) first surfaced in 1967 with a single called Teenage Rebellion on Mike Curb's Sidewalk label. The following year they signed with Warner Brothers, releasing their only LP, The Glass Family Electric Band, in 1969. The opening track from the album, House Of Glass, is, in the words of Capilouto, self-explanatory, which is a good thing, as it saves me the trouble of trying to figure out what it's about.
Source: Mon British import CD: Think I'm Going Weird (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Andy Clark
Label: Grapefruit (original label: Atlantic)
One of the more unusual bands on the London underground scene was the Sam Gopal Dream. Led by Malaysian immigrant Gopal, who was considered an expert tabla player, the band included guitarist Mick Hutchinson, bassist Pete Sears and vocalist/keyboardist Andy Clark. After the group broke up, Hutchinson, Sears and Clark joined former Pretty Things drummer Viv Prince for a one-off single credited to Vamp (an acronym of the band members' first names) called Floatin'. That single, given the later successes of the four members, is now considered highly collectable.
Title: Delighted To See You
Source: Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road
Writer(s): P. Dello
Year: Recorded 1967, released 1998.
The name N'Betweens may not ring any bells with even the most hardcore rock fans, but after changing their name, first to Ambrose Slade and later Slade, they had a decent following in the 1970s. The group originally migrated to London from the industrial city of Birmingham in 1966, where they met up with American producer Kim Fowley, who produced their first single, a cover of the Young Rascals' You Better Run. The band did record other songs before changing their name, including Delighted To See You, which was recorded in 1967, but not released until 1998.
Title: I Feel Free
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
After an unsuccessful debut single (Wrapping Paper), Cream scored a bona-fide hit in the UK with their follow-up, I Feel Free. As was the case with nearly every British single at the time, the song was not included on Fresh Cream, the band's debut LP. In the US, however, hit singles were commonly given a prominent place on albums, and the US version of Fresh Cream actually opens with I Feel Free. To my knowledge the song, being basically a studio creation, was never performed live by the band.
Title: Tell Her No
Source: LP: 93/KHJ Boss Goldens vol. 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Rod Argent
Label: Original Sound (original label: Parrot)
Rod Argent was responsible for writing four well-known hit songs, which were spread out over a period of eight years (and two bands). The second, and probably least known of these was the Zombies' Tell Her No, released in late 1964. The song got mixed reviews from critics, all of which measured the tune against Beatles songs of the same period.
Artist: Van Dyke Parks
Title: Come To The Sunshine
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Van Dyke Parks
Label: Rhino (original label: M-G-M)
Van Dyke Parks is probably best known for being Brian Wilson's collaborator of choice for the legendary (but unreleased) Smile album. Parks, however, did have an identity of his own, as this recording of Come To The Sunshine shows. The song became a minor hit for WB labelmates Harper's Bizarre, although it did not have nearly the success of their first effort, a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy).
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Source: Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer: Paul Kantner
Label: Sundazed (original label: RCA Victor)
D.C.B.A.-25 was named for the chords used in the song. As for the "25"...it was 1967. In San Francisco. Paul Kantner wrote it. Figure it out.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Journey to the Center of the Mind
Source: Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Big Beat (original US label: Mainstream)
From Detroit we have the Amboy Dukes, featuring lead guitarist Ted Nugent. Originally released as a single on Mainstream Records, the same label that released the first Big Brother & the Holding Company album, Journey To The Center Of The Mind became that label's biggest hit in 1968. After butchering Big Brother's debut album, Mainstream's studio people must have taken a crash course in rock engineering as they did a much better job on this track just a few months later.
Artist: Al Kooper/Carlos Santa/Skip Prokop/John Kahn
Title: Sonny Boy Williamson
Source: LP: The Live Adventures Of Mike Bloomfield And Al Kooper
When guitarist Mike Bloomfield's "chronic insomnia" caused him to miss the final performance of a three night live recording engagement with keyboardist/vocalist Al Kooper at the Fillmore West on September 8, 1968, several San Francisco area musicians volunteered to fill in for him, much as Stephen Stills had earlier in the year for the Super Session album. Among those musicians was guitarist Carlo Santana, whose own band was in the process of landing a record deal with Columbia Records, the label that was taping the Kooper/Bloomfield gigs. Santana sat in on three or four songs, one of which, Jack Bruce's Sonny Boy Williamson, was included on the album. Also in the band that night were drummer Skip Prokop and bassist John Kahn.
Artist: Bob Dylan
Title: Temporarily Like Achilles
Source: Austrian import CD: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s): Bob Dylan
"Honey, why are you so hard?" was a line Bob Dylan had been wanting to use in a song for quite some time. He finally got his wish when he recorded Temporarily Like Achilles in Nashville for his Blonde On Blonde album.
Artist: John P Hammond (aka John Hammond Jr.)
Title: Motherless Willie Johnson
Source: LP: Mirrors
Writer(s): Blind Willie Johnson
John Hammond's 1967 album Mirrors featured Hammond with a backup band on the LP's first side and a series of solo recordings with Hammond on vocals and acoustic guitar on the other. One of the highlights of the second side was Hammond's cover of Blind Willie Johnson's Motherless Children (for some unexplained reason titled Motherless Willie Johnson on the label). Johnson originally recorded the song (released as Mother's Children Have A Hard Time) in Dallas, Texas on December 3, 1927.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Prodigal Son
Source: CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s): Robert Wilkins
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones always had a fondness for American roots music, but by 1967 had largely abandoned the genre in favor of more modern sounds such as pychedelia. The 1968 album Beggar's Banquet, however, marked a return to the band's own roots and included such tunes as Prodigal Son, which at first was credited to Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. In reality the song was written by the Reverend Robert Wilkins, and has since been acknowledged as such.
Title: Everything's Changing
Source: British import CD: Kak-Ola (originally released on LP: Kak)
Label: Big Beat (original label: Epic)
Everything's Changing is an appropriate title for the second song on the 1969 album Kak. Nobody noticed that Joe-Dave Damrell's bass guitar had a short until they were isolating the track during the mixdown process. Damrell quickly recorded a new bass part (using a different instrument) by plugging directly into the mixing board itself.