Sunday, February 12, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2307 (starts 2/13/23)

    This week we have an Advanced Psych segment that includes one of the best 60s cover songs ever recorded, as well as a Jimi Hendrix Experience set and the only Fleetwood Mac song ever to top the British singles chart. If that wasn't enough, we have a rare solo track from one of the founders of Chicago's H.P. Lovecraft, recorded in 1971.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Eight Miles High
Source:    CD: Fifth Dimension
Writer(s):    McGuinn/Crosby/Clark
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1966
    By all rights, the Byrds' Eight Miles High should have been a huge hit. Unfortunately, Bill Gavin, publisher of the Gavin Report, the most influential trade paper in the world of Top 40 radio, got it into his head that this was a drug song, despite the band's insistence that it was about a transatlantic plane trip. The band's version actually makes sense, as Gene Clark had just quit the group due to his fear of flying (he is listed as a co-writer of the song), and the subject was probably a hot topic of discussion among the remaining members. Despite all this Eight Miles High still managed to crack the top 20 in late 1966, because sometimes the people who actually listen to the music and buy the records, rather than some guy in an office, get to decide whether a song is popular or not.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    The Masked Marauder
Source:    LP: Electric Music For The Mind And Body
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Perhaps more than any other band, Country Joe and the Fish capture the essence of the San Francisco scene in the late 60s (which is rather ironic, considering that they were actually based in Berkeley on the other side of the bay and rarely visited the city itself, except to play gigs). Their first two releases were EPs included in Joe McDonald's self-published Rag Baby underground newspaper. In 1967 the band was signed to Vanguard Records, a primarily folk-oriented prestige label that also had Joan Baez on its roster. Their first LP, Electric Music For the Mind and Body had such classic cuts as Section 43, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and the political parody Superbird on it, as well as the mostly-instrumental tune The Masked Marauder. Not for the unenlightened.

Artist:    Ultimate Spinach
Title:    Baroque # 1
Source:    LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s):    Ian Bruce-Douglas
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    Of the half dozen or so major US record labels of the time, only two, Decca and M-G-M, failed to sign any San Francisco bands in the late 1960s. Decca, which had been bought by MCA in the early 60s, was fast fading as a major force in the industry (ironic considering that Universal, the direct descendant of MCA, is now the world's largest record company). M-G-M, on the other hand, had a strong presence on the Greenwich Village scene thanks to Jerry Schoenbaum at the Verve Forecast label, who had signed such critically-acclaimed artists as Dave Van Ronk, Tim Hardin and the Blues Project. Taking this as an inspiration, the parent label decided to create interest in the Boston music scene, aggressively promoting (some would say hyping) the "Boss-Town Sound". One of the bands signed was Ultimate Spinach, which was led by keyboardist Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote all the band's material, including Baroque # 1, an instrumental that shows the influence of West Coast bands such as Country Joe And The Fish.
Artist:    Moby Grape
Title:    Looper
Source:    German import LP: Underground '70 (originally released on LP: Truly Fine Citizen)
Writer(s):    Peter Lewis
Label:    CBS (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Moby Grape's fourth LP, Truly Fine Citizen, is a classic example of a "contractual obligation" album. Released in 1969, the album was neither commercially or critically successful, and the group soon disbanded. The album was not without its highlights, however, such as Peter Lewis's Looper, which was considered good enough to be included on a CBS sampler album called Underground '70 that appeared in Germany on purple vinyl that glowed under a black light (don't ask how I know this).

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Mexico
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Early Flight)
Writer(s):    Grace Slick
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1970
    The B side of the last Jefferson Airplane single to include founding member (and original leader) Marty Balin was Mexico, a scathing response by Grace Slick to President Richard Nixon's attempts to eradicate the marijuana trade between the US and Mexico. The song was slated to be included on the next Airplane album, Long John Silver, but Balin's departure necessitated a change in plans, and Mexico did not appear on an LP until Early Flight was released in 1974.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    When I Was Young
Source:    Mono LP: The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    After the Animals disbanded in 1966, Eric Burdon set out to form a new band that would be far more psychedelic than the original group. The first release from these "New Animals" was When I Was Young. The song was credited to the entire band, a practice that would continue throughout the entire existence of the group that came to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    World Of Pain
Source:    Mono European import LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Pappalardi/Collins
Label:    Lilith (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    Whereas the first Cream LP was made up of mostly blues-oriented material, Disraeli Gears took a much more psychedelic turn, due in large part to the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. The Bruce/Brown team was not, however, the only source of material for the band. Both Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker made contributions, as did Cream's unofficial fourth member, keyboardist/producer Felix Pappalardi, who, along with his wife Janet Collins, provided World Of Pain.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    Bright Light Lover
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Bob Bruno
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Keyboardist Bob Bruno's contributions as a songwriter to Circus Maximus tended to favor jazz arrangements. On Bright Light Lover, however, from the band's first album, he proves that he could rock out with the raunchiest of the garage bands when the mood hit.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Hey Joe
Source:    LP: Shades Of Deep Purple
Writer(s):    Billy Roberts
Label:    Tetragrammaton
Year:    1968
    My first impression of Deep Purple was that they were Britain's answer to the Vanilla Fudge. After all, both bands had a big hit in 1968 with a rearranged version of someone else's song from 1967 (Vanilla Fudge with the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On and Deep Purple with Billy Joe Royal's Hush). Additionally, both groups included a Beatles cover on their debut LP (Fudge: Ticket To Ride, Purple: Help). Finally, both albums included a depressing Cher cover song. In the Vanilla Fudge case it was one of her biggest hits, Bang Bang. Deep Purple, on the other hand, went with a song that was actually more closely associated with the Jimi Hendrix Experience (although Cher did record it as well): Hey Joe. The Deep Purple version of the Billy Roberts classic (originally credited to the band on the label itself), is probably the most elaborate of the dozens of recorded versions of the song (which is up there with Louie Louie in terms of quantity), incorporating sections of the Miller's Dance (by Italian classical composer Manuel de Falla), as well as an extended instrumental section, making the finished track over seven and a half minutes long.

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    The Prophet
Source:    British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union/The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens (originally released in US on LP: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union)
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Wright
Label:    See For Miles (original US label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    The Beacon Street Union had already relocated to New York from their native Boston by the time their first LP, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, appeared in early 1968. Unfortunately, they were grouped together with other Boston bands such as Ultimate Spinach by M-G-M Records as part of a fictional "Boss-Town Sound", which ultimately hurt the band's chances far more than it helped them. The album itself is actually one of the better psychedelic albums of the time, with tracks like The Prophet, which closes out side two of the original LP, combining somewhat esoteric music and lyrics effectively.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Jennifer Juniper
Source:    British import CD: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original label: Epic)
Year:    1968
    Donovan's British label, Pye, chose not to release 1967's Wear Your Love Like Heaven as a single. As a result, Donovan had no current tunes on the British charts in January of 1968, when he recorded Jennifer Juniper. The song was an instant British hit when released the following month, going to the #5 spot on the charts. The song did not do as well when it was released a month later in the US, however, stalling out at #35. The song was later included on the 1968 LP The Hurdy Gurdy Man.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Let Me Be
Source:    CD: 20 Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: It Ain't Me Babe and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    P.F. Sloan
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1965
    The Turtles were nothing if not able to redefine themselves when the need arose. Originally a surf band known as the Crossfires, the band quickly adopted an "angry young men" stance with their first single, Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe, and the subsequent album of the same name. For the follow-up single the band chose a track from their album, Let Me Be, that, although written by a different writer, had the same general message as It Ain't Me Babe. The band would soon switch over to love songs like Happy Together and She'd Rather Be With Me before taking their whole chameleon bit to its logical extreme with an album called Battle Of The Bands on which each track was meant to sound like it was done by an entirely different group.

Artist:     Seeds
Title:     A Faded Picture
Source:     LP: A Web Of Sound
Writer:     Saxon/Hooper
Label:     GNP Crescendo
Year:     1966
     The Seeds second LP showed a much greater range than the first. A Faded Picture, perhaps the nearest thing to a ballad the Seeds ever recorded, has a slower tempo than most of the other songs in the Seeds repertoire and, at over five minutes in length, a longer running time as well.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Star Collector
Source:    LP: Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones, LTD.
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1967
    The Monkees were one of the first bands to utilize the Moog synthesizer on a rock record. One of the two tracks that uses the device extensively is Star Collector, a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and sung by the late Davy Jones. Usually Jones was picked to sing the band's love ballads. Star Collector, on the other hand, is a wild, almost humorous look at rock groupies; the type of song that on earlier Monkees albums would have been given to Peter Tork to sing. The synthesizer in Star Collector was programmed and played by Paul Beaver (of Beaver and Krause). Tork later said that he didn't think much of Beaver's performance, saying "he played it like a flute or something" rather than exploit the unique sounds the Moog was capable of producing.

Artist:    Dick Dale And His Del-Tones
Title:    Miserlou
Source:    Mono CD: Surfin' Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Nick Rubanis
Label:    Rhino (original label: Del-Tone)
Year:    1962
    When the term "surf music" comes up, most people think of vocal groups such as the Beach Boys or Jan & Dean. Some even mention the Ventures, who released well over a hundred instrumental LPs in their existence, most of which are considered surf records. Those truly in the know, however, will tell you that Dick Dale, the man who was asked by Fender Instruments to road test their new Reverb guitar amplifiers in the early 60s, was the true King Of The Surf Guitar. Although he did record a few vocal singles, Dale is mostly known for his high-energy instrumental tracks such as Miserlou, a 1962 recording that was given new life in 1994 when Quentin Tarantino included it in the film Pulp Fiction.

Artist:    Stranglers
Title:    Don't Bring Harry
Source:    British import 33 1/3 RPM 7" EP
Writer(s):    The Stranglers
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1979
    Formed in the mid-1970s in Guildford, Surry, England, the Stranglers cited L.A. bands like the Doors and the Music Machine as early influences. They soon became associated with London's punk-rock scene, but were far more diverse in style than their contemporaries. This reputation for going "outside the box" gave them the freedom to record songs like Don't Bring Harry, a veiled reference to heroin use that was released on a 1979 EP. With relatively few personnel changes over the years, the Stranglers have continued to both perform and record new material, although the COVID-19 related death of founding keyboardist Dave Greenfield in May of 2020 has put the future of the band in doubt.

Artist:    George Harrison
Title:    When We Was Fab
Source:    CD: Cloud Nine
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Dark Horse
Year:    1987
    George Harrison recorded two different songs referencing his years as a member of the world's most popular rock band. The first, All Those Years Ago, was done in Harrison's own early 80s style, and was released not long after the death of former bandmate John Lennon. The second, When We Was Fab, was stylistically a throwback to the Beatles' most psychedelic period, with a strong resemblance to Lennon's I Am The Walrus from Magical Mystery Tour. The song appeared on Harrison's Cloud Nine album, which was recorded around the same time as the first Traveling Wilburys album, and features guest appearances from some of the other members of that group, including Beatles fans Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty.

Artist:    Chesterfield Kings
Title:    (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet
Source:    10" EP Tripin Out
Writer(s):    Gilbert/Scala/Esposito
Label:    Impossible
Year:    1997
    When it comes to cover versions of psychedelic classics, nobody does it better than the Chesterfield Kings, as demonstrated by this 1992 version of the Blues Magoos' (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Off The Hook
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: Decca)
Year:    1964
    The last Rolling Stones blues cover released as a single was Little Red Rooster, which topped the British charts toward the end of 1964. The ultra-rare B side of that record was Off The Hook, one of the earliest Mick Jagger/Keith Richards collaborations. Neither song was released in the US until many years later.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Day Tripper
Source:    CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1965
    One of the few times that the US and British releases of Beatles records were in sync was in December of 1965, when the album Rubber Soul was released in both countries at the same time as a new single that had a pair of songs not on the album itself. Although there were some slight differences in the album itself, the single was identical in both countries, with Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out sharing "A" side status. Of course, the synchronization ended there, as the two songs would both end up on a US-only LP (Yesterday...And Today) in mid-1966, but not be available as an album track in the UK until after the Beatles had split up five years later.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    Scarborough Fair/Canticle
Source:    LP: Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    After the reunion of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel following the surprise success of an electrified remix of The Sound Of Silence, the two quickly recorded an album to support the hit single. Sounds Of Silence was, for the most part, a reworking of material that Simon had recorded for 1965 UK LP the Paul Simon Songbook. The pressure for a new album thus (temporarily) relieved, the duo got to work on their first album of all new material since their unsuccessful 1964 effort Wednesday Morning 3AM (which had in fact been re-released and was now doing well on the charts). In October the new album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, hit the stands. The title track was a new arrangement of an old English folk ballad, Scarborough Fair, combined with a reworking of a 1963 Simon tune (The Side Of A Hill,) with all-new lyrics and retitled Canticle. The two melodies and sets of lyrics are set in counterpoint to each other, creating one of the most sophisticated folk song arrangements ever recorded. After being featured in the film The Graduate, Scarborough Fair/Canticle was released as a single in early 1968, going on to become one of the duo's most celebrated songs.

Artist:    Vagrants
Title:    Respect
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Otis Redding
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1967
    The Vagrants are one of those bands that should have been a much bigger success than they actually were. Originally signed to the independent Southern Sound label in 1965, they switched to Vanguard Records for a pair of 1966 singles. In 1967 they signed with Atco, releasing three singles for that label. The first of these was a song called I Love, Love You which is now forgotten. The B side of that single, however, was a cover of Otis Redding's Respect that, unlike Aretha Franklin's version, uses an arrangement similar to Redding's original. The band itself was known for it's slowed-down, extended versions of current hit songs, a style that was copied by another Long Island band, Vanilla Fudge, to great success. Following the failure of their final single for Atco to chart, the band split up in 1968, with guitarist Leslie Weinstein going on to greater success after changing his last name to West and forming a band called Mountain.

Artist:    Mandala
Title:    Come On Home
Source:    CD: Soul Crusade
Writer(s):    Dominic Troiano
Label:    Wounded Bird (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1968
    Formed in Toronto in 1965, Mandala is best known as the band that launched the career of guitarist Dominic Troiano, who later, along with vocalist Roy Kenner, replaced Joe Walsh in the James Gang and later replaced Randy Bachman in the Guess Who. Mandala itself was more R&B oriented that the later bands, as can be heard on their only LP Soul Crusade, released on the Atlantic label in 1968. One of the more bluesy numbers on the album is Troiano's Come On Home, which serves as a rare showcase of the guitarist's ability to jam out.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Love Or Confusion
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original UK label: Track)
Year:    1967
    One of the first songs recorded for Are You Experienced, the debut LP of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was Love Or Confusion, a piece that uses a single note sustained and augmented by feedback throughout each of the verses, supplemented by strong lead guitar fills thoughout the song's main section. Midway through the track, the tune abruptly changes both key and tempo for an instrumental break that flows seamlessly back to the main section for the song's final verse, which ends with a note combining fuzz, echo and reverb effect slowly fading away.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Spanish Castle Magic
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    When the second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love, came out it was hailed as a masterpiece of four-track engineering. Working closely with producer Chas Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer, Hendrix used the recording studio itself as an instrument, making an art form out of the stereo mixing process. The unfortunate by-product of this is that most of the songs on the album could not be played live and still sound anything like the studio version. One notable exception is Spanish Castle Magic, which became a more or less permanent part of the band's performing repertoire.

Artist:     Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:     Purple Haze
Source:     CD: Are You Experienced?
Writer:     Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA (original US label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
     Purple Haze has one of the most convoluted release histories of any song ever recorded. Originally issued in the UK as a single on the Track label, it scored high on the British charts. When Reprise got the rights to release the first Hendrix album, Are You Experienced, in the US they chose to replace the first track on the album with Purple Haze, moving the original opening track, Foxy Lady, to side two of the LP. Reprise also released Purple Haze as a single in June of 1967, where it spent eight weeks on the Hot 100 chart, peaking at #65. The song next appeared on Track's 1968 Smash Hits album, which in Europe was on the Polydor label. The following year Reprise included the song on its own version of Smash Hits. The Reprise version of Are You Experience remained in print throughout the 1970s and 1980s, appearing on cassette, 8-track, and pre-recorded reel to reel tapes as well as CDs. ln the early 1990s MCA/Universal acquired the rights to the Hendrix catalog and re-issued Are You Experienced with the tracks restored to the UK ordering, but preceded by the six non-album sides (including Purple Haze) that had originally been released prior to the album. Most recently, the Hendrix Family Trust has again changed labels and the US version of Are You Experienced is once again in print, this time on Sony's Legacy label. This means that Purple Haze now has the distinction of having been released by all three of the world's major record companies.

Artist:    George Edwards
Title:    Quit Your Low Down Ways
Source:    LP: The Dunwich Records Story (originally released on LP: Early Chicago)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Voxx/Tutman (original label: Happy Tiger)
Year:    1971
    After leaving H.P. Lovecraft, singer/songwriter George Edwards elected to stay in the Chicago area, recording for the short-lived Happy Tiger label. His only released song was Quit Your Low Down Ways, a Bob Dylan cover tune done in a style reminiscent of various mid-60s jug bands.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Singing Winds, Crying Beasts
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Abraxas)
Writer(s):    Mike Carabello
Label:    Sony Music (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1970
    Mike Carabello, one of the three Santana percussionists, only had one solo songwriting credit on the three LPs he played on. It was a good one, though. Singing Winds, Crying Beasts is the opening track of the second Santana LP, Abraxas. The tune flows so naturally into the next track that it is sometimes considered a long intro to Black Magic Woman, despite the fact that Singing Winds, Crying Beasts is nearly five minutes long.

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Albatross
Source:    LP: English Rose
Writer(s):    Peter Green
Label:    Epic
Year:    1968
    Albatross was the third single released by Fleetwood Mac. Released in November of 1968, it hit the #1 spot on the UK Single Chart in January of 1969. The song, which is said to have been inspired by a series of notes in an Eric Clapton guitar solo (but slowed down considerably) had been in the works for some time, but left unfinished until the addition of then 18-year-old guitarist Danny Kirwan to the band, who helped bandleader Peter Green work out the final arrangement. Although Jeremy Spencer was usually the group's resident slide guitarist (as is seen miming the part on a video clip), Kirwan actually played the slide guitar parts behind Green's lead guitar work, with Mick Fleetwood using mallets rather than drumsticks on the recording. John McVie, of course, played bass on the tune.

Artist:    Fever Tree
Title:    San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native)
Source:    CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released on LP: Fever Tree)
Writer(s):    Scott and Vivian Holtzman
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Uni)
Year:    1968
    A minor, but notable trend in 1968 was for producer/songwriters to find a band to record their material exclusively. A prime example is Houston's Fever Tree, which featured the music of husband and wife team Scott and Vivian Holtzman. While not as successful as the band that started the trend, Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan's Grass Roots, Fever Tree did manage to hit the lower reaches of the Billboard Hot 100 with San Francisco Girls (Return of the Native), a song featured on their eponymous debut LP.


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