This week we have a slow, moody Advanced Psych segment, a Doors set from their least respected album and a Pink Floyd live track, among an assortment of hits, misses and shoulda beens.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Street Fighting Man
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Beggar's Banquet)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
The Rolling Stones were at a low point in their career following their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came out in late 1967. As a response to charges in the rock press that they were no longer relevant the Stones parted company with their longtime producer, Andrew Loog Oldham and began an equally long association with Jimmy Miller, who had already established himself as a top producer working with Steve Winwood of the Spencer Davis Group and later Traffic. The first song Miller produced with the Stones was Street Fighting Man, which appeared on the 1968 LP Beggar's Banquet. Before that LP was released, however, the band recorded an even more iconic single, Jumpin' Jack Flash, which was the first Miller/Stones production to be heard by the general public.
Artist: Aquarian Age
Title: 10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box
Source: British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Following the breakup of the influential British psychedelic band Tomorrow, the various members went their separate ways, with vocalist Keith West embarking on a solo career and guitarist Steve Howe doing studio work before becoming a member of Yes. The remaining two members, Junior Wood (bass) and Twink Alder (drums), continued to work with Abbey Road studios staff producer Mark Wirtz on a single, 10,000 Words In A Cardboard Box, credited to the Aquarian Age. Probably the nearest American equivalent to the project was Sagittarius from Los Angeles producer Gary Usher. Both projects came from respected staff producers at major recording studios utilizing top studio talent, not to mention they both took their names from Zodiac signs.
Artist: Jake Holmes
Title: Dazed And Confused
Source: LP: Nuggets vol. 10-Folk Rock (originally released on LP: The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes)
Writer(s): Jake Holmes
Label: Rhino (original label: Tower)
On Auguest 5th, 1967 a little known singer/songwriter named Jake Holmes opened for the Yardbirds for a gig in New York City, performing songs from his debut LP The Above Ground Sound Of Jake Holmes, including a rather creepy sounding tune called Dazed And Confused. Yardbirds drummer Jim McCarty, who was in the audience for Holmes's set, went out and bought a copy of the album the next day. Soon after that the Yardbirds began performing their own modified version of Dazed And Confused. Tower Records, perhaps looking to take advantage of the Yardbirds popularization of the tune, released Dazed And Confused as a single in January of 1968. Meanwhile, the Yardbirds split up, with guitarist Jimmy Page forming a new band called Led Zeppelin. One of the songs Led Zeppelin included on their 1969 debut LP was yet another new arrangement of Dazed And Confused, with new lyrics provided by Page and singer Robert Plant. This version was credited entirely to Page. Holmes himself, not being a fan of British blues-rock, was not aware of any of this at first, and then let things slide until 2010, when he filed a copyright infringement lawsuit. The matter was ultimately settled out of court, and all copies of the first Led Zeppelin album made from 2014 on include "inspired by Jake Holmes" in the credits.
Artist: Amboy Dukes
Title: Flyte Of The Byrd
Source: German import CD: Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Writer(s): Ted Nugent
Label: Repertoire (original US label: Mainstream)
For their second LP, Detroit's Amboy Dukes decided to divide the songwriting on the album evenly between lead guitarist Ted Nugent and rhythm guitarist/vocalis Steve Farmer, with Nugent getting side one of the original LP and Farmer writing side two. As it turned out, the two ended up contributing to each other's side, but there were still some tracks, such as Nugent's Flyte Of The Byrd, that were solo compositions. The song itself gives a hint as to the direction the band's music would take over the next couple of years.
Title: Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
Source: Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s): Ray Davies
Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy is perhaps recognizable from a TV commercial from a few years back (don't ask me who the ad was for, as I tend to ignore such things). The song was originally the opening track from the 1965 album Kinda Kinks, which, like most British albums of the time, had a different song lineup on its US release than the original UK version. In this case, it also had entirely different cover art, for reasons that are not entirely clear.
Artist: Music Machine
Source: CD: The Very Best Of The Music Machine-Turn On (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Collectables (original label: Original Sound)
Sean Bonniwell had definite plans for the Music Machine's first album. His primary goal was to have all original material, with the exception of a slow version of Hey Joe that he and fellow songwriter Tim Rose had been working on (and before you ask, both Rose and the Music Machine recorded it before Jimi Hendrix did). Unfortunately, the shirts at Original Sound Records did not take their own company name seriously and inserted four cover songs that the band had recorded for a local TV show. This was just the first in a series of bad decisions by the aforementioned shirts that led to a great band not getting the success it deserved. To hear Turn On The Music Machine the way Bonniwell intended it to be heard program your CD player to skip all the extra cover songs. Listened to that way, Trouble is restored to its rightful place as the second song on the disc (following Talk Talk) and a fairly decent album is transformed into a work that is equal to the best albums of 1966.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: The Wind Cries Mary
Source: Simulated stereo British import LP: Smash Hits (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: Polydor (original label: Track)
The US version of Are You Experienced was significantly different than its UK counterpart. For one thing, the original UK album was originally mixed and sold as a monoraul LP. For the US version, engineers at Reprise Records, working from the multi-track masters, created all-new stereo mixes of about two-thirds of the album, along with all three of the singles that the Jimi Hendrix Experience had released in the UK. The third of these singles was The Wind Cries Mary, which had hit the British charts in February of 1967. When a stereo version of Are You Experienced became available in the UK and Europe, however, they did not use the Reprise mixes, instead using electronic rechannelling to create a simulated stereo sound. When Polydor decided that the band was taking too long on their third album, Electric Ladyland, the label put together a late 1967 release called Smash Hits that collected the band's four European singles and B sides, along with selected album tracks from Are You Experienced. For reasons unknown, rather than use Reprise's true stereo mix of The Wind Cries Mary, Polydor elected to create a new simulated stereo version for use on Smash Hits.
Artist: Magic Mixture
Title: (I'm So) Sad
Source: British import CD: Think I'm Going Weird (originally released on LP: This Is The Magic Mixture)
Writer(s): Jim Thomas
Label: Grapefruit (original label: Saga FID)
Formed in 1967, the Magic Mixture got its "big" break the following year, when they were approached by the owner of Saga FID about recording an album. Saga's studio, as it turned out, was actually the basement of the label owner, which was used during the week as a nursery, necessitating weekend recording sessions. Despite this, and the fact that Saga was a budget-priced label selling LPs for 10 shillings (about $1.20 US at the time), the album turned out quite well, as can be heard on (I'm So) Sad. And you thought only American garage bands got a bad deal from the record industry.
Title: Shaman's Blues
Source: CD: The Soft Parade
Writer: Jim Morrison
Often dismissed as the weakest entry in the Doors catalogue, The Soft Parade nonetheless is significant in that for the first time songwriting credits were given to individual band members. Shaman's Blues, in my opinion one of the four redeeming tracks on the album, is Jim Morrison's.
Title: Touch Me
Source: CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: The Soft Parade and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Robby Kreiger
The fourth Doors album, The Soft Parade, was a departure from their previous work. No longer would the entire band be credited for all the tracks the band recorded. In addition, the group experimented with adding horns and other studio embellishments. Nowhere is this more evident than on Touch Me, the only hit single from the album.
Title: The Soft Parade
Source: CD: The Soft Parade
Writer(s): Jim Morrison
The Doors caught a lot of flack from their fans for their departure from the style that made them popular when they released their fourth LP, The Soft Parade. Ironically, the track that most resembles their previous efforts was the nearly nine minute title track, which starts with one of Jim Morrison's best-known monologues. You cannot petition the Lord with prayer, indeed!
Title: Doctor Robert
Source: British import LP: Revolver (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Label: Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Dr. Robert is one of the few Beatles songs that was released in the US before it was released in the UK. The song was included on the US-only LP Yesterday...And Today, which came out in June of 1966. Most of the tunes on that album were tracks that had either been issued as singles or had appeared on the British versions of the band's two previous albums (Help! and Rubber Soul) but had been left off the US versions of those LPs. Dr. Robert, however, would not be released in the UK until the Revolver album came out in the fall. Concerning the subject matter of the song, John Lennon later claimed that he himself was Dr. Robert, as he was the one who carried the pills for the band in their early days. A likely story.
Artist: Status Quo
Title: Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source: Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Francis Rossi
Label: BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Cadet Concept)
If you have ever seen the film This Is Spinal Tap, the story of Britain's Status Quo might seem a bit familiar. Signed to Pye Records in 1967 the group scored a huge international hit with their first single, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, but were unable to duplicate that success with subsequent releases. In the early 1970s the band totally reinvented itself as a boogie band and began a run in the UK that resulted in them scoring more charted singles than any other band in history, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones. For all that, however, they never again charted in the US, where they are generally remembered as one-hit wonders. In addition to their UK success, Status Quo remains immensely popular in the Scandanavian countries, where they continue to play to sellout crowds on a regular basis.
Artist: Deep Purple
Source: CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Shades Of Deep Purple)
Writer: Joe South
Label: K-Tel (original label: Tetragrammaton)
British rockers Deep Purple scored a huge US hit in 1968 with their rocked out cover of Hush, a tune written by Joe South that had been an international hit for Billy Joe Royal the previous year. Oddly enough, the Deep Purple version of the tune was virtually ignored in their native England. The song was included on the album Shades Of Deep Purple, the first of three LPs to be released in the US on Tetragrammaton Records, a label partially owned by actor/comedian Bill Cosby. When Tetragrammaton folded shortly after the release of the third Deep Purple album, The Book Of Taleisyn, the band was left without a US label, and went through some personnel changes, including the addition of new lead vocalist Ian Gillian (who had sung the part of Jesus on the original Jesus Christ Superstar album), before signing to Warner Brothers and becoming a major force in 70s rock. Meanwhile, original vocalist Rod Evans hooked up with drummer Bobby Caldwell and two former members of Iron Butterfly to form Captain Beyond before fading from public view.
Artist: Buffalo Springfield
Title: Baby Don't Scold Me
Source: Mono CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer(s): Stephen Stills
When For What It's Worth became a big hit single in early 1967, Atco recalled all unsold copies of the first Buffalo Springfield album and re-released the LP with a new track order that included For What It's Worth. Of course, that meant that one of the original songs on the album had to be cut, and for years it has been somewhere between difficult and impossible to find the song that was deleted, a Stephen Stills composition called Baby Don't Scold Me. Now the album has been reissued on compact disc with both the original track order (in monoraul) and the revised listing (in stereo). As a result Baby Don't Scold Me is only available in mono, but probably sounds better than way anyway.
Title: The End
Source: Stereo 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s): Oran & Trevor Thornton
Flick was formed in the mid-90s by the Thornton brothers, Oran and Trevor, who had been performing as an acoustic duo. The new band, which included bassist Eve Hill and drummer Paul Adam McGrath, played its first show in December of 1996 and issued its first EP the following spring. In 1998 Flick released their first full-length album on the Columbia label. One of the tracks from that album, The End, was also issued as a single on 7" 45 RPM vinyl, a relatively unusual occurence in the late 1990s.
Artist: Romeo Void
Title: I Mean It
Source: LP: itsacondition
Formed in 1979 at the San Francisco Art Institute by vocalist Deborah Iyall and bassist Frank Zincavage, Romeo Void also included saxophonist Benjamin Bossi, guitarist Peter Woods, and a (shades of Spinal Tap!) succession of drummers. Their first LP, Itsacondition (sometimes referred to as It's A Condition) was released in 1981. I first ran across this album while doing a contemporary alternative rock show called Rock Nouveaux on KUNM in Albuquerque in the early 1980s. Although most of the album was fast-paced and punkish in nature, it was I Mean It, the haunting closing track from side one, that stood out from just about everything else that was happening musically at the time.
Artist: Stephen R Webb
Title: Jeremy Johnson
Source: CD: The Electric Dream Project
Writer(s): Stephen R Webb
Ever lay awake at night, trying not to think of things that scare the crap out of you, but of course thinking of nothing else? When that happens to a songwriter it can result in something like Jeremy Johnson. The scary thought in this instance was actually a question: what if some Jimmy Jones type got hold of a thermonuclear device and decided that if mass suicide was good enough for his own followers it would be even better for massive numbers of people, like the population of a large American city? I then started thinking about the followers of Charles Manson and came up with the idea of Sarah Lee Winston, a girl from a moderately wealthy, but emotionally lacking, family that is so devoted to Jeremy Johnson that she will commit any act, no matter how horrific, to please him. The ominous, slightly discordant music flowed naturally from the concept of the lyrics, and the song was first performed by the band Civilian Joe in 1986. The studio version of Jeremy Johnson, featuring Civilian Joe's Suzan Hagler on rhythm guitar and Stuck in the Psychedelic Era producer Stephen R Webb on everything else, was recorded at Albuquerque's Bottom Line Studio as part of the Electric Dream Project in 1987. I hope it scares the crap out of you, too.
Artist: Great Society
Title: You Can't Cry
Source: CD: Born To Be Burned
Writer: David Miner
The last person to join San Francisco's Great Society was also its most prolific songwriter. David Miner, who had been a postal worker prior to joining the band, brought along several songs that he had written in his native Texas, including You Can't Cry, which was one of many unreleased recordings made by the band in 1966. Miner also handles lead vocals on the tune.
Source: Mono German import CD: Love
Emotions, the last track on side one of the first Love album, sounds like it could have come directly from the soundtrack of one the spaghetti westerns that were popular with moviegoers in the mid-1960s. Probably not coincidentally, the instrumental is also the only Love recording to carry a writing credit for lead guitarist Johnny Echols (with the exception of the 17-minute jam Revelation on their second LP, which is credited to the entire band).
Artist: West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title: Tracy Had A Hard Day Sunday
Source: LP: Volume II
Once upon a time record producer Kim Fowley hired the Yardbirds to play a private Hollywood party. The Harris brothers, a pair of local art school students who had sent their homemade tapes to Fowley, were impressed by the band's musical abilities. Bob Markley, an almost-30-year-old hipster with a law degree and an inheritance was impressed with the band's ability to attract teenage girls. Fowley introduced the Harris brothers to Markley, who expressed a willingness to finance them in return for letting him be their new lead vocalist, and the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band was formed. Before it was all over the group had recorded five or six albums for at least three labels, churning out an eclectic mix of psychedelic tunes such as Tracy Had A Hard Day Sunday, which appeared on their second album for Reprise Records (their third LP overall), appropriately titled Volume II.
Artist: Savoy Brown
Title: Sunday Night
Source: CD: Looking In
Writer(s): Kim Simmonds
Label: Deram (original label: Parrot)
Despite being a British blues-rock band, Savoy Brown released their sixth LP, Looking In, to a US audience nearly two months before it was available anywhere else, including their native England. The album, which put more emphasis on hard rock than any other Savoy Brown LP, ended up being their most successful, hitting #50 in the UK and doing even better (#39) in the US. Songwriting duties were spread out among band members, with founder and lead guitarist Kim Simmonds supplying the instrumental Sunday Night, among other tunes. Not long after Looking In was released, Simmonds let the entire band go due to differences in opinion about the band's future musical direction. Savoy Brown, with an ever-changing lineup, would remain solidly based in the blues, while the new band formed by the other three members, Foghat, would continue in a more hard rocking vein.
Artist: Pink Floyd
Title: Astronomy Domine
Source: LP: A Nice Pair ( originally released on LP: Ummagumma)
Writer: Syd Barrett
in 1973, following the breakout success of Dark Side Of The Moon, Capitol Records decided to reissue the first two Pink Floyd albums (which had originally appeared on its Tower subsidiary) on the Harvest label under the title A Nice Pair. The problem was that, thanks to Tower's butchering of the band's first album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (retitling it Pink Floyd and omitting several tracks from the lineup) the US-based Capitol did not have access to all the material that had appeared on the British LP. One of the most glaring omissions was the album's original opening track, a Syd Barrett piece called Astronomy Domine. As a result, Capitol was forced to substitute a live recording of the song, taken from the 1969 album Ummagumma.
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: Plastic Raincoats/Hung Up Minds
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach (mono promo copy)
Writer(s): Ian Bruce-Douglas
If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Country Joe McDonald's ears must have been burning when the first Ultimate Spinach album hit the stands. Indeed, many of Ian Bruce-Douglas's compositions, such as Plastic Raincoats/Hung Up Minds, sound as if they could have been written by McDonald himself. Still, it was the 1960s and jumping on the bandwagon was almost a way of life (witness the dozens of Mick Jagger soundalikes popping up across the country in the wake of the British Invasion), so perhaps Bruce-Douglas can be forgiven for at least trying to copy something a bit more current. Unfortunately, M-G-M Records decided to tout Ultimate Spinach as part of a "Boss-Town Sound" that never truly existed, further damaging the group's credibility, and after a second LP, Bruce-Douglas left the band, which, strangely enough, continued on without him for several years, albeit in an entirely different musical direction.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Source: LP: The Best Of The Strawberry Alarm Clock
The story of the Strawberry Alarm Clock almost seems like a "best of" (or maybe "worst of") collection of things that could have happened to a band during the psychedelic era. Signed with a local label: check. Released single: check. Started getting airplay on local radio stations: check. Record picked up by major label for national distribution: check. Record becomes hit: check. Band gets to record an entire album: check. Album does reasonably well on charts, mostly due to popularity of single: check. Band gets to record second album, but with more creative freedom, thanks to previous successes: check. Single from second album does OK, but nowhere near as OK as first hit single: check. Second album fails to chart: check. Second single from second album charts lower than either previous single. Band soldiers on for a while longer, but never manages to duplicate success of first single: check. Band disbands: check. In the case of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, the hit single was huge. Incense And Peppermints is still one of the best known songs of 1967. The second single, Tomorrow, not so much, although it did indeed make the top 40, peaking at #23. Not that it's a bad song, by any means. But, to be honest, it's no Incense And Peppermints, either.
Title: Shapes Of Things
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Priority (original label: Epic)
Unlike earlier Yardbirds hits, 1966's Shapes Of Things was written by members of the band. The song, featuring one of guitarist Jeff Beck's most distinctive solos, just barely missed the top 10 in the US, although it was a top 5 single in the UK.
Title: Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl
Source: Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Laurie)
From Boston we have the Barbarians, best known for having a drummer named Victor "Moulty" Moulton, who wore a hook in place of his left hand (and was probably the inspiration for the hook-handed bass player in the cult film Wild In The Streets a few years later). In addition to Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl, which was their biggest hit, the Barbarians (or rather their record label) released an inspirational tune (inspirational in the 80s self-help sense, not the religious one) called Moulty that got some airplay in 1966 but later was revealed to have been the work of Bob Dylan's stage band, who would eventually be known as The Band, with only Moulty himself appearing on the record.
Artist: Warner Brothers
Title: Lonely I
Source: Mono CD: Oh Yeah! The Best Of Dunwich Records (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Label: Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Peoria, Ilinois, was home to the Warner Bros. Combo, a group made up of brothers Larry and Al Warner along with Tom Stovall and Ken Elam. They released their first single, a cover of Mairzy Doats backed with Three Little Fishes, on the local Kandy Kane label in 1963. The following year they released four singles on three different labels, including a re-release of their first single on the Hollywood-based Everest label. They released one single a year from 1965 to 1968 on four different Chicago-based labels, including a song called I Won't Be The Same Without Her for the Dunwich label in 1966. The B side of that single was Lonely I (the letter I, not the number 1). Oddly enough the word "lonely" never appears in this otherwise blatant swipe of Clarence "Frogman" Henry's Ain't Got No Home.