Sunday, May 28, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2322 (starts 5/29/31) 

    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)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    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)
Writer(s):    Alder/Wood
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1968
    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)
Year:    1967
    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)
Year:    1968
    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.
Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Ev'rybody's Gonna Be Happy
Source:    Mono LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    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
Title:    Trouble
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)
Year:    1966
    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)
Year:     1967
     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)
Year:    1968
    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.

Artist:      Doors
Title:     Shaman's Blues
Source:      CD: The Soft Parade
Writer:    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:     1969
     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.
Artist:    Doors
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
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    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.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Soft Parade
Source:    CD: The Soft Parade
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    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!

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Doctor Robert
Source:    British import LP: Revolver (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    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)
Year:    1967
    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
Title:    Hush
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)
Year:    1968
    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
Label:    Atco/Elektra
Year:    1966
    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.

Artist:    Flick
Title:    The End
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM promo single
Writer(s):    Oran & Trevor Thornton
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1998
    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
Writer(s):    Iyall/Zincavage/Woods/Bossi
Label:    415
Year:    1981
    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
Label:    WayWard
Year:    1987
    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
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    1966   
    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.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Emotions
Source:    Mono German import CD: Love
Writer(s):    Lee/Echols
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    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
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    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)
Year:    1970
    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
Label:     Harvest
Year:     1969
    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
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1968
    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
Title:    Tomorrow
Source:    LP: The Best Of The Strawberry Alarm Clock
Writer(s):    Weitz/King
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    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.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Shapes Of Things
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Samwell-Smith/Relf/McCarty
Label:    Priority (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    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.

Artist:     Barbarians
Title:     Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl
Source:     Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Morris/Morris
Label:     Rhino (original label: Laurie)
Year:     1965
     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)
Writer(s):    Warner
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    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.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2322 (starts 5/29/23) 

    Other than our opening tune from Dr. John, none of this week's tracks were released as singles, although a couple of them did appear as B sides. We start with a set from 1972 and follow it up with a shorter set from 1969, the go free-form to the finish line.

Artist:    Dr. John
Title:    Right Place Wrong Time
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Mac Rebenack
Label:    Atco
Year:    1973
    Mac Rebenack was a fixture on the New Orleans music scene for over 50 years. He first started performing publicly in his teens, lying about his age to able to play in some of the city's more infamous clubs. At age 13 he was expelled from Jesuit school and soon found work as a staff songwriter and guitarist for the legendary Aladdin label. In 1957, at age 16, he joined the musicians' union, officially beginning his professional career. In the early 1960s he got into trouble with the law and spent two years in federal prison. Upon his release he relocated to Los Angeles, due to an ongoing cleanup campaign in New Orleans that had resulted in most of the clubs he had previously played in being permanently shut down. While in L.A., Rebenack developed his Dr. John, the Night Tripper personna, based on a real-life New Orleans voodoo priest with psychedelic elements thrown in (it was 1968 after all). By the early 1970s Dr. John had developed a cult following, but was getting tired of the self-imposed limitations of his Night Tripper image. In 1972 he recorded an album of New Orleans cover songs, following it up with his most successful album, In The Right Place, in 1973. Produced by the legendary Allen Toussaint, In The Right Place provided Dr. John his most successful hit single, Right Place Wrong Time, which went into the top 10 in both the US and Canada and has remained one of the most recognizable tunes of the early 70s thanks to its use in various films over the years. Around this time he returned to New Orleans, but continued to record at some of the top studios in the country, both as a solo artist and as a session player, appearing on literally thousands of recordings over the years. Dr. John continued to perform until shortly before his death on June 6, 2019.

Artist:    Uriah Heep
Title:    The Wizard
Source:    LP: Demons And Wizards
Writer:    Hensley/Clarke
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1972
    Although Uriah Heep had been around since 1969, they didn't get much attention in the US until their Demons And Wizards album in 1972, which included their biggest hit, Easy Livin'. The Wizard, which opens the album, was the first of two singles released from the album. The song itself is a semi-acoustic tune about a wizard whose name is never given, but is thought to be either Merlin or Gandalf.

Artist:    Lou Reed
Title:    Wild Child
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Lou Reed and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Lou Reed
Label:    Sony Music (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1972
    Lou Reed's first album after leaving the Velvet Underground was made up mostly of new recordings of songs the VU had already recorded but not released, using British session musicians and members of other bands such as Yes. Familiar names on songs such as Wild Child include Steve Howe and Caleb Quaye on guitars and Rick Wakeman on piano.

Artist:    The Band
Title:    The Shape I'm In (live)
Source:    CD: Rock Of Ages
Writer(s):    Robbie Robertson
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1972
    Originally released on the album Stage Fright and as a 1970 single, Robbie Robertson's The Shape I'm In had become a mainstay of The Band's live performances by the time they recorded their first live album over a four-day period at the end of 1971. Rock Of Ages was released in August of 1972 as a double LP.

Artist:    Rare Bird
Title:    Epic Forest
Source:    British import CD: Spirit Of Joy (originally released on LP: Epic Forest)
Writer(s):    Rare Bird
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1972
    In late 1968 organist Graham Field placed a classified ad in a local music periodical looking for a pianist. In November David Kaffinetti responded to the ad, and the two of them began working on what would eventually become the band called Rare Bird. Yet more classified ads led to the eventual recruitment of vocalist/bassist Steve Gould and drummer Mark Ashton in August of 1969. Rare Bird was one of the first bands signed to Tony Stratton-Smith's Charisma label, but Field was not happy with the terms of the Charisma contract and left the band in 1971. After securing permission from Field to continue using the name Rare Bird, Gould and Kaffinetti recruited drummer Fred Kelly, guitarist Andy "Ced" Curtis and bassist Paul Karas to fill out the new lineup. This new version of Rare Bird signed with Polydor, releasing the album Epic Forest in 1972. Rare Bird was never a commercial success in their native England, however, and eventually disbanded in 1975.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Lodi
Source:    Mono LP: Chronicle (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and included on LP: Green River )
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    By 1969, Creedence Clearwater Revival had gone from being a minor attraction appearing at county fairs to being one of the most popular bands in the US. One indicator of the band's popularity is the fact that a song like Lodi, originally relegated to the B side of a 45 RPM single, is still instantly recognizable to a sizable number of people nearly 50 years after its initial release. The song's lyrics, describing a down on his luck musician stuck in a small town without the means of moving on, strikes a chord with anyone who has ever played in a bar band, making Lodi a truly timeless classic.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Picture Book
Source:    LP: The 1969 Warner/Reprise Songbook (originally released on LP: The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Warner Brothers (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society was the last studio album to feature the original Kinks lineup of Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife and Mick Avory. Released in November of 1968 in the UK and early 1969 in the US, it was one of the first rock concept albums, and marked the end of the band's transition from pop stars to cult favorites. Picture Book, also released as the B side of the album's first single, is about looking though an old photo album and reflecting on its contents. Ray Davies later said that the track was not originally intended to be a Kinks song due to it being autobiographical in nature. Despite being lauded by the rock press The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society was not a commercial success, and was outsold by The Kinks Greatest Hits, a compilation of their pre-1967 singles.

Artist:    Johnny Winter
Title:    I Love Everybody
Source:    LP: Second Winter
Writer(s):    Johnny Winter
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Following the success of Johnny Winter's self-titled Columbia debut LP, the guitarist went to work on a followup LP with a slightly expanded lineup. In addition to future Double Trouble member Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums, the group featured Winter's brother Edgar on keyboards. When it came time to set the final track lineup, however, they realized they had recorded more material than they could fit on a standard LP, but not enough for a double album. Not wanting to leave any of the material they had recorded off the album, they decided to release Second Winter as a three-sided LP (the fourth side being left totally blank). Although not a conventional solution, a listen to tracks like I Love Everybody (which opens side three of the LP) shows that it was totally justified.

Artist:    Quill
Title:    That's How I Eat
Source:    CD: Woodstock-40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer(s):    Quill
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2009
    Founded in Boston by brothers Jon and Dan Cole sometime around 1966 or 67, Quill was one of the first bands to hit the stage at the Woodstock Music And Arts Fair in 1969. In fact, their participation began before the festival itself, playing a series of goodwill concerts at nearly mental institutions, halfway houses and even a state prison on behalf of the concert promoters.  In addition to the Cole brothers, Quill included guitarist Norm Rogers, drummer Roger North and keyboardist/saxophonist/flautist Phil Thayer. Quill was an unusual band in that most of the band members were multi-instrumentalists, using various configurations as the needs of each song dictated. Primarily and East Coast band, Quill only released one studio album before the individual members moved on to other things, but are still remembered for songs like That's How I Eat.

Artist:    Firesign Theatre
Title:    Don Rococco's Oriental Anchovie Eyes
Source:    LP: The Three Faces Of Al
Writer(s):    Austin/Proctor/Bergman
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1984
    While David Ossman was off doing shows for NPR, the rest of the Firesign Theatre recorded a new Nick Danger adventure called The Three Faces Of Al in 1984. The album includes a short ad for Don Rococco's Oriental Anchovie Eyes, an attempt by Rocky Rococco to corner the anchovie market.

Artist:    Allman Brothers Band
Title:    I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town
Source:    CD: Idlewild South (deluxe edition) (originally released on CD: Live At Ludlow Garage 1970)
Writer(s):    Weldon/Jordan
Label:    Mercury/UMe (original label: Polydor)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1990
    When Polydor released a new deluxe edition of the 1970 Allman Brothers album Idlewild South, they gave buyers a real treat: the Live At Ludlow Garage album, recorded in 1970 and originally officially released in 1990 (although bootleg versions had by then been in circulation for several years). One of the tracks from that performance at the legendary Cincinnatti club that had never appeared on any Allman Brothers studio album was I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town, a song originally recorded in 1936 by Casey Bill Weldon and made famous by Louis Jordan as his first charted single in 1942.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    Over The Hills And Far Away
Source:    CD: Houses Of The Holy
Writer(s):    Page/Plant
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1973
    Although it was released in 1973 on the album Houses Of The Holy, Over The Hills And Far Away actually dates back to the 1970 songwriting sessions at Bron-Y-Aur that produced most of the music for the Led Zeppelin III album. The band started playing the song in concert in 1972 and released it as a single in advance of the Houses Of The Holy album in early 1973. Although it only got a lukewarm reception from the rock press when it was first released, Over The Hills And Far Away has since come to be regarded as one of Led Zeppelin's top songs, making several "best of" lists over the years.

Artist:    Poco
Title:    Here We Go Again
Source:    CD: Crazy Eyes
Writer(s):    Timothy B. Schmidt
Label:    Epic/Legacy
Year:    1973
    Here We Go Again was the lead single from the 1973 album Crazy Eyes. It was the first Timothy B. Schmidt composition to be released as a Poco A side. Schmidt would later become the only California native to be a member of the Eagles, a group that is considered the "quintessential" California band.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2321 (B25) (starts 5/22/23)

    Due to circumstances that aren't worth getting into, this week we have a contingency show recorded in 2018. It includes artists sets from the Beatles, Doors,  Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin (both with and without Big Brother And The Holding Company), and of course a mix of singles, B sides and album tracks from 1965-1970.

Artist:     Bob Dylan
Title:     Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:     LP: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Blonde On Blonde)
Writer:     Bob Dylan
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     Some of the best rock and roll songs of 1966 were banned on a number of stations for being about either sex or drugs. Most artists that recorded those songs claimed they were about something else altogether. In the case of Bob Dylan's Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35, "stoned" refers to a rather unpleasant form of execution (at least according to Dylan). On the other hand, Dylan himself was reportedly quite stoned while recording the song, having passed a few doobies around before starting the tape rolling. Sometimes I think ambiguities like this are why English has become the dominant language of commerce on the planet.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michaelski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    In the early 1960s the San Bernardino/Riverside area of Southern California (sometimes known as the Inland Empire), was home to a pair of rival top 40 stations, KFXM and KMEN. The newer of the two, KMEN, had a staff that included Ron Jacobs, who would go on to co-create the Boss Radio format (more music, less talk!), and Brian Lord, one of the first American DJs to champion British Rock. Lord arranged for copies of Beatles albums to be shipped to KMEN from record shops in London before they were released in the US, giving the station an edge over its competition in 1964. More importantly in the long term, Lord was the man responsible for setting up the Rolling Stones' first US gig (in San Bernardino). From 1965-67 Lord took a break from KMEN, moving north to the San Jose area. While there, he heard a local band playing in a small teen club and invited them to use his garage as a practice space. The band was Count Five, and, with Lord's help, they got a contract with L.A.'s Double Shot label, recording and releasing the classic Psychotic Reaction in 1966. Lord later claimed that this was the origin of the term "garage rock".

Artist:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals 1966-1968 (originally released on LP: Animalization and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals (and the first to use the name Eric Burdon And The Animals on the label), See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album that the song first appeared on) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    What Goes On
Source:    LP: Yesterday...And Today
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney/Starkey
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1965 (US release: 1966)
    Although John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote several songs for Ringo Starr to sing on their albums, only one actually conferred songwriting credits on the drummer. What Goes On, a country and western flavored tune, appeared in the UK on the Rubber Soul album, but was not included on the US version of that album. Instead, the song appeared on the 1966 album Yesterday...And Today, an LP that only came out in North America.

Artist:     Beatles
Title:     In My Life
Source:     CD: Rubber Soul
Writer:     Lennon/McCartney
Label:     Capitol/EMI
Year:     1965
    Rubber Soul was the first Beatles album to be made up entirely of songs written by the band members themselves, mostly John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Lennon's contributions in particular were starting to move away from the typical "young love" songs the band had become famous for. One of the best examples is In My Life, which is a nostalgic look back at Lennon's own past (although put in such a way that it could be universally applied). Despite never being released as a single, In My Life remains one of the most popular songs in the Beatles catalog.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Day Tripper
Source:    LP: Yesterday...And Today (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 prior to 1967 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 US and UK versions of the actual album, 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:    Yardbirds
Title:    For Your Love
Source:    Mono CD: British Beat (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Graham Gouldman
Label:    K-Tel (original label: Epic)
Year:    1965
    The last Yardbirds song to feature guitarist Eric Clapton, For Your Love was the group's first US hit, peaking in the #6 slot. The song did even better in the UK, peaking at #3. Following its release, Clapton left the Yardbirds, citing the band's move toward a more commercial sound and this song in particular as reasons for his departure (ironic when you consider songs like his mid-90s hit Change the World or his slowed down lounge lizard version of Layla). For Your Love was written by Graham Gouldman, who would end up as a member of Wayne Fontana's Mindbenders and later 10cc with Kevin Godley and Lol Creme.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Turn! Turn! Turn!
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Turn! Turn! Turn!)
Writer(s):    Pete Seeger
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
    After their success covering Bob Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man, the Byrds turned to an even more revered songwriter: the legendary Pete Seeger. Turn! Turn! Turn!, with lyrics adapted from the book of Ecclesiastes, was first recorded by Seeger in the early 60s, nearly three years after he wrote the song.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    I Don't Know Why (aka Don't Know Why I Love You)
Source:    CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released on LP: Metamorphosis)
Writer(s):    Wonder/Riser/Hunter/Hardaway
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 1975
    In 1969 Stevie Wonder released a single called Don't Know Why I Love You. Before the record could take off, however, several radio stations decided to instead play the B side of the record, a balled called My Cherie Amour. The song became, to that point, Wonder's biggest hit, and Don't Know Why I Love You quietly faded off into obscurity. Or rather it would have, if not for the fact that the Rolling Stones recorded their own version of the tune (retitling it I Don't Know Why) around the same time the Stevie Wonder version was released. The Stones, however, did not release the recording immediately. In fact, by the time the record was released (in 1975), the band was no longer associated with either London Records, which issued the recording, or Allen Klein, who had managed to gain control of all of the Stones' London era recordings, and did not authorize the recording to be released.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    The Lantern
Source:    CD: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones hit a bit of a commercial slump in 1967. It seemed at the time that the old Beatles vs. Stones rivalry (a rivalry mostly created by US fans of the bands rather than the bands themselves) had been finally decided in favor of the Beatles with the chart dominance of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band that summer. The Stones' answer to Sgt. Pepper's came late in the year, and was, by all accounts, their most psychedelic album ever. Sporting a cover that included a 5X5" hologram of the band dressed in wizard's robes, the album was percieved as a bit of a Sgt. Pepper's ripoff, possibly due to the similarity of the band members' poses in the holo. Musically Majesties was the most adventurous album the group ever made in their long history, amply demonstrated by songs like The Lantern. The Stones' next LP, Beggar's Banquet, was celebrated as a return to the band's roots.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    Most people today can't even imagine how much power Ed Sullivan had in the early to mid 1960s. Case in point. The Rolling Stones were scheduled to make an appearance on Sullivan's Sunday Evening variety show in early 1967. The band's current hit at the time was Let's Spend The Night Together. Sullivan, however, objected to the song's title and asked Mick Jagger to change the lyrics to "Let's Spend Some Time Together." Jagger complied with Sullivan's request. Can you imagine anyone telling Jagger to change his lyrics now?

Artist:     Canned Heat
Title:     Catfish Blues
Source:     LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Canned Heat)
Writer:     Robert Petway
Label:     United Artists (original label: Liberty)
Year     1967
     Like many other US cities in the 1960s, San Francisco had a small but enthusiastic community of blues record collectors. A group of them got together in 1966 to form Canned Heat, and made quite an impression when they played the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. This led to a contract with Liberty Records and an album consisting entirely of cover versions of blues standards. One standout track from that album is Robert Petway's Catfish Blues, expanded to over six minutes by the Heat.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Hampstead Incident
Source:    Mono British import CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1967
    The Beatles started a trend (one of many) when they used a harpsichord on the Rubber Soul album, released in December of 1965. By early 1967 it seemed that just about everyone had a song or two with the antique instrument featured on it. Unlike some of the recordings of the time, Hampstead Incident manages to use the harpsichord effectively without overdoing it.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Afternoon Tea
Source:    LP: Something Else
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    By 1967 the Kinks couldn't buy a hit single in the US, although they continued to chart in their native UK. Luckily, the people at Reprise Records continued to release the band's albums in the US, including Something Else, which contained some of Ray Davies best songwriting to date. Among the tasty tunes on the album was Afternoon Tea, a song that exemplifies the Davies style of writing at the time.
Artist:    Choir
Title:    It's Cold Outside
Source:    Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Daniel Klawon
Label:    Rhino (original label: Canadian-American)
Year:    1966
     In the mid 1990s Tom Hanks produced a movie called That Thing You Do, about a fictional band called the Wonders that managed to get one song on the national charts before fading off into obscurity. It was, of course, a tribute to the many bands from all over the country that had a similar story in the mid-1960s. One of those bands was The Choir, from Cleveland Ohio. Formed as the Mods in 1964, the Choir scored a regional hit with It's Cold Outside in 1966. The song was picked up for national distribution by Roulette Records in 1967 and was a moderate success.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Take It As It Comes
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    L.A.'s Whisky-A-Go-Go was the place to be in 1966. Not only were some of the city's hottest bands playing there, but for a while the house band was none other than the Doors, playing songs like Take It As It Comes. One evening in early August Jack Holzman, president of Elektra Records, and producer Paul Rothchild were among those attending the club, having been invited there to hear the Doors by Arthur Lee (who with his band Love was already recording for Elektra). After hearing two sets Holzman signed the group to a contract with the label, making the Doors only the second rock band to record for Elektra (although the Butterfield Blues Band is considered by some to be the first, predating Love by several months). By the end of the month the Doors were in the studio recording songs like Take It As It Comes for their debut LP, which was released in January of 1967.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The Unknown Soldier
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    One of the oddest recordings to get played on top 40 radio was the Door's 1968 release, The Unknown Soldier. The song is notable for having it's own promotional film made by keyboardist Ray Manzarek, who had been a film major at UCLA when the Doors were formed. It's not known whether the song was written with the film in mind (or vice versa), but the two have a much greater synergy than your average music video. As for the question of whether the Doors themselves were anti-war, let's just say that vocalist Jim Morrison, who wrote the lyrics to The Unknown Soldier, was pretty much anti-everything.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Light My Fire
Source:    LP: The Doors
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    Once in a while a song comes along that totally blows you away the very first time you hear it. The Doors' Light My Fire was one of those songs. I liked it so much that I immediately went out and bought the 45 RPM single. Not long after that I heard the full-length version of the song from the first Doors album and was blown away all over again.

Artist:    Wimple Winch
Title:    Save My Soul
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Christopholus/Kelman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1966
    Dee Fenton and the Silhouettes were a fairly typical merseybeat band formed in 1961 by Dee Christopholus, a Greek immigrant whose parents had moved to Liverpool in the 1950s. In 1963 they changed their name to the Four Just Men, which became the Just Four Men when they were signed to Parlophone the following year. After a pair of singles failed to make a dent in the British charts EMI (Parlophone's parent company) cut the band from its roster. Rather than disband, the group decided to reinvent themselves as a British counterpart to the many garage bands popping up in the US. Changing their name to Wimple Winch, the group released three singles on the Fontana label, the second of which was Save My Soul, released in June of 1966. All three singles did well in Liverpool but failed to make an impression elsewhere. The group finally decided to call it quits when Fontana dropped them in early 1967.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    D.C.B.A.-25
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    One of the first songs written by Paul Kantner without a collaborator was the highly listenable D.C.B.A.-25 from the album Surrealistic Pillow. Kantner later said the title simply refers to the basic chord structure of the song, which is built on a two chord verse (D and C) and a two chord bridge (B and A). That actually fits, but what about the 25 part? [insert enigmatic smile here]

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Medication
Source:    British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: The Inner Mystique)
Writer(s):    Alton/Ditosti
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    Backing tracks recorded 1968, lead vocals recorded 2005
    By early 1968 the Chocolate Watchband had fallen on hard times. In fact, the original group had disbanded, only to reform at the behest of Tower Records and producer Ed Cobb, who wanted to put out a second Watchband LP. In short order a new group featuring mostly former members of the Watchband was formed. Cobb, however, did not have the time to wait for the new lineup to gel and got to work on the album without them. In fact, the entire first side of The Inner Mystique was performed by studio musicians. Additionally, Cobb pulled out unreleased tapes from the archive to help fill out the album, including the original band's cover of a Standells tune called Medication. Like their earlier track Let's Talk About Girls, Medication featured studio vocalist Don Bennett rather than the band's actual lead vocalist, Dave Aguilar. It's not known for sure why the substitution was made, unless perhaps Cobb was feeling pressure from the rock press, which had dismissed Aguilar as a Mick Jagger wannabe. Finally, in 2005, Aguilar recorded brand new vocals to go with the original 1968 track.

Artist:    J.K. & Co.
Title:    Fly
Source:    CD: A Heavy Dose Of Lyte Psych (originally released on LP: Suddenly One Summer)
Writer(s):    Jay Kaye
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1969
            By 1969, some of the glamor had worn off the drug scene, with Pot and LSD giving way to amphetamines and cocaine as the drug of choice among many users. Jay Kaye, an expatriate Canadian fronting his own band in Los Angeles, recorded the album Suddenly One Summer, including the song Fly, as a way of documenting the horrors of hard drug use. Although Suddenly One Summer was not a commercial success, J.K. & Co. deserve props for daring to go against the grain long before it became fashionable to eschew drug use.

Artist:     James Gang
Title:     Woman
Source:     CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer(s):     Fox/Peters/Walsh
Label:     MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:     1970
     Woman, from the album James Gang Rides Again, is one of those songs that I associate with a particular place; in this case a coffee house in Alamogordo, NM, where I could often be found hanging out during my senior year in high school. The place had a room with an old console stereo in it, and a stack of half a dozen albums that someone had donated. Side one of James Gang Rides Again must have been played a hundred times on that thing, often over and over when everybody was too stoned to get up to change the record. 

Artist:    Janis Joplin (with the Full Tilt Boogie Band)
Title:    Half Moon
Source:    LP: Pearl
Writer(s):    John & Johanna Hall
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1971
    Half Moon was the B side of Janis Joplin's biggest-selling single, Me And Bobby McGee. As such, it is one of Joplin's best known songs from the Pearl album. The song itself was written (with his wife Johanna) by John Hall, who later went on to form his own band, Orleans, which scored major hits in the late 1970s with Dance With Me and Still The One, both of which were written by Hall. In 1977 Hall left Orleans to pursue a solo career, becoming active in the anti-nuclear movement as well, co-founding Musicians United for Safe Energy with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Graham Nash. While living in Saugerties, NY, he co-founded two citizens' groups, which led to his election to the Saugerties Board of Education. Hall continued to write songs, both for himself and other artists, while simultaneously pursuing a political career that led to him serving two terms in the US House of Representatives.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    I Need A Man To Love
Source:    CD: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Joplin/Andrew
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Big Brother and the Holding Company recorded their first album at the Chicago studios of Mainstream records in 1967. Mainstream, however, was a jazz label and their engineers had no idea how to make a band like Big Brother sound the way they did when performing live. When the band signed to Columbia the following year it was decided that the best way to record the band was onstage. Unfortunately, none of the live recordings the band made were considered good enough to be released, so they ended up making studio versions of most of the songs, including I Need A Man To Love, and then added ambient audience noise to them to make them sound like live recordings. Apparently it worked, as the resulting album, Cheap Thrills, ended up being the most successful album of 1968.

Artist:    Janis Joplin (with the Full Tilt Boogie Band)
Title:    Cry Baby
Source:    LP: Pearl
Writer(s):    Ragovoy/Berns
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1971
    Janis Joplin's only hit single with Big Brother and the Holding Company was Piece Of My Heart, a song written by legendary songwriters Jerry Ragavoy and Bert Berns. For her 1971 album Pearl, Joplin went with an earlier collaboration between the two that had originally been a hit in the early 60s for Garnet Mimms. Within a few months Cry Baby had become so thoroughly identified with Joplin that few even remembered Mimms's version of the song.

Artist:     Brogues
Title:     I Ain't No Miracle Worker
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Tucker/Mantz
Label:     Rhino (original label: Challenge)
Year:     1965
     Over a year before the Electric Prunes recorded I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), the songwriting team of Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz came up with a song that has come to be regarded as a garage-punk classic. I Ain't No Miracle Worker, recorded by the Merced, California band the Brogues, was a modest regional hit in 1965. Brogues vocalist/guitarist Gary Cole (using the name Gary Duncan) and drummer Greg Elmore would resurface a few months later in San Francisco as founding members of Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Artist:    Euphoria
Title:    Hungry Women
Source:    British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Wesley Watt
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1966
            Euphoria was the brainchild of multi-instrumentalists Wesley Watt and Bill Lincoln. The band existed in various incarnations, starting in 1966. Originally based in San Francisco, the group, minus Lincoln, relocated to Houston in early summer of 1966, only to return a couple months later with a pair of new members pirated from a band called the Misfits that had gotten in trouble with local law enforcement officials. Around this time they were discovered by Bob Shad, who was out on the west coast looking for acts to sign to his Chicago-based Mainstream label. The band recorded four songs at United studios, two of which, Hungry Women and No Me Tomorrow, were issued as a single in late 1966. The following year both songs appeared in stereo on Shad's Mainstream showcase LP With Love-A Pot Of Flowers, along with tunes from several other acts that Shad had signed in 1966.
Artist:    John Fred & His Playboy Band
Title:    AcHendall Riot
Source:    LP: Agnes English
Writer(s):    Fred/Bernard
Label:    Paula
Year:    1967
    Although primarily remembered as a one-hit wonder, John Fred actually had a long career in the music business, dating back to 1956 when he formed John Fred And The Playboys at the age of 15. His first charted single was Shirley, released in March of 1959. Fred, who was a high school (and later college) athletic star, actually turned down an opportunity to appear on American Bandstand to promote the song because he had to play in a basketball game. In 1967 he changed the name of the band to John Fred & His Playboy Band to avoid being confused with Gary Lewis And The Playboys and had the biggest hit of his career with Judy In Disguise (With Glasses). This led to an album called Agnes English which feature tunes like AcHendall Riot. Although he was never able to equal the success of the #1 Judy In Disguise, he continued to be active in his native Baton Rouge, Louisiana, both as a musician and as a high school baseball and basketball coach. He also hosted a popular radio show, The Roots Of Rock 'N' Roll, and produced records for other artists such as Irma Thomas and Fats Domino before his death in 2005 from complications following a kidney transplant. In 2007 John Fred became the first artist inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2321 (B25) (starts 5/22/23) 

    This week we go in search of a little help from friends and end up spending a whole lot of time in 1969.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    The Mule
Source:    LP: Fireball
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1971
    Although best known for its drum solo when performed live, The Mule, as originally recorded by Deep Purple for the album Fireball, is more of a showcase for guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and keyboardist Jon Lord. In fact, Ian Paice's original drum tracks for the song, recorded in January of 1971, were partially erased and had to be re-recorded on a rented drum kit, since his own drum set was already on its way to Europe (for the band's next tour) when the mistake happened. Vocalist Ian Gillan once introduced the song as being about Lucifer, but later confirmed that it was actually based on Isaac Asimov's character from his Foundation series.

Artist:      Jimi Hendrix Experience (II)
Title:     Astro Man
Source:      CD: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: The Cry Of Love)
Writer:    Jimi Hendrix
Label:     MCA/Experience Hendrix
Year:     1971
     A little known fact about Jimi Hendrix is that he was a comic book fan. Astro Man, from the 1971 LP The Cry Of Love, reflects that aspect of the man. The track, recorded in 1970, features Billy Cox on bass, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Juma Sultan on additional percussion.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Fat Man
Source:    LP: "M.U." The Best Of Jethro Tull (originally released on LP: Stand Up)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    After the departure of original guitarist Mick Abrahams from Jethro Tull following their debut LP, vocalist/flautist Ian Anderson wrote and recorded a song called Fat Man. The tune, which appears on the second Jethro Tull album, Stand Up, is mostly a solo piece by Anderson, who later claimed that the song, which made fun of Abrahams' size, was not meant to be an insult. Then again, Anderson has never been known for his tact, and included Fat Man on the 1975 compilation album  "M.U." The Best Of Jethro Tull.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    In Search Of The Lost Chord (side one)
Source:    CD: In Search Of The Lost Chord
Writer(s):    Edge/Lodge/Thomas
Label:    Deram
Year:    1968
    The Moody Blues followed up their groundbreaking album Days Of Future Past with another concept album, this time tackling the subjects of search and discovery from various perspectives. In Search Of The Lost Chord opens with Departure, a poem by percussionist Graeme Edge. Normally Edge's poems were recited by Mike Pinder on the band's albums, but here Edge recites his own work, ending in maniacal laughter as the next track, Ride My See-Saw, fades in. Ride My See-Saw, written by bassist John Lodge, is one of the Moody Blues' most popular songs, and is often used as an encore when the band performs in concert. Dr. Livingstone I Presume is a bit of a change in pace from flautist Ray Thomas, about the famous African explorer. Oddly enough, there is no flute on the track. From there the album proceeds to Lodge's House Of Four Doors, one of the most complex pieces ever recorded by the group. Each verse of the song ends with the opening of a door (the sound effect having been created on a cello), followed by an interlude from a different era of Western music, including Minstrel, Baroque and Classical. The fourth door opens into an entirely different song altogether, Ray Thomas's 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. The album's first side concludes with the final section of House Of Four Doors.

Artist:    Joe Cocker
Title:    With A Little Help From My Friends
Source:    CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm (originally released on Woodstock soundtrack album)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1969
    One of the most famous performances at Woodstock was instrumental in converting Joe Cocker from second tier British singer/bandleader to international superstar. This 2009 release of the live recording of With A Little Help From My Friends is virtually identical to what was originally included on the movie soundtrack album in the early 70s.

Artist:    B.B. King
Title:    Don't Answer The Door
Source:    LP: Live & Well
Writer(s):    James F. Johnson
Label:    ABC/BluesWay
Year:    1969
    When recording engineer Bill Szymczyk left his job with Jerry Ragavoy's Hit Factory to become a producer for ABC Records (taking a large pay cut in the process) he did so with a specific goal in mind: to work with his idol, B.B. King. Their first album together was called Live & Well, with one side of the LP recorded live at the Village Gate in New York City and the other a collection of studio tracks recorded at the Hit Factory. The opening track of the album is a tune called Don't Answer The Door, originally recorded by California-based bluesman James F. "Jimmy" Johnson (not to be confused with blues guitarist Jimmy Johnson or bassist Jimmy Johnson; you'd think at least one of those guys would have changed their name).

Artist:    Fleetwood Mac
Title:    Searching For Madge
Source:    CD: Then Play On
Writer(s):    John McVie
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    Fleetwood Mac was founded by Peter Green in 1967. Green had been a member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and as a Christmas gift, Mayall bought Green some studio time to use as he saw fit. Green used the time to record a set of tunes with drummer Mick Fleetwood and guitarist Jeremy Spencer in the hope that the three of them might form a new band. Green chose the name Fleetwood Mac as a way of enticing Bluesbreakers bassist John McVie into joining the band as well. It wasn't until after the album was released and the new band started getting gigs that McVie did indeed come on board, eventually bringing his future wife Christine Perfect into the band as well. In 1969 another guitarist, Danny Kirwan, joined the lineup for Then Play On, the first Fleetwood Mac LP to be released in the US. It was also Green's last album with the band. Two of the tracks on Then Play On are actually sections of a long jam session, both containing the word Madge in their official title. The longer of these is Searching For Madge, which runs nearly seven minutes.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Poor Girl
Source:    CD: Looking In
Writer(s):    Kim Simmonds
Label:    Deram (original label: Parrot)
Year:    1970
     Poor Girl, from the 1970 album Looking In, is probably Savoy Brown's best known recording. Shortly after Looking In was released, the entire band except for leader Kim Simmonds left Savoy Brown to form a new band: Foghat.

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2320 (starts 5/15/23)

    This week we have a whole lot of good music from 1965-1970, including three separate artists' sets. Who needs more than that?

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic folk-rock to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Velvet Illusions
Title:    Acid Head
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Weed/Radford
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tell, also released on Metromedia Records)
Year:    1967
    Showing an obvious influence by the Electric Prunes (a suburban L.A. band that was embraced by the Seattle crowd as one of their own) the Velvet Illusions backtracked the Prunes' steps, leaving their native Yakima and steady gigging for the supposedly greener pastures of the City of Angels. After a few months of frustration in which the band seldom found places to practice, let alone perform, they headed back to Seattle to cut Acid Head before calling it quits.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    D.C.B.A.-25
Source:    LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s):    Paul Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1967
    One of the first songs written by Paul Kantner without a collaborator was the highly listenable D.C.B.A.-25 from the album Surrealistic Pillow. Kantner later said the title simply refers to the basic chord structure of the song, which is built on a two chord verse (D and C) and a two chord bridge (B and A). That actually fits, but what about the 25 part? [insert enigmatic smile here]

Artist:    Mike Proctor
Title:    Mr. Commuter
Source:    Mono CD: Insane Times (originally released as 45 PM single)
Writer(s):    Roker/Littlewood
Label:    EMI (original UK label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    In the US, the psychedelic era is generally considered to cover the years 1965 through 1969, more or less, and includes the garage/punk movement as well as early forms of hard rock, heavy metal and progressive rock. In the UK, on the other hand, the psychedelic era covers a much shorter time period, 1966-68, and is defined by two Beatles albums: Revolver at the beginning and the White album at the end. In between there were a variety of artists, many of whom made only one album (or even one single). Among these is classically-trained pianist Mike Proctor, whose Mr. Commuter was released in mid 1967 on EMI's Columbia label. Proctor hooked up with a couple bands after releasing the single, but never again recorded for a major label.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    She's Got Everything
Source:    CD: The Kink Kronikles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although recorded in 1966 at sessions for the Face To Face LP, She's Got Everything was shelved until 1968, when the Kinks released it as the B side of Days, one of many singles on the Reprise label that went virtually unnoticed in the US. After the Kinks signed a five-album deal with RCA Victor in 1971, Reprise compiled a double LP collection of Kinks recordings from 1966-1971 called The Kink Kronikles that included, for the first time, a stereo mix of She's Got Everything. The song itself is a deliberate throwback to the band's early sound.

Artist:    Max Frost And The Troopers aka The 13th Power
Title:    Shape Of Things To Come
Source:    CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released on LP: Wild In The Streets soundtrack)
Writer(s):    Mann/Weil
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Max Frost was a politically savvy rock star who rode the youth movement all the way to the White House, first through getting the support of a hip young Senator, then getting the age requirements for holding high political office lowered to 21, and finally lowering the voting age to 14. Everyone over 30 was locked away in internment camps, similar to those used during WWII by various governments to hold those of questionable loyalty to the current regime. What? You don't remember any of that? You say it sounds like the plot of a cheapie late 60s teen exploitation flick? Right on all counts. "Wild in the Streets", released in 1968, starred Christopher Jones as the rock star, Hal Holbrook as the hip young senator, and a Poseidon Adventure-sized Shelly Winter as the rock star's interred mom. Richard Pryor, in his film debut, played the band's drummer/political activist Stanley X. Shape Of Things To Come was a surprise hit single taken from the film, and was long thought to be the work of studio musicians under the supervision of Mike Curb, but is now known to have been recorded by an actual band called the 13th Power, led by vocalist/songwriter Paul Wibier, that had released a single called I See A Change Is Gonna Come for Curb's own Sidewalk label the previous year.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    The Last Time
Source:    CD: Big Brother And The Holding Company (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Janis Joplin
Label:    Columbia/Legacy (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Big Brother And The Holding Company had recently released their debut LP on Bob Shad's Mainstream label when they appeared at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967. This appearance was well-received and led to a contract with the much larger Columbia label, which then bought out the band's original contract with Mainstream. Shad wasn't quite done with Big Brother And The Holding Company, however. The band had already recorded a pair of songs for a projected single when they signed with Columbia, and in January of 1968 the song Coo Coo, backed with The Last Time, was released as a single on the Mainstream label. Two years later Columbia re-released the band's first album, with Coo Coo and The Last Time added to the original track list.

Artist:    Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title:    Anything
Source:    CD: Retrospective (originally released on LP: Winds Of Change)
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:    Abkco (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1967
    The first album by the "new" Eric Burdon And The Animals, Winds Of Change, included three songs that were released as singles, however only one of the three got airplay in both the US and the UK. The US-only single was a song that Eric Burdon has since said was the one he was most proud of writing, a love generation song called Anything. In fact Burdon liked the song well enough to re-record it for a solo album in 1995.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Ashes The Rain And I
Source:    CD: James Gang Rides Again
Writer(s):    Joe Walsh
Label:    MCA (original label: ABC)
Year:    1970
    For their second LP, James Gang Rides Again, the band decided to devote the entire second of the LP to some new acoustic tunes that guitarist Joe Walsh had been working on. The grand finale of the album was Ashes The Rain And I, a tune that embellishes Walsh's guitar and vocals with strings arranged by Jack Nitzsche.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Can't Buy Me Love
Source:    Mono CD: A Hard Day's Night (also released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone (original label: United Artists) (original single label: Capitol)
Year:    1964
    In April of 1964 the Beatles set a record that has yet to be equaled: they owned the top five spots on the US charts. The song at the top of that heap of tunes was Can't Buy Me Love, which had been recorded just as Beatlemania was beginning to take hold in the US. Can't Buy Me Love was the third consecutive # 1 hit for the Beatles, an accomplishment that has never been repeated.

Artist:        Beatles
Title:        The Word
Source:    CD: Rubber Soul
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:        Capitol/EMI
Year:        1965
        The original concept for the album Rubber Soul was to show the group stretching out into R&B territory. The US version of the album, however, deleted several of the more soulful numbers in favor of folk-rock oriented songs. This was done by Capitol records mainly to cash in on the sudden popularity of the genre in 1965. Not all of the more R&B flavored songs were replaced, however. John Lennon's The Word appeared on both US and UK versions of Rubber Soul.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Abbey Road Medley #2
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    The Beatles had been experimenting with songs leading into other songs since the Sgt. Pepper's album. With Abbey Road they took it a step further, with side two of the album containing two such medleys (although some rock historians treat it as one long medley). The second one consists of three songs credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney: Golden Slumbers is vintage McCartney, while Carry That Weight has more of a Lennon feel to it. The final section,The End, probably should have been credited to the entire band, as it contains the only Ringo Starr drum solo on (a Beatles) record as well as three sets of alternating lead guitar solos (eight beats each) from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and John Lennon (in that order).

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Cowgirl In The Sand
Source:    LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer:    Neil Young
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1969
    It has been said that adverse conditions are conducive to good art. Certainly that truism applies to Neil Young's Cowgirl In The Sand, written while Young was running a 102 degree fever. Almost makes you want to get sick yourself, doesn't it?

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    One For John Gee
Source:    CD: This Was (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Mick Abrahams
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1968
    Ian Anderson, in his liner notes to the remastered version of Jethro Tull's 1968 debut album, This Was, credits BBC disc jockey John Peel and Marquee Club manager John Gee for their help in gaining an audience for the band in their early days. While making This Was the band recorded a tribute track, One For John Gee, that was not included on the original LP but is now available as a CD bonus track. The short instrumental was written by the band's original guitarist, Mick Abrahams, who left the group shortly after the release of This Was to form his own band, Blodwyn Pig.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow
Source:    LP: Incense And Peppermints
Writer(s):    Bunnell/Bartek
Label:    Sundazed/Uni
Year:    1967
    The song Incense And Peppermints was originally a B side released in 1967 on the regional All-American label in southern California. DJs began flipping the record over, however, and the song soon attracted the interest of the people at MCA, who reissued the record on their Uni label. The song was such a huge national hit that Uni gave the band the go ahead to record an entire album. That album, also titled Incense And Peppermints, contained several fine songs, including Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow. This unsung psychedelic classic opens with a flute solo from Steve Bartek, who co-wrote Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow. Strange as it may seem, Bartek was not considered a member of the Strawberry Alarm Clock, although he co-wrote (with bass player George Bunnell) four of the album's 12 tracks and plays on most of them.

Artist:    Wilson Pickett
Title:    Land Of 1000 Dances
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Chris Kenner
Label:    Atlantic    
Year:    1966
    In the early 90s I did a short stint as program director for a slowly-dying full-service AM station in northeastern North Carolina. The station's music format had been Adult Contemporary since the early 70s, but in recent years had been surpassed in the local ratings by their own FM station. My idea was to get rid of the current stuff and concentrate on the station's fairly extensive library that dated back to the early 60s. One song that I wanted to put into rotation was Wilson Pickett's version of Chris Kenner's Land Of 1000 Dances, which had gotten extensive airplay on both top 40 and R&B stations in 1966. The station's owner and general manager, whose own musical tastes ran to what is known as "beach music" (a kind of soft R&B music that gave rise to a dance called the Shag), objected to my wanting to play the song, saying "That's not soul, it's hard rock."  As he was the guy signing my paycheck I didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter, but to this day whenever I hear "1,2,3" followed by the blaring horns of the Bar-Kays and the following buildup by the MGs to Pickett's James Brown-styled vocals I can't help but think of that former boss and his condemnation of the record as "hard rock".

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Tales Of Brave Ulysses
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer:    Clapton/Sharp
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Cream was one of the first bands to break British tradition and release singles that were also available as album cuts. This tradition likely came about because 45 RPM records (both singles and extended play 45s) tended to stay in print indefinitely in the UK, unlike in the US, where a hit single usually had a shelf life of around 2-3 months then disappeared forever. When the Disraeli Gears album was released, however, the song Strange Brew, which leads off the LP, was released in Europe as a single. The B side of that single was Tales Of Brave Ulysses, which opens side two of the album.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    White Room (single version)
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    United Artists (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    In order to get songs played on top 40 radio, record companies made it a practice to shorten album cuts by cutting out extended instrumental breaks and extra verses. This version of the Cream classic White Room, clocking in at just over three minutes, is a typical example.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Outside Woman Blues
Source:    LP: Disraeli Gears
Writer(s):    Arthur Reynolds
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Although Cream's second album, Disraeli Gears, is best known for its psychedelic cover art and original songs such as Strange Brew, Sunshine Of Your Love and Tales of Brave Ulysses, the LP did have one notable blues cover on it. Outside Woman Blues was originally recorded by Blind Joe Reynolds in 1929 and has since been covered by a variety of artists including Van Halen, Johnny Winters, Jimi Hendrix and even the Atlanta Rhythm Section.
Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Subterranean Homesick Blues
Source:    Mono LP: Bringing It All Back Home
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1965
    1965 was the year Bob Dylan went electric, and got his first top 40 hit, Subterranean Homesick Blues, in the process. Although the song, which also led off his Bringing It All Back Home album, stalled out in the lower 30s, it did pave the way for electrified cover versions of Dylan songs by the Byrds and Turtles and Dylan's own Like A Rolling Stone, which would revolutionize top 40 radio. A line from the song itself, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows", became the inspiration for a radical offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) that called itself the Weathermen (later the Weather Underground). My own favorite line from the song is "Don't follow leaders, watch the parkin' meters". Words to live by.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Queen Jane Approximately
Source:    CD: Highway 61 Revisited
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    The thing that stands out to me about Bob Dylan's Queen Jane Approximately from his Highway 61 Revisited album is the fact that somebody's guitar is badly out of tune throughout the song. Yes, the song has sufficiently deep, meaningful lyrics (it is Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, after all), and the rhyming structure is unique, but all I can hear is that out of tune guitar.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    On The Road Again
Source:    Mono LP: Bringing It All Back Home
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Sundazed/Columbia
Year:    1965
    On January 14, 1965, Bob Dylan made his first recordings with an electric band at Columbia Records' Studio B. The following day, using mostly the same musicians, he recorded On The Road Again. The song, basically a declaration of indepence from his role as a folk singer, contains the lines "You ask why I don't live here. Honey, how come you don't move?".

Artist:    Joni Mitchell
Title:    The Circle Game
Source:    LP: Ladies Of The Canyon
Writer(s):    Joni Mitchell
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1970
    Singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell wrote The Circle Game in 1966 in response to Neil Young's Sugar Mountain, a lament about leaving one's teen years behind. The song had already been recorded by several other artists, including Tom Rush and Buffy Sainte-Marie before Mitchell herself got around to recording it herself for her 1970 album Ladies Of The Canyon. Mitchell's version features the Lookout Mountain United Downstairs Choir (alias Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) on background vocals.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Let Me Be
Source:    CD: Songs Of Protest (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:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    I'm Gonna Make You Mine
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Carr/D'errico/Sager
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Possibly the loudest rockin' recordings of 1966 came from the Shadows of Knight. A product of the Chicago suburbs, the Shadows (as they were originally known) quickly established a reputation as the region's resident bad boy rockers (lead vocalist Jim Sohns was reportedly banned from more than one high school campus for his attempts at increasing the local teen pregnancy rate). After signing a record deal with the local Dunwich label, the band learned that there was already a band called the Shadows and added the Knight part (after their own high school sports teams' name). Their first single was a cover of Van Morrison's Gloria that changed one line ("around here" in place of "up to my room") and thus avoided the mass radio bannings that had derailed the original Them version of the song. I'm Gonna Make You Mine was the second follow up to Gloria, but its lack of commercial success consigned the Shadows to one-hit wonder status until years after the band's breakup, when they finally got the recognition they deserved as one of the founding bands of garage/punk, and perhaps its greatest practicioner.

Artist:    Status Quo
Title:    Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Francis Rossi
Label:    Rhino (original label: Cadet Concept)
Year:    1967
    The band with the most charted singles in the UK is not the Beatles or even the Rolling Stones. It is, in fact, Status Quo, quite possibly the nearest thing to a real life version of Spinal Tap currently in existence. Except for Pictures of Matchstick Men, the group has never had a hit in the US. On the other hand, they remain popular in Scandanavia, playing to sellout crowds on a regular basis (yes, they are still together).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Stray Cat Blues
Source:    LP: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    As a military dependent overseas I had access to the local Base Exchange. The downside of buying albums there was that they were always a month or two behind the official stateside release dates getting albums in stock. The upside is that the BX had a special of the month that was always a relatively new release for sale at something like 40% off the regular album price. The December 1968 special was the newest release from the Rolling Stones, the soon-ro-be-classic Beggar's Banquet, that I picked up for a whopping $1.50. Full-priced albums on the racks that month included the latest releases by the Beatles (white album), Hendrix (Electric Ladyland) and Cream (Wheels of Fire). I bought the Beatles and Stones albums and made copies of the Hendrix and Cream albums lent to me by friends who were impressed by the fact that I had access to a reel to reel tape recorder in the first place.

Artist:    Led Zeppelin
Title:    How Many More Times
Source:    LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Led Zeppelin)
Writer(s):    Page/Jones/Bonham
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1969
    Like many early Led Zeppelin songs, How Many More Times was originally credited to the band members (except, for contractual reasons, singer Robert Plant). More recent releases of the song, however, list Chester Burnett (Howlin' Wolf) as a co-writer, despite the fact that he and the members of Led Zeppelin had never met. This is because of the similarity, especially in the lyrics, to a 1951 Howlin' Wolf record called How Many More Years. The band reportedly tried to trick radio programmers into playing the eight and a half minute song by listing it on the album cover as being three minutes and thirty seconds long. I doubt anyone was fooled.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    Faro
Source:    CD: Stonedhenge
Writer(s):    Leo Lyons
Label:    Deram/Polygram
Year:    1969
    Ten Years After's fourth LP, Stonedhenge, features six tracks by the entire band alternating with one solo track each from the band's four members. Bassist Leo Lyons's piece is called Faro (possibly a corruption of "far out", although it's entirely possible it is a reference to jazz bassist Scott LaFaro), and consists of a melody played on a string bass backed by single notes plucked on an electric bass. There is also foot tapping throughout the entire minute-long piece, and a surprise ending which you'll just have to experience for yourself.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Skip Softly (My Moonbeams)
Source:    CD: Shine On Brightly
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M/Rebound
Year:    1968
    Procol Harum is not generally thought of as a novelty act. The closest they ever came was this track from the Shine On Brightly album that steals shamelessly from a classical piece I really should know the name of but don't. Even then, Skip Softly (My Moonbeams) ends up being as much a showcase for a then-young Robin Trower's guitar work as anything else.

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    House For Everyone
Source:    CD: Heaven Is In Your Mind (aka Mr. Fantasy)
Writer(s):    Dave Mason
Label:    Island (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1967
    Although Traffic is now known mostly as a Steve Winwood band, many of their earliest songs were the creation of guitarist Dave Mason, whose songs tended to be a bit more psychedelic than Winwood's. One example is House For Everyone from the band's 1967 debut LP, which creatively uses tape edits to simulate a music box being wound up with short snippets of song sneaking through between turns of the key at the beginning of the track (not to mention the "winding down" at the end of the track).