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
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
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".
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)
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.
Title: What Goes On
Source: LP: Yesterday...And Today
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.
Title: In My Life
Source: CD: Rubber Soul
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.
Title: Day Tripper
Source: LP: Yesterday...And Today (originally released as 45 RPM single)
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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
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
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
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)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
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)
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.
Title: Hampstead Incident
Source: Mono British import CD: Mellow Yellow
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original US label: Epic)
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.
Title: Afternoon Tea
Source: LP: Something Else
Writer: Ray Davies
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.
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)
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.
Title: Take It As It Comes
Source: LP: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
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.
Title: The Unknown Soldier
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer: The Doors
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.
Title: Light My Fire
Source: LP: The Doors
Writer(s): The Doors
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: Fontana)
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
Source: LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer(s): Paul Kantner
Label: RCA Victor
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
Source: British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released on LP: The Inner Mystique)
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.
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)
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
Source: CD: James Gang Rides Again
Label: MCA (original label: ABC)
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
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
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
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.
Title: I Ain't No Miracle Worker
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
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.
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)
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
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.
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