Sunday, June 25, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2326 (starts 6/26/23) 

    This week we have a different kind of Advanced Psych segment. Rather than the usual three tunes, we have only one, but it takes up an entire segment of the show. As always, the rest of the show is a mixture of singles, B sides and album tracks, including a handful of tunes never played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before.

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

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Miss Amanda Jones
Source:    LP: Between The Buttons
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    The only thing I have to say about Miss Amanda Jones is that it is one of my favorite tracks on the 1967 Rolling Stones album Between The Buttons. Come to think of it, that kind of says it all anyway.

Artist:    Peanut Butter Conspiracy
Title:    You Can't Be Found
Source:    CD: The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading/The Great Conspiracy (original LP: The Great Conspiracy)
Writer(s):    Alan Brackett
Label:    Collectables (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    Originally formed in 1964 as Ashes, the Peanut Butter Conspiracy was a popular Los Angeles club band. Signed to Columbia in late 1966, the group recorded two LPs for the label, both of which were released in 1967. Critics generally agree that the second album, on which the band was given more artistic freedom, was the better of the two. The first album, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy Is Spreading, did have its high points however, such as bassist Alan Brackett's You Can't Be Found. By the time a third album was released in 1969, both the membership and the record label had changed. The PBC disbanded the following year.

Artist:    Hysterics
Title:    Everything's There
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    David Donaghue
Label:    Rhino (original label: Bing)
Year:    1965
    Much as San Jose, California had its own thriving teen-oriented music scene within the greater San Francisco media market, the San Bernardino/Riverside area of Southern California, sometimes called the Inland Empire, was home to several local bands that were able to score recording contracts with various small labels in the area. Among those were the Hysterics, who recorded four songs for two separate labels in 1965. The best of those was Everything's There, which appeared as the B side of the second single issued by the band. At some point, Everything's There was reissued (along with the A side of the first record, That's All She Wrote) on yet a third label, but this time credited to the Love Ins. Such was the state of the indy record business in 1965.

Artist:    Standells
Title:    Dirty Water (live version)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 2014
    In October of 1966 the Standells were riding high on the strength of their hit single, Dirty Water, when they opened for the Beach Boys at the University of Michigan. Unbeknownst to the band at the time, the entire performance was being professionally recorded by people from Capitol Records, the parent company of Tower Records, the label that Standells records appeared on. The recordings remained unreleased for many years; in fact, even the band members themselves were unaware of their existence until around 2000. Finally, in 2014, Sundazed released the live recording of Dirty Water on clear 45 RPM vinyl as part of their Record Store Day promotion. Enjoy!

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Thoughts And Words
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Chris Hillman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1967
     In addition to recording the most commercially successful Dylan cover songs, the Byrds had a wealth of original material over the course of several albums. On their first album, these came primarily from guitarists Gene Clark and Jim (now Roger) McGuinn, with David Crosby emerging as the group's third songwriter on the band's second album. After Clark's departure, bassist Chris Hillman began writing as well, and had three credits as solo songwriter, including Thoughts And Words, on the group's fourth LP, Younger Than Yesterday. Hillman credits McGuinn, however, for coming up with the distinctive reverse-guitar break midway through the song.

Artist:    Big Brother And The Holding Company
Title:    Oh, Sweet Mary
Source:    LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer(s):    Albin/Andrew/Getz/Gurley/Joplin
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    The only song credited to the entire membership of Big Brother And The Holding Company on their Cheap Thrills album was Oh, Sweet Mary (although the original label credits Janis Joplin as sole writer and the album cover itself gives only Joplin and Peter Albin credit). The tune bears a strong resemblance to Coo Coo, a non-album single the band had released on the Mainstream label before signing to Columbia. Oh, Sweet Mary, however, has new lyrics and, for a breath of fresh air, a bridge section played at a slower tempo than the rest of the tune.

Artist:    Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck
Title:    One Ring Jane
Source:    British import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released in Canada on LP: Home Grown Stuff)
Writer(s):    McDougall/Ivanuck
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    Sometimes called Canada's most psychedelic band, Mother Tucker's Yellow Duck was formed in British Columbia in 1967. After recording one unsuccessful single for London, the Duck switched to Capitol Records' Canadian division and scored nationally with the album Home Grown Stuff. After a couple more years spent opening for big name bands such as Alice Cooper and Deep Purple and a couple more albums (on the Capitol-owned Duck Records) the group disbanded, with vocalist/guitarist Donny McDougall joining the Guess Who in 1972.

Artist:    Grass Roots
Title:    Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man)
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    In late 1965 songwriters/producers P.F. Sloan (Eve of Destruction) and Steve Barri decided to create a series of records by a band called the Grass Roots. The problem was that the existing L.A. band calling itself the Grass Roots had no interest in recording for Sloan and Barri. Angered by being treated rudely by one of the band members, Sloan and Barri did a little research and came to the realization that the existing Grass Roots had not legally copyrighted the name, so Sloan and Barri did so themselves and then found another band to record as the Grass Roots. This of course forced the existing band to come up with a new name, but that's a story for another time. Meanwhile, the band Sloan and Barri recruited was the Bedouins, one of the early San Francisco bands. As the rush to sign SF bands was still months away, the Bedouins were more than happy to record the songs Sloan and Barri picked out for them. The first single by the newly-named Grass Roots was a cover of Bob Dylan's Mr. Jones (A Ballad Of A Thin Man). The band soon got to work promoting the single to Southern California radio stations, but with both the Byrds and the Turtles already on the charts with Dylan covers it soon became obvious that the market was becoming saturated with folk-rock. After a period of months the band, who wanted more freedom to write and record their own material, had a falling out with Sloan and Barri and it wasn't long before they moved back to San Francisco, leaving drummer Joel Larson in L.A. The group, with another drummer, continued to perform as the Grass Roots until Dunhill Records ordered them to stop. Eventually Dunhill would hire a local L.A. band called the 13th Floor (not to be confused with Austin, Texas's 13th Floor Elevators) to be the final incarnation of the Grass Roots; that group would crank out a series of top 40 hits in the early 70s. The Bedouins never had the opportunity to record again.

Artist:    Brigands
Title:    (Would I Still Be) Her Big Man
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kris/Arthur Resnick
Label:    Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year:    1966
    Virtually nothing is known about the Brigands, other than the fact that they recorded in New York City. Their only single was a forgettable piece of imitation British pop, but the B side, (Would I Still Be) Her Big Man, holds up surprising well. The song itself was written by the husband and wife team of Kris and Artie Resnick, who would end up writing a series of bubble gum hits issued under various band names on the Buddah label in 1968.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Flower Lady And Her Assistant
Source:    LP: Future
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1967
    By the time the Seeds' Pushin' Too Hard became a national hit in 1967, the band itself was already consider passe in their native Los Angeles. This did not stop Sky Saxon and company from making records, however. In fact their third LP, Future, had the most elaborate packaging yet, being the first Seeds album to sport a gatefold cover. The songs were perhaps even more whimsical in nature than those on the first two Seeds albums, as can be heard on Saxon's Flower Lady And Her Assistant. The Seeds would continue to perform and occasionally make records for three more years, albeit with an ever-changing lineup, finally calling it quits following two non-charting single for M-G-M in 1970.

Artist:    Gun
Title:    Yellow Cab Man
Source:    British import CD: Gun
Writer(s):    Gurvitz/Parsons
Label:    Repertoire (original label: CBS)
Year:    1968
    Sometimes your timing is just right. Such was the case with Gun, whose powerful three-piece sound came along just as iconic bands like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience were on the verge of breaking up. Released in 1968. Gun's self-titled debut LP featured the hit single Race With The Devil, a tune that made the top 10 in England and Germany. Other strong tracks on the album included Yellow Cab Man, which incorporated car horns mixed with the loud fuzz guitar of Adrian Gurvitz (then calling himself Adrian Curtis), backed by his brother Paul on bass and Louis Farrell on drums. Gun was unable to sustain their popularity after Race With The Devil had fallen off the charts, and the Gurvitz brothers soon disbanded the group and formed first Three Man Army and then the Baker-Gurvitz Army (with legendary Cream drummer Ginger Baker) in the 1970s.

Artist:    Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title:    Cowgirl In The Sand
Source:    CD: 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:    Beatles
Title:    Getting Better
Source:    LP: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1967
    Following their 1966 North American tour, the Beatles announced that they were giving up live performances to concentrate on their songwriting and studio work. Freed of the responsibilities of the road (and under the influence of mind-expanding substances), the band members found themselves discovering new sonic possibilities as never before (or since), hitting a creative peak with their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, often cited as the greatest album ever recorded. The individual Beatles were about to move in separate musical directions, but as of Sgt. Pepper's were still functioning mostly as a single unit, as is heard on the chorus of Getting Better, in which Paul McCartney's opening line, "I have to admit it's getting better", is immediately answered by John Lennon's playfully cynical "can't get no worse". The members continued to experiment with their instrumentation as well, such as George Harrison's use of sitar on the song's bridge, accompanied by Ringo Starr's bongos.

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    Zilch
Source:    Mono LP: Headquarters
Writer(s):    Jones/Nesmith/Tork/Dolenz
Label:    Colgems
Year:    1967
    From a creative standpoint, the highpoint of the Monkees' career as an actual band was the Headquarters album, which topped the album charts for one week in late spring of 1967 before being toppled by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Unlike the previous and subsequent Monkees albums, Headquarters featured a minimum of outside musicians, and was under the total creative control of the Monkees themselves, even to the hiring of Chip Douglas as producer. Although most of the tracks on Headquarters were penned by professional songwriters, a few were written by the band itself, including Zilch, which is sort of a spoken word version of a Round (except everyone is saying something different).

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Matilda Mother
Source:    CD: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Listening to tracks like Matilda Mother, I can't help but wonder where Pink Floyd might have gone if Syd Barrett had not succumbed to mental illness following the release of the band's first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, in 1967. Unlike the rest of the band members, Barrett had the ability to write songs that were not only adventurous, but commercially viable as singles as well. After Barrett's departure, it took the group several years to become commercially successful on their own terms (although they obviously did). We'll never know what they may have done in the intervening years were Barrett still at the helm.

Artist:    Luv'd Ones
Title:    Walkin' The Dog
Source:    Mono CD: If You're Ready! The Best Of Dunwich Records...Volume 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Rufus Thomas
Label:    Sundazed/Here 'Tis (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Originally known as the Tremelons, the Luv'd Ones were one of the first self-contained all-female rock bands. Formed in Niles, Michigan in 1964 by guitarist/vocalist Charlene Vinnedge and her sister Christine on bass, the band, which also included Mary Gallagher on rhythm guitar and Faith Orem on drums, originally played mostly cover songs and was considered by most record company types to be a kind of novelty act. In 1966, tired of conforming to what other people expected of them, the Tremelons became the Luv'd Ones, performing mostly original material written by Char Vinnedge. Their first single for Dunwich, released in 1966, was a band original called I'm Leaving You, but the B side was the only cover song they ever recorded, a solid version of Rufus Thomas's Walkin' The Dog. It was clear that Dunwich had no idea what they had with the Luv'd Ones, and when Christine Vinnedge quit the band due to pregnancy the Luv'd Ones disbanded. Char Vinnedge, an acolyte of the Jimi Hendrix school of guitar-slinging, went on to work with Hendrix bassist Billy Cox's Nitro Function, achieving moderate fame in Europe as "The Electric Lady" in the early 1970s

Artist:    Fragile Thunder
Title:    Dark Star (acoustic)
Source:    CD: One Afternoon Long Ago
Writer(s):    Grateful Dead
Label:    Perfectable
Year:    2019
    Fragile Thunder is "a collaboration among musical friends who share a love" for the music of the Grateful Dead. Consisting of guitarists Stephen Inglis and David Gans and Celtin harpist Anela Lauren, all of whom sing, and bassist Robin Sylvester, they have performed in various pairings in recent years, and in 2018 recorded the album One Afternoon Long Ago at an Oakland, California studio. The centerpieces of the album are two different interpretations of the legendary Grateful Dead song Dark Star. The shorter of the two is the acoustic version heard here.

Artist:     Kak
Title:     Lemonade Kid
Source:     British import CD: Kak-Ola (originally released on LP: Kak)
Writer:     Gary Lee Yoder
Label:     Big Beat (original label: Epic)
Year:     1969
     Kak was a group from Davis, California that was only around long enough to record one LP for Epic. That self-titled album did not make much of an impression commercially, and was soon out of print. Long after the band had split up, critics began to notice the album, and copies of the original LP are now highly-prized by collectors. Songs like the Lemonade Kid show that Kak had a sound that holds up better today than many of the other artists of the time. In fact, after listening to this track a couple times I went out and ordered a copy of the import CD reissue of the Kak album.

Artist:     Doors
Title:     Spanish Caravan
Source:     CD: Waiting For The Sun
Writer:     The Doors
Label:     Elektra
Year:     1968
     The third Doors album was somewhat of a departure from the first two, covering a greater variety of styles than their previous efforts. A prime example is Spanish Caravan, which starts with a flamenco solo from Robbie Kreiger and continues in a highly Spanish (not Mexican) flavored musical vein.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    I'm A Man
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Winwood/Miller
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    The Spencer Davis Group, featuring brothers Steve and Muff Winwood, was one of the UK's most successful white R&B bands of the sixties, cranking out a steady stream of hit singles. Two of them, the iconic Gimme Some Lovin' and I'm A Man, were also major hits in the US, the latter being the last song to feature the Winwood brothers. Muff Winwood became a successful record producer. The group itself continued on for several years, but were never able to duplicate their earlier successes. As for Steve Winwood, he quickly faded off into obscurity, never to be heard from again. Except as the leader of Traffic. And a member of Blind Faith. And Traffic again. And some critically-acclaimed collaborations in the early 1980s with Asian musicians. Oh yeah, and a few major solo hits like Back In The High Life Again and Roll With It in the late 80s. Other than that, nothing.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Little Olive
Source:    Mono CD: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    James Lowe
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Allowing a band to compose its own B side was a fairly common practice in the mid-1960s, as it saved the producer from having to pay for the rights to a composition by professional songwriters and funneled some of the royalty money to the band members. As a result, many B sides were actually a better indication of what a band was really about, since most A sides were picked by the record's producer, rather than the band itself. Such is the case with Little Olive, a song written by the Electric Prunes' Jim Lowe and released as the B side of their debut single in 1966.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Born Under A Bad Sign
Source:    LP: Wheels Of Fire
Writer:    Jones/Bell
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker were pretty much considered the cream of the crop of the British blues scene in the mid 1960s, so it came as no surprise when they decided to call their new band Cream. Although the trio would go on to record several memorable non-blues tunes such as I Feel Free and White Room, they never completely abandoned the blues. Born Under A Bad Sign, originally recorded by Albert King  for the Stax label and written by labelmates William Bell and Booker T. Jones, is one of the better known tracks from Cream's double-LP Wheels Of Fire, the last album released while the band was still together.

Artist:     Donovan
Title:     The River Song
Source:     British import CD: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Writer:     Donovan Leitch
Label:     EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:     1968
     Donovan's Hurdy Gurdy Man album is generally considered to be the singer-songwriter's most musically diverse collection of songs, ranging from the heavily fuzz-toned title track to tunes like the River Song, which uses acoustic guitar and hand percussion instruments to supplement Donovan's layered vocal tracks. The song itself draws on Celtic and Indian musical traditions to create a unique hybrid.

Artist:    Millennium
Title:    The Island
Source:    LP: Begin
Writer(s):    Curt Boettcher
Label:    Columbia/Sundazed
Year:    1968
    Curt Boettcher, despite looking about 15 years old, was already at 24 an experienced record producer by early 1968, having worked with the Association on their first album, as well as co-producing Sagittarius with Gary Usher and producing his own group, the Ballroom, in 1967. Among the many people he had worked with were multi-instrumentalist Keith Olsen, drummer Ron Edgar and bassist Doug Rhodes, all of whom had been members of Sean Bonniwell's Music Machine in 1966-67. Following the release of the debut Eternity's Children album, which Olsen and Boettcher co-produced, the two formed a new group called the Millennium. In addition to the aforementioned Music Machine members, the Millennium included /guitarist/singer/songwriters Lee Mallory, Sandy Salisbury, and Michael Fennelly, all of who Boettcher had worked with on various studio projects, and Joey Spec who would go on to form his own Sonic Past Music label many years later. Working on state-of-the-art 16 track equipment at Columbia's Los Angeles studios, they produced the album Begin, which, at that point in time, was the most expensive album ever made and only the second (after Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends) to use 16-track technology. The only problem was that by the time the album was released in mid-1968, public tastes had changed radically from just a year before, with top 40 listeners going for the simple bubble-gum tunes coming from the Buddah label and album fans getting into louder, heavier groups like Blue Cheer and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. There was no market for the lavishly produced Begin album, which failed to chart despite getting rave reviews from the press. A second Millennium album was shelved, and the members went their separate ways. In more recent years the album has attained legendary status as, in the words of one critic, "probably the single greatest 60s pop record produced in L.A. outside of the Beach Boys".

Artist:    Beacon Street Union
Title:    Angus Of Aberdeen
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union/The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens (originally released on LP: The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens)
Writer(s):    Ulaky/Weisberg
Label:    See For Miles (original label: M-G-M)
Year:    1968
    After releasing their first LP in early 1968, Boston's Beacon Street Union relocated to New York to record their follow-up album, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens. Whereas the first album, The Eyes Of The Beacon Street Union, was produced by Tom Wilson and is now considered a classic piece of late 60s psychedelia, The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens was produced by Wes Farrell, who would go on to greater success as producer of the Partridge Family. Unlike Wilson, who favored a stripped down approach consistent with the band's live sound, Farrell was a big fan of using strings to enhance his recordings. These can be heard on tracks like Angus Of Aberdeen, which otherwise resembles a Procol Harum kind of song. The "clown" on the album cover, incidentally, was photographer Joel Brodsky's assistant, who also appeared as the juggler on the cover of the second Doors album, Strange Days.

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