This week we do a bit of exploring, as over a third of the tracks have never been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. This includes a bit of genre bending in our Advanced Psych segment, along with what is probably the most obscure Simon & Garfunkel song ever released on vinyl, and a rather unusual Country Joe & The Fish set.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Crosstown Traffic
Source: CD: The Ultimate Experience (originally released on LP: Electric Ladyland)
Writer(s): Jimi Hendrix
Label: MCA (original label: Reprise)
By 1968 it didn't matter one bit whether the Jimi Hendrix Experience had any hit singles; their albums were guaranteed to be successful. Nonetheless the Electric Ladyland album had no less that three singles on it (although one was a new stereo mix of a 1967 single). The last of these was Crosstown Traffic, a song that has been included on several anthologies over the years.
Artist: Eric Burdon And The Animals
Title: River Deep, Mountain High
Source: CD: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals 1966-1968 (originally released on LP: Love Is)
Label: Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
The final album by Eric Burdon And The Animals was Love Is, a double-LP released in 1968. By this time the band's lineup had changed considerably from the group Burdon and drummer Barry Jenkins had formed in 1967, with guitarist/violinist John Weider the only other original member to still be with them. Joining the three originals were bassist/keyboardist Zoot Money and guitarist Andy Summers, both of whom had been with Dantalian's Chariot (Summers of course would eventually attain star status as a member of the Police). Additionally, the Soft Machine's Robert Wyatt provided background vocals on the album's first track, a seven and a half minute long cover of Tina Turner's River Deep, Mountain High.
Title: Getting My Hat
Source: German import CD: Salvation
Writer(s): Al Linde
Label: Head (original US label: ABC)
If there is any one band that typifies the San Francisco music scene of 1968 it would have to be Salvation. Originally from Seattle and known as the New Salvation Army Banned, the group came to the attention of ABC Records after a series of successful gigs at Golden Gate Park. The band was often seen cruising the streets of San Francisco in a converted bus and often found themselves sharing the playbill with acts like Big Brother and the Holding Company, Jefferson Airplane and the Doors. After recording their debut LP, Salvation, the group did a coast to coast promotional tour "from the Golden Gate to the Village Gate", only to find themselves stranded on the east coast when their management team absconded with the band's advance money. The band's fate was sealed when they, to quote keyboardist Art Resnick, "acted so incredibly wild at the main offices of ABC In in NYC when going there to meet all the top execs. It was totally insane! Wilder than any rock movie I've ever seen."
Artist: Simon & Garfunkel
Title: You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Paul Simon
With only one exception, every song recorded by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel appeared as an album track. That exception was a song called You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies, which was released in July of 1967 as the B side of a single called Fakin' It. Both songs benefitted from the duo having signed a contract that specified that Columbia Records, rather than the artists themselves, would pay for studio time. Simon & Garfunkel (and their producer, John Simon) took advantage of the situation by using extra musicians and sophisticated studio effects in a way similar to what Brian Wilson and others on the L.A. scene were doing at the time. The single's A side, Fakin' It, was eventually included in the duo's next LP, Bookends, but You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies remained only available as a B side until 2001, when it was included on the remastered version of Bookends as a bonus track.
Title: Epistle To Dippy
Source: CD: Mellow Yellow (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Donovan Leitch
Label: EMI (original US label: Epic)
Following up on his successful Mellow Yellow album, Donovan released Epistle To Dippy in the spring of 1967. The song, utilizing the same kind of instrumentation as Mellow Yellow, was further proof that the Scottish singer was continuing to move beyond the restrictions of the "folk singer" label and was quickly becoming the model for what would come to be called "singer/songwriters" in the following decade.
Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: Drivin' Wheel
Source: LP: The Resurrection Of Pigboy Crabshaw
Writer(s): Roosevelt Sykes
After two critically acclaimed LPs with the Butterfield Blues Band, guitarist Michael Bloomfield decided to get into other things in early 1967. Meanwhile, Paul Butterfield decided to add a horn section rather than replace Bloomfield. This gave the band's other guitarist, Elvin Bishop, an opportunity to strut his stuff. He did so well at strutting his stuff that Butterfield decided to name the band's next album The Resurrection Of Pigboy Crabshaw (Pigboy being Bishop's nickname). The album contained several cover versions of blues classics, including Drivin' Wheel, originally released as Drivin' Wheel Blues in 1936 by The Honey Dripper (Roosevelt Sykes).
Title: Dance The Night Away
Source: Mono European import LP: Disraeli Gears
Label: Lilith (original US label: Atco)
With the album Disraeli Gears, Cream established itself as having a psychedelic side as well as their original blues orientation. Most of the more psychedelic material, such as Dance the Night Away, was from the songwriting team of Jack Bruce and Pete Brown. Bruce provides the melody line on vocals, with guitarist Eric Clapton singing harmony throughout the piece.
Artist: Blues Project
Title: Two Trains Running
Source: Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s): McKinley Morganfield
Label: Sundazed (original label: Verve Forecast)
Possibly the most influential (yet least known outside of musicians' circles) band of the Psychedelic Era was the Blues Project. Formed in 1965 in Greenwich Village, the band worked its way from coast to coast playing mostly college campuses, in the process blazing a path that continues to be followed by underground/progressive/alternative artists. As if founding the whole college circuit wasn't enough, they were arguably the very first jam band, as their version of the Muddy Waters classic Two Trains Running shows. Among those drawing their inspiration from the Blues Project were the Warlocks, a group of young musicians who were traveling with Ken Kesey on the Electric Cool-Aid Acid Test tour bus. The Warlocks would soon change their name to the Grateful Dead and take the jam band concept to a whole new level. Still, they may never have moved in that direction at all if it weren't for the Blues Project leading the way.
Artist: Jefferson Airplane
Title: Bringing Me Down
Source: LP: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (also released as 45 RPM single)
Label: RCA Victor
Released mainly to San Francisco Bay area radio stations and record stores, Jefferson Airplane's third single, Bringing Me Down, from the LP Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, is an early collaboration between vocalist Marty Balin and guitarist/vocalist Paul Kantner. Balin had invited Kantner into the band without having heard him play a single note. It turned out to be one of many savvy decisions by the young bandleader.
Title: Wanderin' Kind
Source: Mono CD: All The Singles (originally released on LP: It Ain't Me Babe)
Writer(s): Howard Kaylan
Label: Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
White Whale Records, being a typical L.A. label, insisted on using professional songwriters for almost all the Turtles' A sides. The band was allowed to write its own material for the B sides, however. One of the earliest was Wanderin' Kind, which had already been released as the opening track on the Turtles' 1965 debut LP, It Ain't Me Babe. The song was written by lead vocalist Howard Kaylan, who was then still in his teens. Kaylan would end up co-writing many more Turtles tracks, as well as most of Flo & Eddie's material a few years later.
Title: Just Let Go
Source: LP: A Web Of Sound
Label: GNP Crescendo
After listening to Just Let Go, from the second Seeds album, A Web Of Sound, it's easy to see why there were some in Los Angeles that were convinced that the band was actually from another planet. An acid-rock classic.
Artist: Electric Prunes
Title: I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source: Mono CD: The Complete Reprise Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: The Electric Prunes)
Label: Real Gone Music/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in late 1966 and hitting the charts in early 1967. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on both the original Lenny Kaye Nuggets compilation and Rhino's first Nuggets LP.
Artist: Rising Sons
Title: Take A Giant Step
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD:The Rising Sons featuring Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder)
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: Recorded 1968, released 1992
Popular Los Angeles club band The Rising Sons were blessed with the talents of not one, but three musicians that would go on to become highly respected in the music business: vocalist Taj Mahal, guitarist Ry Cooder, and singer/songwriter Jesse Lee Kincaid. At the time, however, Columbia Records had no clue how to market an interracial country-blues/rock band. After an early single bombed the band attempted a more commercial sounding tune, the Gerry Goffin/ Carole King penned Take A Giant Step, but Columbia sat on it, as well as over an album's worth of other material. The song itself became well known when the Monkees released it as the B side of their debut single, Last Train To Clarksville. Taj Mahal, who liked the lyrics but not the fast tempo of the original version, re-recorded the song at a slower pace for his 1969 album Giant Step, making it one of his signature songs in the process.
Artist: Brewer & Shipley
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock
Writer(s): Jim Pepper
Label: Sony Music (original label: Kama Sutra)
Oklahoma City-born Michael Brewer first met Ohio native Tom Shipley at the Blind Owl Coffee House in Kent, Ohio in 1964. The two crossed paths from time to time over the next few years, with both of them finding themselves in Los Angeles in 1967. They first recorded together as the Garden Club, backing up vocalist Ruthann Friedman. Brewer and Shipley both became staff songwriters for A&M Records and recorded their first LP for the label, Down In L.A. in 1968. They went up the coast to San Francisco's Golden State Recorders to make their second LP. Weeds, produced by Nick Gravenites, was released in 1969 on the Kama Sutra label. Gravenites brought in several notable guest musicians, including Butterfield Blues Band alumni Mike Bloomfield and Mark Naftalin and the ubiquitous Nicky Hopkins for the album, which was a moderate success due to the inclusion of Witchi-Tai-To, a tune written by jazz saxophonist Jim Pepper and released by the short-lived band Everything Is Everything the same year. Brewer & Shipley decided to quit California altogether following the release of Weeds and moved to Missouri, where they recorded their most successful album, Tarkio, featuring the hit single One Toke Over The Line in 1970.
Artist: The Sensational Country Blues Wonders
Source: CD: The Adventures Of A Psychedelic Cowboy
Writer(s): Gary Van Miert
Thanks to the advances of digital technology in the 21st century, it is now possible, and even common, for what sounds like a band to turn out to be the work of just one or two people. Such is the case with The Sensational Country Blues Wonders, who are actually Gary Van Miert. Van Miert, whose style incorporates elements of traditional country & western, blues, gospel and more recently, psychedelia, has been a fixture on the North New Jersey/NYC scene for several years. The lyrics of the song Airwaves, from his 2021 album The Adventures Of A Psychedelic Cowboy, give a clue as to how he came to develop his unique brand of Americana.
Artist: Tears For Fears
Title: Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Source: British import CD single
Although generally not considered a psychedelic band, Tears For Fears managed to effectively channel George Martin's Magical Mystery Tour production techniques (e.g. I Am The Walrus) on their most political recording, 1989's Sowing The Seeds Of Love. Written in response to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative Party's winning of a third consecutive term in office in June of 1987, the track reflects Roland Orzabal's working-class sensibilities with lines like "Politician granny with your high ideals, have you no idea how the majority feels?"
Artist: 700 Miles
Source: 10" maxi-single
Writer(s): Carlin/700 Miles
Formed in the late 1980s by Singer/guitarist John Carlin, the Next Big Thing decided to relocate from New York City to Detroit in the early 1990s, changing their name to 700 Miles (the distance from New York to Detroit) in the process. They released their self-title debut LP in 1993, along with a maxi-single featuring the last track on the album itself, Watershed, backed with...but no, I'll save that for another time.
Source: LP: Santana
Writer(s): Babatunde Olatunji
Jingo was the first single from Santana's debut LP. Originally credited to the band, it was actually a cover of Jin-go-lo-ba, a 1959 album track by Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji. Santana's version of the tune failed to make the top 40, peaking at #56 during an eight week run on the charts.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Colors For Susan
Source: LP: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
Writer: Joe McDonald
The second Country Joe And The Fish album, I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die, was, like the band's debut LP, made up of equal parts acid-rock, jug band and what would come to be known as "rock and soul" music. The most acid-rock sounding track on the album is the instrumental Colors For Susan, which is kind of like Bass Strings minus the lyrics.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: Sing Sing Sing
Source: LP: The Life And Times Of Country Joe And The Fish (originally released on LP: CJ Fish)
Writer(s): Barry Melton
By 1970, only two of the original members of Country Joe And The Fish were still with the band. Since those two were Country Joe McDonald and Barry "The Fish" Melton, however, the band's sound really hadn't changed much since 1965. As usual, most of the songs on the group's fifth album, CJ Fish, were written by McDonald. There were a couple of exceptions, however, including the album's opening track, Sing Sing Sing, which was written by Melton and has a much more commercial sound than the rest of the LP.
Artist: Country Joe And The Fish
Title: The Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag
Source: LP: I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die
Writer(s): Joe McDonald
A relatively new arrival on the highly politicized Berkeley folk music scene in 1965, Country Joe McDonald had already organized a loose group of musicians to play at "teach-ins" designed to educate the public about what was really going on in Vietnam. He was also attempting to put together a newspaper with a similar focus, but found himself short of usable copy. His solution was to create a "talking issue" by inserting a 7" 33 1/3 RPM record into the paper. His own contribution to the record was the first recorded version of a song that would later become one of the best-known antiwar tunes ever penned: the iconic I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag. The song was re-recorded by the electric version of Country Joe & The Fish for their second LP.
Artist: Ultimate Spinach
Title: (Ballad Of The) Hip Death Goddess
Source: LP: Ultimate Spinach
Writer(s): Ian Bruce-Douglas
Ultimate Spinach was the brainchild of Ian Bruce-Douglas, who wrote and arranged all the band's material. Although the group had no hit singles, some tracks, such as (Ballad of the) Hip Death Goddess received a significant amount of airplay on progressive "underground" FM stations. The recording has in more recent years been used by movie producers looking to invoke a late 60s atmosphere.
Artist: Fleetwood Mac
Title: Need Your Love So Bad
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Golden Days Of British Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): William and Mertis John
Label: Sire (original label: Epic)
As was the usual practice in the UK during the 1960s, Fleetwood Mac released a series of non-album singles from 1968 through 1971, while also releasing nearly half a dozen LPs over the same period. One of those singles was Need Your Love So Bad, a remake of a 1955 blues hit by Little Willie John. Fleetwood Mac's version of the song, sung by Peter Green, was fairly faithful to John's original recording, and ended up peaking at the #31 spot on the British charts. The band's next single, Albatross, would go all the way to the top in the UK, although it did not chart in the US.