Sunday, July 23, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2330 (starts 7/24/23)

    This week we have a Bob Dylan Blonde On Blonde set, a long journey backwards through the years 1969 to 1964, a Cream set, an avant-garde King Crimson track and a progression through the years 1965 to 1970 with all the songs from even numbered years never having been played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. We start with a hit single, a B side and an album track...

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Elenore
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    The Turtles
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1968
    In 1968 White Whale Records was not particularly happy with the recent activities of their primary money makers, the Turtles. The band had been asserting its independence, even going so far as to self-produce a set of recordings that the label in turn rejected as having no commercial potential. The label wanted another Happy Together. The band responded by creating a facetious new song called Elenore. The song had deliberately silly lyrics such as "Elenore gee I think you're swell" and "you're my pride and joy etcetera" and gave production credit to former Turtles bassist Chip Douglas for the "Douglas F. Hatelid Foundation", which was in itself an in-joke referring to the pseudonym Douglas was forced to use as producer for the Monkees in 1967. Then a strange thing happened: the record became a hit. I suspect this was the event that began Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman's eventually metamorphosis into rock parody act Flo and Eddie.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    We Could Be So Good Together
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    Released in advance of the third Doors album, We Could Be So Good Together was the B side of one of the most unusual songs to ever make the top 40 charts: The Unknown Soldier. Unconfirmed rumors about We Could Be So Good Together say that the song was actually written in the band's early days before their signing with Elektra Records, but was left off the first two Doors albums. Lyrically it does seem to share an optimism with earlier Jim Morrison lyrics that was largely replaced by cynicism in his later years. The single version contains a short Thelonius Monk riff about a minute and a half into the song that is missing from the LP version heard on Waiting For The Sun.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Happiness Is A Warm Gun
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    It is by now a well-known fact that very few of the songs on the 1968 double-LP The Beatles (aka the White Album) actually featured the entire group. One of those few (and reportedly both Paul McCartney's and George Harrison's favorite song on the album) was Happiness Is A Warm Gun. Written by John Lennon, the piece is actually a pastiche of three song fragments, each of which is radically different from the others. The opening lines (uncredited) were contributed by Derek Taylor, a London promoter who was instrumental in bringing the Jimi Hendrix Experience to America to perform at the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967. The track, one of the most musically challenging in the entire Beatles catalog, took three days to record, and was produced by Chris Thomas, who was filling in for a vacationing George Martin at the time.

Artist:     Bob Dylan
Title:     Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:     Austrian import CD: 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:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Pledging My Time
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The B side of the first single from Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde album was Pledging My Time, a blues tune that features Robbie Robertson (who had been touring with Dylan) on guitar. The song was one of three tracks recorded in four takes in Nashville on March 8th of 1966. The single version of the song heard here fades after only two minutes (the album version being considerably longer).

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Absolutely Sweet Marie
Source:    Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Bob Dylan's Absolutely Sweet Marie, from his 1966 album Blonde On Blonde is best known for the line "To live outside the law you must be honest". The line was not entirely without precedent, however. Woody Guthrie, in his notes about the song Pretty Boy Floyd, said "I love a good man outside the law, just as I hate a bad man inside the law". And then there is the line "When you live outside the law, you have to eliminate dishonesty', from the 1958 film The Lineup, which Dylan may or may not have seen (I know I haven't). Regardless, it's Dylan's line that has had the greatest cultural impact.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    Don't Bring Me Down
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals-Vol. II (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Goffin/King
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    I originally bought the Animals Animalization album in early 1967 and immediately fell in love with the first song, Don't Bring Me Down. Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Don't Bring Me Down is one of the few songs written for the Animals by professional songwriters that lead vocalist Eric Burdon actually liked.

Artist:    Paul Revere And The Raiders
Title:    There She Goes
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Lindsay/Revere
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    Paul Revere And The Raiders hit their creative and commercial peak in 1966. The band, which consisted of Paul Revere on keyboards, Mark Lindsay on lead vocals and saxophone, Drake Levin on lead guitar, Phil "Fang" Volk on bass and Mike "Smitty"Smith on drums, released three albums that year, the middle of which was Midnight Ride. The album was their first to feature mostly original tunes written by various band members; in fact it was the only Raiders album on which every member got a song credit. The shortest track on the album is There She Goes, a fast-paced tune that finishes out side one, and was chosen to be the B side of the hit single Hungry.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Gimme Some Lovin'
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Winwood/Winwood/Davis
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1966
    By mid-1966 the Spencer Davis Group had already racked up an impressive number of British hit singles, but had yet to crack the US top 40. This changed when the band released Gimme Some Lovin', an original composition that had taken the band about an hour to develop in the studio. The single, released on Oct 28, went to the #2 spot on the British charts. Although producer Jimmy Miller knew he had a hit on his hands, he decided to do a complete remix of the song, including a brand new lead vocal track, added backup vocals and percussion and plenty of reverb, for the song's US release. His strategy was successful; Gimme Some Lovin', released in December of 1966, hit the US charts in early 1967, eventually reaching the #7 spot. The US remix has since become the standard version of the song, and has appeared on countless compilations over the years.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    The Boxer
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bridge Over Troubled Water)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    The only Simon And Garfunkel record released in 1969, The Boxer was one of the duo's most successful singles, making the top 10 in nine countries, including the US, where it hit the #7 spot. The track, which runs more than five minutes, was later included on the 1970 LP Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Careful With That Axe, Eugene
Source:    CD: Relics (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Waters/Wright/Mason/Gilmour
Label:    Capitol (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Despite being originally released only as a B side of a non-charting single (and not being released in the US at all) Be Careful With That Axe, Eugene is one of the most popular Pink Floyd tracks from the 1960s. This is due in part to the inclusion of a live version of the song on the 1969 LP Ummagumma. The original studio version was also included on the 1971 compilation album Relics. It is one of the first songs credited to all four band members following the departure of founder Syd Barrett.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Plastic Fantastic Lover
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Marty Balin
Label:    RCA
Year:    1967
    Jefferson Airplane scored their first top 10 hit with Somebody To Love, the second single released from the Surrealistic Pillow album. Almost immediately, forward-thinking FM stations began playing other tracks from the album. One of those favored album tracks, Plastic Fantastic Lover, ended up being the B side of the band's follow-up single, White Rabbit. When the Airplane reunited in 1989 and issued their two-disc retrospective, 2400 Fulton Street, they issued a special stereo pressing of the single on white vinyl as a way of promoting the collection.

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.

Artist:    Ban
Title:    Thinking Of Your Fate
Source:    Mono British import CD: With Love...A Pot Of Flowers (bonus track)
Writer(s):    Tony McGuire
Label:    Big Beat
Year:    Recorded 1965, released 2010
    One of the first garage bands signed to Bob Shad's Brent label was The Ban. Based in Lompoc, California, the Ban was led by guitarist/vocalist Tony McGuire, who also wrote the band's original material, and also included Oliver McKinney, whose wailing organ combined with Frank Straits distorted bass and Randy Gordon's driving drums to create Thinking Of Your Fate, a garage band classic that sat on the shelf for 35 years before finally being released on the expanded version of the Mainstream Records' sampler With Love...A Pot Of Flowers.

Artist:    Roy Orbison
Title:    Oh, Pretty Woman
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Orbison/Dees
Label:    Monument
Year:    1964
    Although the vast majority of Roy Orbison's hits were love ballads such as It's Over and Blue Bayou, his best-known song is the classic rocker Oh, Pretty Woman. The song managed to work its way to the top of both US and British charts during the height of the British Invasion. Orbison, in fact, was even more successful in the UK than in his native US, scoring two #1 hits on the British charts in 1964, the only American artist to do so.

Artist:    13th Floor Elevators
Title:    Postures (Leave Your Body Behind)
Source:    CD: Easter Everywhere
Writer(s):    Hall/Erickson
Label:    Charly (original label: International Artists)
Year:    1967
    There was so much going on with the 13th Floor Elevators in the months leading up to the release of their second LP, Easter Everywhere, that a book could easily be written about it all. The group returned to Texas following a successful California tour in late 1966 and were hailed as returning heroes, largely thanks to the success of their first single, You're Gonna Miss Me. Soon, however, things started to go wrong. The band was under considerable pressure to begin sessions for a new album, but the band members themselves were divided on whether to stay in Texas and work on studio projects or return to California, where the population was much more receptive to the psychedelic sounds the Elevators themselves had helped pioneer. The issue was finally decided when lead guitarist Stacy Sutherland, the one undecided member, got his probation revoked and was not allowed to leave the state. The band's rhythm section, Ronnie Leatherman and John Walton, went to California anyway, leaving Sutherland, guitarist/vocalist Roky Erickson and electric jug player Tommy Hall looking for replacements. Easter Anywhere was conceived as a major spiritual statement, meant to tie together elements of eastern and western religion with mind-expansion elements of LSD; an ambitious project, to be sure. Unfortunately, by the time the new bassist and drummer, Danny Galindo and Danny Thomas, arrived at the rural hunting cabin the rest of the band was hiding out in, Hall and Erickson were so deeply into the project (and LSD), that they were unable to effectively communicate their ideas to the new guys. As a result the group spent an excessive amount of time in the studio with little to show for it. Eventually, when time and money ran out the album was declared finished and Easter Anywhere was released in November of 1967.

Artist:     Who
Title:     I Can See For Miles
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Pete Townshend
Label:     Decca
Year:     1967
     I Can See For Miles continued a string of top 10 singles in the UK and was the Who's biggest US hit ever. Pete Townshend, however, was disappointed with the song's performance on the UK charts. He said that the song was the ultimate Who song and as such it should have charted even higher than it did. It certainly was one of the heaviest songs of its time and there is some evidence that it prompted Paul McCartney to come up with Helter Skelter in an effort to take the heaviest song ever title back for the Beatles. What makes the story even more bizarre is that at the time McCartney reportedly had never actually heard I Can See For Miles and was going purely by what he read in a record review. The single mix heard here is preferred by many Who fans, as it is brighter and more energetic sounding than the stereo version of the song on the album The Who Sell Out.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Sweet Wine
Source:    CD: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Baker/Godfrey
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1966
    When Cream was formed, both bassist Jack Bruce and drummer Ginger Baker had new music for the band to record (guitarist Eric Clapton having chosen to shut up and play his guitar for the most part). Most of these new songs, however, did not yet have words to go with the music. To remedy the situation, both musicians brought in outside lyricists. Baker chose poet Pete Brown, while Bruce chose to bring in his wife, Janet Godfrey. After a short time it became apparent that Bruce and Brown had a natural affinity for each other's material, and formed a partnership that would last years. Baker, meanwhile, tried working with Godfrey, but the two only came up with one song together, Sweet Wine, which was included on the band's debut LP, Fresh Cream.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Crossroads
Source:    CD: Best of 60s Psychedelic Rock (originally released on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer:    Robert Johnson
Label:    Priority (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Robert Johnson's Crossroads has come to be regarded as a signature song for Eric Clapton, who's live version (recorded at the Fillmore East) was first released on the Cream album Wheels Of Fire.

Artist:    Cream
Title:    Four Until Late
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Robert Johnson
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    By the time Cream was formed, Eric Clapton had already established himself as one of the world's premier blues-rock guitarists. He had not, however, done much singing, as the bands he had worked with all had strong vocalists: Keith Relf with the Yardbirds and John Mayall with the Bluesbreakers. With Cream, however, Clapton finally got a chance to do some vocals of his own. Most of these are duets with bassist Jack Bruce, who handled the bulk of Cream's lead vocals. Clapton did get to sing lead on a few Cream songs, however. One of the earliest ones was the band's updated version of Robert Johnson's Four Until Late, from the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    It's A Beautiful Day
Title:    Don And Dewey
Source:    LP: Marrying Maiden
Writer(s):    David LaFlamme
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1970
    The highlight of the 1970 album Deep Purple In Rock is the ten-minute long antiwar song Child In Time, which got a considerable amount of airplay, both in the US and Europe. Several critics picked up on the fact that the song's opening organ riff was an exact copy of the opening of Bombay Calling, a track from the first album by It's A Beautiful Day, released in 1968. While this may seem on the surface to be a clear case of plagiarism, there are other factors to consider. For one thing, once you get past the intro, the two songs move in entirely different directions. Also, there is good reason to believe that Deep Purple "borrowed" the riff (which they freely admitted at the time, incidentally) as a bit of quid pro quo in the first place. You see, two years earlier, at around the same time as the first It's A Beautiful Day album came out, Deep Purple released their second hit single in the US, a cover of Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. The B side of that single was an instrumental called Hard Road, that also appeared on their second LP, The Book Of Taleisyn, under the title Wring That Neck. Two years later, at around the same time that Deep Purple In Rock appeared on the record racks, the second It's A Beautiful Day album, Marrying Maiden, was released. The opening of that album, an instrumental called Don And Dewey, bears more than a passing resemblance to Hard Road (Wring That Neck); it is practically a note for note copy of the Deep Purple track, albeit scored for different instruments. So the question is: were both Child In Time and Don And Dewey examples of plagiarism, or were they in fact sly declarations of admiration between the two bands? Whatever the answer is, it doesn't change the fact that they are all excellent tracks; in fact, Don And Dewey is by far the best song on Marrying Maiden, and accordingly got the most airplay, especially on the US West Coast.

Artist:    King Crimson
Title:    Moonchild
Source:    CD: In The Court Of The Crimson King
Writer(s):    Fripp/McDonald/Lake/Giles/Sinfield
Label:    Discipline Global Mobile (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1969
    Of the five original tracks on the 1969 album In The Court Of The Crimson King, Moonchild has gotten the least amount of radio exposure over the years. This is probably because the bulk of the track consists of, well, noodling. The track's official title is: Moonchild (Including "The Dream" And "The Illusion"), with the first two minutes of the piece (The Dream) featuring mainly Ian McDonald's mellotron playing supplemented by Greg Lake's vocals. The remainder of the twelve-minute track is purely improvisational, with long periods of near-silence that, in the days before digital recording, were almost always marred by tics and pops that accumulate on the surface of vinyl records. Luckily, the remastered CD has none of those flaws.

Artist:    Syndicats
Title:    Crawdaddy Simone
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Williams/Fenwick
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1965
    The Syndicats were formed in Tottenham in 1963 by bassist Kevin Driscoll and guitarist Steve Howe. The band's original manager was Driscoll's mother, who got them an audition with producer Joe Meek, who had made history in 1962 as the producer of the first British single to ever top the US charts, the Tornado's Telstar. Meek, who built his own studio in North London, had proved that Telstar was no fluke when he produced the Honeycombs' Have I The Right in 1964. Meek took an immediate liking to the Syndicats as well and produced three singles for the band, the last of which was a song called On The Horizon. For the B side of that single he told the band to "just go wild" on a tune written by keyboardist Jeff Williams and guitarist Ray Fenwick, who had replaced Howe (who would go on to greater fame as a member of Yes) prior to the recording sessions that resulted in Crawdaddy Simone. Like all of Meek's productions, the song starts off in your face and pretty much stays there for the next three minutes and fourteen seconds.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Long Long While
Source:    LP: More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richard
Label:    London (original British label: Decca)
Year:    1966
    As with the Beatles, there are many discrepancies between the British and American Rolling Stones catalogs from the years 1963 through early 1967. British albums had more songs than their American counterparts, and generally did not include tracks that had appeared as singles. Albums released in the US, however, almost always included the latest singles, meaning that several tracks from the original British versions of LPs such as Aftermath were absent from the American releases. As a general rule those missing tracks (including some B sides) ended up on US-only albums such as Flowers within a year or two of their original UK releases. A few tunes, however, got left out altogether. Several of these were finally included on a 1972 US LP called More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies), including a Mick Jagger/Keith Richards tune called Long Long While that had originally appeared in the UK as the B side of Paint It, Black. Although recorded in 1966, the song feels more like a 1964 kind of tune, similar to the type of song Van Morrison was recording with his band Them at that time.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    May This Be Love
Source:    LP: Are You Experienced?
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    The original UK version of Are You Experienced featured May This Be Love as the opening track of side two of the album. In the US, the UK single The Wind Cries Mary was substituted for it, with May This Be Love buried deep on side one. It's obvious that Hendrix thought more highly of the song than the people at Reprise who picked the track order for the US album.

Artist:    Sweetwater
Title:    Rondeau
Source:    LP: Sweetwater
Writer(s):    Fred Herrera
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Trivia question: who was the first band to perform at Woodstock? Most people would reply that Richie Havens was the first to take the stage, but Havens was essentially a solo acoustic act (with acoustic accompaniment) rather than an actual band. The reason Havens got to be the opening act was that the scheduled band was stuck in traffic and eventually had to be flown in by helicopter. That band was Sweetwater, who ended up being the first electric group to hit the stage at Woodstock. Based in Los Angeles, Sweetwater was made up of veterans of the L.A. coffee house scene, including Nansi Nevins on lead vocals, Fred Herrera on bass guitar and backing vocals, August Burns on cello, Elpidio Cobian on congas and other percussion, Alan Malarowitz on drums, Albert Moore on flute and backing vocals, R.G. Carlyle on acoustic guitar, bongos and backing vocals, and Alex Del Zoppo on keyboards and backing vocals. The group was not afraid to experiment with a variety of genres, as can be heard on the a capella track Rondeau.

Artist:            Jaggerz
Title:        The Rapper
Source:    Mono CD: Battle Of The Band, vol. two (originally released on 45 RPM vinyl)
Writer(s):    Dominic Ierace
Label:    Era (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:       1969
       The Jaggerz, a band from Pittsburgh formed by vocalist Dominic Ierace (later known as Donnie Iris) was one of the few acts signed to the Kama Sutra label after the original Kama Sutra had morphed into Buddah Records. Despite the band's name (which is actually Western Pennsylvania slang for those sharp things along the branches of bushes) they sounded nothing like the Rolling Stones.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Hey Lawdy Mama
Source:    CD: Born To Be Wild-A Retrospective (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kay/Byrom/Edmonton
Label:    MCA
Year:    1970
    When John Kay announced the dissolution of Steppenwolf in 1971 he referred to the band having been locked into a certain image and style. That style is perhaps best typified by the 1970 single Hey Lawdy Mama, originally released in between the albums Monster and Steppenwolf 7.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Big House From Speonks
Source:    Mono LP: Daydream
Writer(s):    Sebastian/Boone/Yanovsky/Butler
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
    The Lovin' Spoonful are generally known for their feelgood tunes like Do You Believe In Magic and Daydream. Once in a while, however, their true identity as one of the best rock bands of the mid-1960s shines through on tracks like Big House From Speonks. Essentially a studio jam, Big House is one of the few Spoonful tracks to be credited to the entire band, and has an energy on par with bands like the Yardbirds and Rolling Stones. I wish they had recorded more stuff like this.

Artist:    Country Joe And The Fish
Title:    Who Am I
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Joe McDonald
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Electric Music For The Mind And Body was pretty much missing any of the quiet, introspective tunes that Country Joe McDonald had written before forming Country Joe And The Fish. The second album by the band, I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die, made up for it by including songs like Who Am I. McDonald continues to write songs like this over 50 years later.

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