Sunday, July 30, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2331 (starts 7/31/23)

    This week we have three separate artists' sets featuring the Beatles (an all-George Harrison set), the Doors (all from Strange Days) and Love. As if that weren't enough, we also have the Butterfield Blues Band performing live at Woodstock and Canada's first prog-rock band, among other things.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    It Ain't Me Babe
Source:    Nuggets Vol. 10-Folk Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1965
    The Turtles started out as a local high school surf band called the Crossfires. In 1965 they were signed to a record label that technically didn't exist yet. That did not deter the people at the label (which would come to be known as White Whale) from convincing the band to change its name and direction. Realizing that surf music was indeed on the way out, the band, now called the Turtles, went into the studio and recorded four songs. One of those was Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. The Byrds had just scored big with their version of Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man and the Turtles took a similar approach with It Ain't Me Babe. The song was a solid hit, going to the #8 spot on the national charts and leading to the first of many Turtles albums (not to mention hit singles) on the White Whale label.

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:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Ruby Tuesday
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Between The Buttons)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    One of the most durable songs in the Rolling Stones catalog, Ruby Tuesday was originally intended to be the B side of their 1967 single Let's Spend The Night Together. Many stations, however, balked at the subject matter of the A side and began playing Ruby Tuesday instead.

Artist:      David Bowie
Title:     Space Oddity (original version)
Source:      Mono CD: The Deram Anthology 1966-1968 (originally released on LP: Love You Till Tuesday)
Writer:    David Bowie
Label:    Deram
Year:     1969
     When David Jones first started his recording career he was a fairly conventional pop singer, even after changing his name to David Bowie (to avoid being confused with Davy Jones of the Monkees). After several singles and a 1967 self-title debut LP failed to make a dent in the charts, Bowie decided to take a more experimental approach, starting a group called Feathers with dancer Hermione Farthingale (with whom he was in a relationship with at the time) and guitarist John Hutchinson. Bowie also acquired a new manager, Kenneth Pitt, who authorized the production of a promotion film called Love You Till Tuesday in an attempt to make Bowie known to a larger audience. With nothing but previously released material on hand, Pitt asked Bowie to come up with something new to be the focus of the film. Bowie obliged him by coming up with Space Oddity, an attempt to humanize the idea of being alone in a space capsule. After recording a demo of the song with Hutchinson in January of 1969, Bowie recorded his first studio version of Space Oddity on Feb. 2 at London's Morgan Studios. Joining Bowie and Hutchinson (who shared lead vocals) were Colin Wood on keyboards and flute, Dave Clague on bass and Tat Meager on drums. The odd flute-sounding instrument in the mix was an Ocarina played by Bowie himself.

Artist:     Butterfield Blues Band
Title:     No Amount Of Loving
Source:     CD: Woodstock: 40 Years On: Back To Yasgur's Farm
Writer:    Paul Butterfield
Label:     Rhino
Year:     1969
     The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was one of a handful of groups to play at both the Monterey International Pop Festival in 1967 and the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in 1969, albeit with considerably different lineups. Gone were both Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, yet new guitarist Buzzy Feiten was more than capable of holding his own in the legendary band. Unfortunately, technical problems prevented the audience from hearing Butterfield's vocals on the song No Amount Of Loving.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Incense And Peppermints (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Source:    Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop
Writer(s):    Carter/Gilbert/Weitz/King
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Uni)
Year:    1967
    Incense and Peppermints is one of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era, yet when it was originally released to Los Angeles area radio stations it was intended to be the B side of The Birdman of Alkatrash. Somewhere along the line a DJ flipped the record over and started playing Incense And Peppermints instead. The song caught on and Uni Records (short for Universal, which is now the world's largest record company) picked up the Strawberry Alarm Clock's contract and reissued the record nationally with Incense And Peppermints as the A side.

Artist:     Human Beinz
Title:     Nobody But Me
Source:     Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (originally released as a 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Ron, Rudy and O'Kelley Isley
Label:     LP: Rhino (originally released on Capitol)
Year:     1968
    The Human Beingz were a band that had been around since 1964 doing mostly club gigs in the Youngstown, Ohio area as the Premiers. In the late 60s they decided to update their image with a name more in tune with the times and came up with the Human Beingz. Unfortunately someone at Capitol Records misspelled their name (leaving out the "g") on the label of Nobody But Me, and after the song became a national hit the band was stuck with the new spelling. The band split up in 1969, but after Nobody But Me was featured in the Quentin Tarantino film Kill Bill: Vol.1, original leader Ting Markulin reformed the band with a new lineup that has appeared in the Northeastern US in recent years.

Artist:     West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:     Shifting Sands (single mix)
Source:     Mono CD: A Child's Guide To Good and Evil (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Baker Knight
Label:     Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:     1967
    The West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band had its beginnings around 1964 when guitarist Michael Lloyd, veteran of several Los Angeles based surf bands, formed a new group called Laughing Wind with Shaun and Danny Harris (bass and lead guitar respectively) and drummer John Ware. In 1965 they attended a party hosted by Bob Markley, the adopted son of an oil tycoon and former host of Oklahoma Bandstand who had relocated to L.A. a few years earlier. It turned out that Markley and the members of Laughing Wind had something in common: they both were connected to Kim Fowley, the Ultimate Hollywood Hipster, as was a band known as the Yardbirds that played at Markley's party. After seeing how the teenage girls gathered around the members of the Yardbirds, Markley decided he wanted to be in a rock band too, and let it be known that he wanted to become a member of Laughing Wind. The members of Laughing Wind were at first a bit doubtful about the whole thing, given that Markley had no discernable musical talent, but in the end decided his access to almost unlimited funds qualified him to be a band member. Markley immediately used that same leverage to change the band's name to the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band, and it was not long before they had a contract with a major record label. Their first single for Reprise was an original composition called 1906, a song about the first San Francisco earthquake as seen from a dog's point of view. Seriously. The B side of that single was a cover of a song by Baker Knight, a local bandleader who had worked with Michael Lloyd in the early 1960s. In retrospect, Shifting Sands would probably have been a better choice for the A side, but even then Markley was making questionable judgment calls, and the single went nowhere.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    When The Music's Over
Source:    LP: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    I remember the first time I heard When The Music's Over. My girlfriend's older brother had a copy of the Strange Days album on the stereo in his room and told us to get real close to the speakers so we could hear the sound of a butterfly while he turned the volume way up. What we got, of course, was a blast of "...we want the world and we want it now." Good times.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Moonlight Drive
Source:    European import CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Much of the second Doors album consisted of songs that were already in the band's repertoire when they signed with Elektra Records but for various reasons did not record for their debut LP. One of the earliest was Jim Morrison's Moonlight Ride. As was the case with all the Doors songs on their first three albums, the tune was credited to the entire band.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    My Eyes Have Seen You
Source:    Mono European import CD: Strange Days
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    It's strange. Some reviewers seem to think that the album Strange Days is inferior to the first Doors album. They justify this view by citing the fact that almost all the songs on both albums were already in the band's repertoire when they signed their record contract with Elektra. The implication is that the band naturally selected the best material for the first album, making Strange Days a collection of sloppy seconds. There is one small problem with this theory however. Pick a song at random from Strange Days and listen to it and in all likelihood it will sound every bit as good as a song randomly picked from the first album (and probably better than one picked from either of the Doors' next two LPs). In fact, I'll pick one for you: My Eyes Have Seen You. See what I mean?

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Little Wing
Source:    LP: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     D.C.B.A.-25
Source:     Mono LP: Surrealistic Pillow
Writer:     Paul Kantner
Label:     Sundazed (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:     1967
     D.C.B.A.-25 was named for the chords used in the song. As for the "25" was 1967. In San Francisco. Paul Kantner wrote it. Figure it out.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends (originally released on LP: Pleasures Of The Harbor)
Source:    CD: The Best Of Phil Ochs
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    A&M
Year:    1967
    In 1964, less than a week after my 11th birthday, an event happened over 2000 miles from where I lived that would have a profound effect on my view of humanity, particularly the portion of it that lived in large cities. Late one night, a woman named Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death outside of her apartment in Queens, NY., in front of witnesses, none of whom came to her defense. One witness late told police that she "didn't want to get involved". After he was apprehended, the killer was asked why he had attacked her in front of witnesses. His chilling reply was that he knew no one would help, because "people never do". That did not ring true to my 11-year-old self. I had been raised by good-hearted people with small-town values. When someone was in trouble, you helped them out. That's just how it was. Yet, that had not happened when Kitty Genovese was attacked. Ever since then I've tried to find empathy for, not only the victims, but those who stand by and do nothing. I've tried to understand why. Although I've made some progress, I still haven't figured it out. Apparently I was not the only one affected by the story. Phil Ochs used it as the starting point for what would turn out to be his most popular song, Outside Of A Small Circle Of Friends, from his 1967 LP Pleasures Of The Harbor. I didn't get to hear that song until the late 1970s. It was banned in most radio markets because of the line "smoking marijuana is more fun than drinking beer", and ended up stalling out a dozen or so spots short of the top 100 when it was released as a single in 1967. In fact, I only heard it after hearing the new that Ochs had committed suicide in 1976, and one of my fellow DJs at KUNM played the song as part of a Phil Ochs memorial segment. Apparently the Genovese story, as well as other events described in the song, affected Ochs profoundly as well.

Artist:     Simon and Garfunkel
Title:     A Hazy Shade Of Winter
Source:     45 RPM single (promo copy)
Writer:     Paul Simon
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     Originally released as a single in 1966, A Hazy Shade Of Winter was one of several songs intended for the film The Graduate. The only one of these actually used in the movie was Mrs. Robinson. The remaining songs eventually made up side two of the 1968 album Bookends, although several of them were also released as singles throughout 1967. A Hazy Shade Of Winter, being the first of these singles (and the only one released in 1966), was also the highest charting, peaking at # 13 just as the weather was turning cold.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Like A Rolling Stone
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    Bob Dylan incurred the wrath of folk purists when he decided to use electric instruments for his 1965 LP Highway 61 Revisited. The opening track on the album is the six-minute Like A Rolling Stone, a song that was also selected to be the first single released from the new album. After the single was pressed, the shirts at Columbia Records decided to cancel the release due to its length. An acetate copy of the record, however, made it to a local New York club, where, by audience request, the record was played over and over until it was worn out (acetate copies not being as durable as their vinyl counterparts). When Columbia started getting calls from local radio stations demanding copies of the song the next morning they decided to release the single after all. Like A Rolling Stone ended up going all the way to the number two spot on the US charts, doing quite well in several other countries as well.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Alone Again Or
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    Bryan MacLean
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    The only song Love ever released as a single that was not written by Arthur Lee was Alone Again Or, issued in 1970. The song had originally appeared as the opening track from the Forever Changes album three years earlier. Bryan McLean would later say that he was not happy with the recording due to his own vocal being buried beneath that of Lee, since Lee's part was meant to be a harmony line to McLean's melody. McLean would later re-record the song for a solo album, but reportedly was not satisfied with that version either.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Signed D.C.
Source:    Australian import CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    One of the most striking tunes on the first Love album is Signed D.C., a slow ballad in the tradition of House of the Rising Sun. The song takes the form of a letter penned by a heroin addict, and the imagery is both stark and disturbing. Although Lee was known to occasionally say otherwise, the song title probably refers to Love's original drummer Don Conka, who left the band before their first recording sessions.

Artist:    Love
Title:    The Red Telephone
Source:    CD: Forever Changes
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Love's Forever Changes album, released in late 1967, is known for its dark imagery that contrasted with the utopian messages so prevalent in the music associated with the just-passed summer of love. One of the tracks that best illustrates Arthur Lee's take on the world at that time is The Red Telephone, which closes out side one of the album. The title, which refers to the famous cold war hotline between Washington and Moscow, does not actually appear in the song's lyrics. Instead, the most prominent line of the song is a chant repeated several times that refers to the repression of youth culture in the US, particularly in Los Angeles, where the city had enacted new ordinances that had virtually destroyed the vibrant club scene that had given rise to such bands as the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Doors and of course Love. The chant itself: "They're locking them up today, they're throwing away the key; I wonder who it'll be tomorrow, you or me?" expresses an idea that would be expanded on by Frank Zappa the following year on the landmark Mothers Of Invention album We're Only In It For The Money.

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

Artist:    Monkees
Title:    You Just May Be The One (TV version)
Source:    CD: The Monkees (bonus track originally released on CD: Missing Links, Volume Two)
Writer(s):    Michael Nesmith
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1990
    Before the Monkees TV series began airing several producers were working simultaneously to build up a library of songs that could be used in the show itself. One of these producers was Michael Nesmith, himself one of the four young musicians selected to be The Monkees. Nesmith, even at that stage, was putting pressure on Music Director Don Kirschner to let the band members themselves have at least some input into the songs that they would be recording for and performing on the show. One of Nesmith's earliest productions was a tune he wrote himself called You Just May Be The One. Nesmith later said the song was written in such a way that a group of four musicians thrown together could easily learn to play live, and indeed, You Just May Be The One ended up being a permanent part of the Monkee's onstage repertoire. The band later re-recorded the song for their first "real" album, Headquarters.

Artist:    The Light
Title:    Back Up
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Anglin/Samson
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1967
    The San Bernadino/Riverside area of southern California is probably better known to racing fans than to music afficionados, yet the area did have its share of local bands filling up various venues in the area in the late 60s. Among those bands was the Light, who released one single on the A&M label in 1967. Back Up, an energetic garage-rocker, was the B side of that single.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Savoy Truffle
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    George Harrison's skills as a songwriter continued to develop in 1968. The double-LP The Beatles (aka the White Album) contained four Harrison compositions, including Savoy Truffle, a tongue-in-cheek song about Harrison's friend Eric Clapton's fondness for chocolate. John Lennon did not participate in the recording of Savoy Truffle. The keyboards were probably played by Chris Thomas, who, in addition to playing on all four Harrison songs on the album, served as de facto producer when George Martin decided to take a vacation in the middle of the album's recording sessions. 

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Only A Northern Song (alternate version)
Source:    CD: Anthology 2
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple/Capitol
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1999
    Anyone who thinks that George Harrison was happily oblivious to how badly he was being screwed over as a songwriter during his years as a member of the Beatles need only listen to the lyrics of Only A Northern Song, one of four new tracks submitted by the band for use in the film Yellow Submarine. Although Harrison had actually formed his own publishing company, Harrisongs, in 1964, he was persuaded to stay with the band's own Northern Songs LTD. by his bandmates when the company went public in 1965 in order to get around British tax laws on international sales of Beatles' compositions. The problem was that, as the principle songwriters, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were also the principle stockholders, at 15% each, while Harrison and Ringo Starr each owned only .08%. This meant that Lennon and McCartney were actually making more in royalties on Harrison's compositions than Harrison himself. Harrison later said that the company's manager, Dick James, hadn't told him that he was giving up ownership of his own compositions by signing with Northern Songs. Following the formation of Apple Corp in 1968 Harrison's compositions were no longer published by Northern Songs.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Long, Long, Long
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    Written while the Beatles were in India studying Transcendental Meditiation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Long, Long, Long is one of four George Harrison compositions on the 1968 double LP The Beatles (aka the White Album). Of the four, Long, Long, Long is the most indicative of the direction Harrison's songwriting would take over the next few years, culminating with his three-disc box set, All Things Must Pass. The arrangement is sparse and the lyrics are deeply spiritual, yet open to interpretation. Harrison himself confirmed that the "you" in the lyrics refers to God rather than a specific person. Long, Long, Long is also one of the quietest Beatle songs ever recorded, standing in stark contrast to Helter Skelter, which precedes it on the album.

Artist:    Troyka
Title:    Burning Of The Witch
Source:    LP: Troyka
Writer(s):    Troyka
Label:    Cotillion
Year:    1970
    Depending on whose opinion is being voiced, Edmonton, Alberta's Troyka was either Canada's first psychedelic band, Canada's first prog-rock band, or Canada's first hard-rock power trio. Burning Of The Witch is a song that favor's the first opinion.

Artist:    Andromeda
Title:    Return To Sanity
Source:    British import CD: Definitive Collection (originally released in UK on LP: Andromeda)
Writer(s):    John Du Cann
Label:    Angel Air (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1969
    One of the most sought after albums of the late 1960s, Andromeda was the brainchild of guitarist John Du Cann, who, along with bassist Mick Hawksworth and drummer Ian McLane, recorded the LP in 1969. One of the most ambitious pieces on the album is Return To Sanity, an eight and a half minute long suite that consists of three parts: Breakdown, Hope and Conclusion. A lack of support from the band's label led to Du Cann accepting an offer to join Atomic Rooster the following year.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Just One Conception
Source:    LP: Time Out! Time In! For Them
Writer(s):    Them
Label:    Tower
Year:    1968
    Most of the songs on Them's second album without founder Van Morrison, Time Out! Time In! For Them, were written for the band by the wife and husband team of Sharon Pulley and Tom Lane. There were, however, a couple of exceptions, including Just One Conception, which was credited to the band itself. The track, which opens with massive sitar, shows just how deep into the psychedelic pool the original Irish punk band had dived by 1968.

Artist:    Gonn
Title:    Blackout Of Gretely
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Garrett/Moore
Label:    Rhino (original label: Emir)
Year:    1966
    Keokuk, Iowa was home to the band called Gonn, who released only two singles in their short recording career. The first of these was Blackout Of Gretely, a song recorded in the back room of a local electronics store using a total of two microphones, both of which were pointed at the band and their amplifiers. The track opens with the immortal words: "The universe is permeated with the smell of kerosene" followed by a scream and a repeating guitar riff that is as primitive as any ever recorded. Such was the legendary status of Blackout Of Gretely that Gonn actually reformed thirty years after the record was released for a tour of Europe.

No comments:

Post a Comment