Sunday, August 27, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2335 (starts 8/28/23) 

    So you're thinking so far it's the same old songs. They must be only in it for the money, right? But then, just as we've lured you into a sense of complacency...BOOM!

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Society's Child
Source:    Mono CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    Janis Ian began writing Society's Child, using the title Baby I've Been Thinking, when she was 13 years old, finishing it shortly after her 14th birthday. She shopped it around to several record labels before finally finding one (Now Sounds) to take a chance on the controversial song about interracial dating. The record got picked up and re-issued in 1966 by M-G-M's "underground" label Verve Folkways, an imprint whose roster included Dave Van Ronk, Laura Nyro and the Blues Project, among others. Despite being banned on several radio stations, especially in the southern US, the song became a major hit when re-released yet another time in early 1967. Ian had problems maintaining a balance between her performing career and being a student which ultimately led to her dropping out of high school. She would eventually get her career back on track in the mid-70s, scoring another major hit with At Seventeen, and becoming somewhat of a heroine to the feminist movement. Ironic, considering that Society's Child ends with the protagonist backing down and giving in to society's rules.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Legend Of A Girl Child Linda
Source:    Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    Epic/Sundazed
Year:    1966
    Scottish singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch first met Linda Lawrence in the green room of the TV series Ready Steady Go shortly after her breakup with Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones. Soon after that Donovan started referring to her as his muse, and has written several songs for her, including Legend Of A Girl Child Linda from his Sunshine Superman album, as well as the album's title track. Although she spent the next few years in California, the two of them eventually reunited and have been married since 1970.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Rosy Won't You Please Come Home
Source:    Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    The Davies were a close-knit family living in Muswell Hill, North London in the mid-20th century. Close enough, in fact, for two of the family members, Ray and Dave, to form (with fellow Muswell Hill resident Peter Quaife) their own rock band in the 1960s. That band, the Kinks, became one of the most popular and influential bands of the British Invasion. In 1964 a third family member, Rosy, moved to Australia with her husband Arthur, which devastated brother Ray to the point that he, in his own words "collapsed in a heap on the sandy beach and wept like a pathetic child" on the day that they left. Two years later the Kinks recorded Rosy Won't You Please Come Home and included it on the album Face To Face. When that didn't work they tried an entire album: Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) in 1969.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic rock band, the First Edition. Although Settle was the official leader on the first album, it was Rogers who would emerge as the star of the band, even to the point of eventually changing the band's name to Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. That change reflected a shift from psychedelic folk-rock to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    There's A Chance We Can Make It
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Gilbert/Scala
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
     Following up on their biggest hit, (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet, the Blues Magoos released a song called There's A Chance We Can Make It backed with Pipe Dream for their next single. Unfortunately for both songs, some stations elected to play There's A Chance We Can Make It while others preferred Pipe Dream. The result was that neither song charted as high as it could have had it been released with a weaker B side. This had the ripple effect of causing Electric Comic Book (the album both songs appeared on) to not chart as well as its predecessor Psychedelic Lollipop had. This in turn caused Mercury Records to lose faith in the Blues Magoos and not give them the kind of promotion that could have kept the band in the public eye beyond its 15 minutes of fame. The ultimate result was that for many years, there were an excessive number of busboys and cab drivers claiming to have once been members of the Blues Magoos and not many ways to disprove their claims, at least until the internet made information about the group's actual membership more accessible.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Baby Please Don't Go
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released on LP: The Amboy Dukes)
Writer(s):    Joe Williams
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
            The Amboy Dukes were a garage supergroup formed by guitarist Ted Nugent, a Chicago native who had heard that Bob Shad, head of jazz-oriented Mainstream Records, was looking for rock bands to sign to the label. Nugent relocated to Detroit in 1967, where he recruited vocalist John Drake, guitarist Steve Farmer, organist Rick Lober, bassist Bill White and drummer Dave Palmer, all of whom had been members of various local bands. The Dukes' self-titled debut LP was released in November of 1967. In addition to seven original pieces, the album included a handful of cover songs, the best of which was their rocked out version of the old Joe Williams tune Baby Please Don't Go. The song was released as a single in January of 1968, where it got a decent amount of airplay in the Detroit area, and was ultimately chosen by Lenny Kaye for inclusion on the original Nuggets compilation album, although, unlike with the rest of the tracks on that first Nuggets collection, Kaye chose to use the longer album version of Baby Please Don't Go.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    Quite Rightly So
Source:    Mono European import 45 RPM EP: Homburg (originally released on LP: Shine On Brightly)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    Esoteric (original US label: A&M)
Year:    1968
    In 1969, while living on Ramstein AFB in Germany, my dad managed to get use of one of the basement storage rooms in building 913, the 18-unit apartment building we resided in. For a few months (until getting in trouble for having overnight guests and making too much noise...hey I was 16, whaddaya expect?) I got to use that room as a bedroom. I had a small record player that shut itself off when it got to the end of the record, which meant I got to go to sleep every night to the album of my choice. As often as not that album was Shine On Brightly, a copy of which I had gotten in trade for another album (the Best of the Beach Boys I think) from a guy who was expecting A Whiter Shade of Pale and was disappointed to discover it was not on this album. I always thought I got the better end of that deal, despite the fact that there was a skip during the fade of Quite Rightly So, causing the words "one was me" to repeat over and over until I scooted the needle over a bit. Luckily Quite Rightly So is the first song on the album, so I was usually awake enough to do that.

Artist:    Who
Title:    The Good's Gone
Source:    Mono CD: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1965
    One of the most overlooked songs in the entire Who catalog, The Good's Gone first appeared on the band's 1965 debut LP, and later was released (without the band's knowledge or approval) as a B side. The song was one of the last recorded for the My Generation album, and is one of the most complex, with a memorable opening guitar lick that continues throughout the song, along with several "dramatic" chord changes complemented by Roger Daltrey''s menacing lead vocals. Like many early Pete Townsend compositions, The Good's Gone is basically a breakup song with attitude.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Rainy Day Women # 12 & 35
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    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:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Sweet Young Thing
Source:    Mono CD: The Inner Mystique (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Uptown)
Year:    1967
    There is actually very little on vinyl that captures the actual live sound of the Chocolate Watchband, as most of their recorded work was heavily influenced by producer Ed Cobb, who tried his best to make them sound more psychedelic than they really were. One of the few recordings that does accurately represent the Watchband sound is this single released in January of 1967. Ironically, Sweet Young Thing was written by Cobb himself. Even stranger is the fact that the single was released on Tower's Uptown subsidiary, which specialized in R&B artists.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Two Trains Running
Source:    LP: Tommy Flanders, Danny Kalb, Steve Katz, Al Kooper, Andy Kuhlberg, Roy Blumenfeld Of The Blues Project (originally released on LP: Projections)
Writer(s):    McKinley Morganfield
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1966
    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 demonstrates. The track is notable for a passage near the end when Danny Kalb has to retune one of his guitar strings in such a way as to make it sound completely planned. 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.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Paint It, Black
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released on LP: Aftermath)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    The 1966 Rolling Stones album Aftermath was the first to be made up entirely of songs written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. The opening track of the LP, however, was not included on the British version of the album. That song, the iconic Paint It, Black, had already been released in the UK as a single, and would go on to become one of the Stones' defining recordings of the era.

Artist:    Count Five
Title:    Psychotic Reaction
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ellner/Chaney/Atkinson/Byrne/Michalski
Label:    Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
Year:    1966
    San Jose, California, had a vibrant teen music scene in the late 60s, despite the fact that the relatively small city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities are considered part of the same metropolitan market). One of the more popular bands in town was Count Five, a group of five individuals who chose to dress up like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, capes and all. Musically, they idolized the Yardbirds (Jeff Beck era), and for slightly more than three minutes managed to sound more like their idols than the Yardbirds themselves (who by then had replaced Beck with Jimmy Page and had come under the influence of producer Mickey Most).

Artist:     Tornados
Title:     Telstar
Source:     45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer:     Joe Meek
Label:     London
Year:     1962
     Before the Beatles kicked off the British Invasion in 1964 there had only been two British recordings that had been able to hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The first was Strangers On The Shore, a jazz piece by saxophonist Mr. Acker Bilk. The second chart-topper (the first by a rock band) was the Tornados' Telstar, a quasi-surf instrumental named for the first transatlantic communication satellite.

Artist:    Mothers Of Invention
Title:    We're Only In It For The Money-side one
Source:    CD: We're Only In It For The Money
Writer(s):    Frank Zappa
Label:    Ryko (original label: Verve)
Year:    1968
    The first Mothers album, Freak Out, had one side (of four) dedicated to a single concept. The second album, Absolutely Free, was essentially two concept sides, each with its own subtitle. The process was taken to its inevitable conclusion with the third album, in which both sides tie into the same concept. The album itself satirizes both the hippy movement (or more precisely what it had become by 1968) and the mainstream culture of the time. Following a short audio collage (Are You Hung Up?) that includes recording engineer Gary Kellgren whispering messages to composer/bandleader Frank Zappa, the album segues into Who Needs The Peace Corps, a scathing indictment of "phony hippies" who looked and acted the part without having any real understanding of the actual socio-political stance of the hippy movement. This leads to Concentration Moon, sung from the point of view of a young person interned in a concentration camp for hippies. The next track, Mom And Dad, tells the story of kids being killed by police while demonstrating in the park, with a punch line that reminds the older generation that all those kids that "looked too weird" were in fact their own children. Bow Tie Daddy pokes fun at the stereotype of the American male, while Harry, You're A Beast (based on a bit by comedian Lenny Bruce) takes a shot at American womanhood and American sexuality in general. This in turn leads to the question: What's The Ugliest Part Of Your Body (I think it's your mind). Absolutely Free takes the drug culture head-on (with a little poke at Robert Heinlein's Stranger In A Stranger Land), while Hey Punk sends up the entire San Francisco scene. The first side of the album ends with the voice of recording engineer Gary Kellgren once again whispering messages to Zappa followed by a backwards tape of a verse that the record company insisted be cut out of one of the songs on side two of the album. As to which song, I'll save that for whenever I play side two of the album again (or you could just figure out a way to play the last part of this segment backwards).

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Love To Say Dada
Source:    Mono LP: The Smile Sessions (originally released in CD Box Set:  Good Vibrations: Thirty Years of the Beach Boys)
Writer(s):    Brian Wilson
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1993
    Love To Say Dada is an unfinished piece recorded in 1967 as part of the aborted Beach Boys Smile album. The song ended up becoming the basis for Cool, Cool Water, which appeared on the 1970 Beach Boys album Sunflower. When Brian Wilson Presents Smile came out in 2004 it included a newly recorded version of the tune retitled Blue Blue Hawaii, with lyrics by Van Dyke Parks. More recently, Love To Say Dada was included in its original unfinished state on the 2011 release The Smile Sessions.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    At The Zoo
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Bookends)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    Simon and Garfunkel did not release any new albums in 1967, instead concentrating on their live performances. They did, however, issue several singles over the course of the year, most of which ended up being included on 1968's Bookends LP. At The Zoo was one of the first of those 1967 singles. It's B side ended up being a hit as well, but by Harper's Bizarre, which took The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) to the top 10 early in the year.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    King Midas In Reverse
Source:    British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    Uncut (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    One of the last Hollies singles to include original member Graham Nash, King Midas In Reverse combines pop and psychedelia in a purely British way. The problem was that, with the exception of Nash, the Hollies had no desire to embrace psychedelia, and Nash soon found himself banding with David Crosby and Stephen Stills instead.

Artist:    Marmalade
Title:    I See The Rain
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Campbell/McAleese
Label:    Rhino (original label: CBS)
Year:    1967
    Formed in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1961 as the Gaylords, the Marmalade is best known for its international smash hit Reflections Of My Life in late 1968. One often overlooked song was I See The Rain, which Jimi Hendrix once called his favorite record of 1967. The song was not a hit in either the US or UK, although it did make the top 30 in the Netherlands.

Artist:     Turtles
Title:     She's My Girl
Source:     CD: The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Bonner/Gordon
Label:     Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
Year:     1967
     Until the 2018 CD reissue of the 1968 album The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands, I did not have the foggiest idea that a stereo mix of the 1967 hit single She's My Girl even existed. Every copy I had ever heard was a mono copy, as was the original 45 RPM pressing. Now I can truly appreciate why the members of the band itself considered it their favorite Turtles record. There's all sorts of cool stuff going on in the background that I was never able to focus on before. Enjoy!

Artist:    Cream
Title:    I Feel Free
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    After an unsuccessful debut single (Wrapping Paper), Cream scored a bona-fide hit in the UK with their follow-up, I Feel Free. As was the case with nearly every British single at the time, the song was not included on Fresh Cream, the band's debut LP. In the US, however, hit singles were commonly given a prominent place on albums, and the US version of Fresh Cream actually opens with I Feel Free. To my knowledge the song, being purely a studio creation, was never performed live by the band.

Artist:         Cream
Title:        Sunshine Of Your Love
Source:      CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Disraeli Gears)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown/Clapton
Label:    Priority (original label: Atco)
Year:        1967
        Although by mid-1967 Cream had already released a handful of singles in the UK, Sunshine Of Your Love, featuring one of the most recognizable guitar rifts in the history of rock, was their first song to make a splash in the US. Although only moderately successful in edited form on AM Top-40 radio, the full-length LP version of the song received extensive airplay on the more progressive FM stations, and turned Disraeli Gears into a perennial best-seller. Clapton and Bruce constantly trade off lead vocal lines throughout the song. The basic compatibility of their voices is such that it is sometimes difficult to tell exactly who is singing what line. Clapton's guitar solo (which was almost entirely edited out of the AM version) set a standard for instrumental breaks in terms of length and style that became a hallmark for what is now known as "classic rock."

Artist:    Cream
Title:    I'm So Glad
Source:    Mono LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Skip James
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    Unlike later albums, which featured psychedelic cover art and several Jack Bruce/Pete Brown collaborations that had a decidedly psychedelic sound, Fresh Cream was marketed as the first album by a British blues supergroup, and featured a greater number of blues standards than subsequent releases. One of those covers that became a concert staple for the band was the old Skip James tune I'm So Glad. The song has become so strongly associated with Cream that the group used it as the opening number for all three performances when they staged a series of reunion concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in 2004. Unlike the rest of the songs on Fresh Cream, I'm So Glad was never given a stereo mix.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience II
Title:    Stone Free
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy/Sundazed
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2010
    The 1969 version of Stone Free actually exists in many forms. The song was originally recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience in 1966 and issued as the B side of Hey Joe in Europe and the UK, but not in the Western hemisphere. As Hendrix always felt that this original version was rushed, due to financial restraints, he resolved to record a new version following the release of Electric Ladyland. The band went into the studio in April of 1969 and recorded a new, much cleaner sounding stereo version of Stone Free, which eventually appeared on the Jimi Hendrix box set. This was not the last version of the song to be recorded, however. In May of 1969 Hendrix, working with drummer Mitch Mitchell and his old friend Billy Cox on bass, created an entirely new arrangement of the song. These new tracks were then juxtaposed with the lead guitar and vocal tracks from the April recording to make the version heard on the 2010 CD Valleys Of Neptune.
Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Mother Nature,-Father Earth
Source:    Mono CD: Ignition (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Bell)
Year:    1969
    Even without a record contract (and with a whole different band than his original Music Machine) Sean Bonniwell continued to hit the recording studio (actual several recording studios) whenever he got the chance, recording songs that would remained unreleased for many years. An exception to that last part was a tune called Mother Nature,-Father Earth, which appeared as the B side of a one-off single for Bell Records in 1969, a year after the song was recorded. It would be the last record released by the Music Machine before they were officially disbanded. The song itself was a warning about man's treatment of the environment. Like most of Bonniwell's material, it was way ahead of its time.


Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2335 (starts 8/28/23)

    This time around we work our way down from 1973 to 1968, one year at a time, and then back up again until we run out of time in 1971.

Artist:    Black Sabbath
Title:    Black Sabbath
Source:    CD: Black Sabbath
Writer(s):    Iommi/Osbourne/Butler/Ward
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    This track has to hold some kind of record for "firsts". Black Sabbath, by Black Sabbath, from the album Black Sabbath is, after all, the first song from the first album by the first true heavy metal band. The track starts off by immediately setting the mood with the sound of church bells in a rainstorm leading into the song's famous tri-tone (often referred to as the "devil's chord") intro, deliberately constructed to evoke the mood of classic Hollywood horror movies. Ozzy Osborne's vocals only add to the effect. Even the faster-paced final portion of the song has a certain dissonance that had never been heard in rock music before, in part thanks to Black Sabbath's deliberate use of a lower pitch in their basic tuning. The result is something that has sometimes been compared to a bad acid trip, but is unquestionably the foundation of what came to be called heavy metal.

Artist:    Golden Earring
Title:    Radar Love
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Kooymans/Hay
Label:    Track/MCA
Year:    1973
    Formed in The Hague in 1961, the Golden Earrings (they dropped the plural in 1969) released 25 studio albums and took nearly 30 songs into the top 10 over a period of nearly 30 their native Holland. They were completely unknown in the US, however, until 1973, when Radar Love became an international hit. They returned to the US charts in 1982 with Twilight Zone, and had a final international hit in 1984 with When The Lady Smiles, although that song did not do as well in the US. Radar Love itself is now considered one of the all-time greatest "road" songs.

Artist:    Deep Purple
Title:    Smoke On The Water (live version)
Source:    LP: Heavy Metal (originally released on LP: Made In Japan)
Writer(s):    Blackmore/Gillan/Glover/Lord/Paice
Label:    Warner Special Products (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1972
    Based on what is quite possibly the most recognizable riff in the history of hard rock, Smoke On The Water was released in December of 1972 on Deep Purple's Machine Head album. The song became a huge hit the following year when a live version of the tune appeared on the album Made In Japan, released in December of 1972.  

Artist:    Lily Tomlin
Title:    The Bordello
Source:    LP: This Is A Recording
Writer(s):    Rod Warner
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1971
    The first thing that struck me about Lily Tomlin's debut album, This Is A Recording, even before I put it on the turntable, was the fact that each of the LP's 17 tracks had its own writing credit. As it is usually left to the listener to assume that the artist also wrote all the material, I found this to be a particularly generous act on the part of Tomlin. The LP itself documents Tomlin's one-woman show recorded live at the Ice House in Pasadena, California, and features one-sided telephone conversations from Ernestine, Tomlin's most famous character from her days as a regular on the television show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. The album went to the #15 spot on the Billboard Hot 200 albums chart, the highest chart position ever achieved by a solo comedy album from a woman.

Artist:    Derek And The Dominos
Title:    Have You Ever Loved A Woman
Source:    CD: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
Writer(s):    Billy Myles
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    Once in a while you hear a song that makes you stop what you are doing and just listen. The Derek and the Dominos version of the 1961 Billy Myles tune Have You Ever Loved A Woman is just such a song. The recording features heartfelt vocals from Eric Clapton (who, perhaps not coincidentally found himself in exactly the situation described in the song's lyrics) punctuated by outstanding guitar solos from Clapton and Duane Allman, who appears on the album as a guest soloist.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    No Title
Source:    CD: Stonedhenge
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram/Polygram
Year:    1969
    After achieving what guitarist/vocalist Alvin Lee called the "ultimate" live Ten Years After album, Undead, in 1968, the group was left wondering what to do next. Their solution was to go experimental with the band's third LP, Stonedhenge. The longest track on the album, No Title, starts off as a slow, moody, blues-oriented piece that, without missing a beat becomes a loud showcase for Alvin Lee's guitar pyrotechnics. This is followed by a thumping hard rock section featuring Chick Churchill's organ work, leading to a short jazz-oriented section that uses a rather psychedelic studio effect to return to the song's slow beginnings and a  musique concrète finale.

Artist:    Jaime Robbie Robertson, Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm (The Band)
Title:    The Weight
Source:    CD: 10 Great Songs (originally released on LP: Music From Big Pink)
Writer(s):    Robbie Robertson
Label:    Capitol/UMe
Year:    1968
    The group of Canadians who would come to be known as The Band spent ten years establishing themselves as one of rock's finest backup bands, first as the Hawks, backing up rockabilly singer Ronnie Hawkins, and then as Bob Dylan's stage band for his 1965-1966 tours. They spent the next year in West Saugerties, New York, working on material that would eventually come to be known as the Basement Tapes. In 1968, they made their official debut as The Band on the album Music From Big Pink. The single from that album, The Weight, was issued under the individual band members' names. Although it was not a major chart hit, The Weight got a considerable amount of airplay on FM rock radio, especially in the early 1970s.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Love Story
Source:    CD: This Was (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968 (UK), 1969 (US)
    Love Story was the last studio recording by the original Jethro Tull lineup of Ian Anderson, Mick Abrahams, Clive Bunker and Glenn Cornish. The song was released as a single (Jethro Tull's first in the US) following the band's debut LP, This Was. Shortly after its release Abrahams left the group, citing differences with Anderson over the band's musical direction. Love Story spent eight weeks on the UK singles chart, reaching the #29 spot. In the U.S., Love Story was released in March 1969, with A Song for Jeffrey (an album track from This Was) on the B-side, but did not chart. Like most songs released as singles in the UK, Love Story did not appear on an album until several years later; in this case on the 1973 anthology album Living In The Past. It has most recently been included as a bonus track on the expanded CD version of This Was.

Artist:    Fat Mattress
Title:    Mr. Moonshine
Source:    Mono LP: Fat Mattress
Writer(s):    Landon/Redding
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
     After the Jimi Hendrix Experience split up, Noel Redding hooked up with a band called Fat Mattress, playing bass, co-writing songs and occassionally singing on songs like Mr. Moonshine. The band's name may have come from a quote by Hendrix at the Experience's Monterey Pop Festival appearance, when he responded to negative comments by critics by saying "...or they say we have fat mattresses or that we wear golden underwear". It could even be that Hendrix got the phrase from Redding himself. Since all three members of the Experience are dead now, I guess we'll never know. Regardless, Fat Mattress failed to make much of an impression on either critics or audiences and Redding's career was effectively over with the band's demise.
Artist:    Guess Who
Title:    Hang On To Your Life
Source:    LP: The Best Of The Guess Who
Writer(s):    Cummings/Winter
Label:    BMG/RCA
Year:    1970
    Written by vocalist/keyboardist Burton Cummings (after getting a bad case of sunburn, or possibly coming down from a bad acid trip) and guitarist Kurt Winter, Hang On To Your Life is an anti-drug song punctuated at the end by a recitation of Psalm 22:13–15 over a continuing echo of the words "your life" (thought to be one of the first uses of a digital delay device). The recitation was left off the single version of the song but included on the band's greatest hits album the following year.

Artist:    David Bowie
Title:    Changes
Source:    45 RPM single (reissue originally released on LP: Hunky Dory)
Writer(s):    David Bowie
Label:    RCA
Year:    1971
    Sometimes a seemingly innocous little song will turn out to be something far more than it started out to be. Such is the case with Changes, one of the most recognizable songs of the 20th century. Originally appearing on the 1971 album Hunky Dory and released as a single in 1972, Changes, according to Bowie, started off as a parody of a nightclub song, "a kind of throwaway", that featured Bowie himself on saxophone, with strings provided by Mick Ronson. Rick Wakeman's keyboards also feature prominently in the recording. The song was Bowie's first North American release on the RCA Victor label (although Mercury had released The Man Who Sold The World two years previously, the record had gone nowhere at the time). Changes is often taken as a statement of artistic intent, as Bowie was constantly reinventing himself throughout his career. Surprisingly, Changes did not make the British charts until its re-release following Bowie's death in 2016.


Sunday, August 20, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2334 (starts 8/21/23) 

    From 1964 to 1967, the most popular radio station among British youth was Radio London. Broadcasting from a decommisioned US Navy minesweeper anchored in the North Sea, Radio London used a top 40 format originally based on the Dallas, Texas station KLIF, including jingles provided by PAMS, which supplied stations all across the US. Radio London, however, was geared specifically to a British audience, and often featured bands like the Pretty Things, the Who and the Small Faces that had not yet caught on in the US. In 1967, the British Parliament passed the Marine Offenses Act, which made it illegal for any British citizen to supply music, commentary, advertising, fuel, food, water or other assistance except for life-saving, to any ship, offshore structure or flying platform used for broadcasting without a licence from the regulatory authority in the UK. On August 14, 1967, the day the act went into effect, Radio London shut down. Around this time the Who, whose rise in popularity was due in large part to its presence on Radio London, decided to make a tribute to (or parody of) the defunct station and recorded what became their third LP, The Who Sell Out, including several Radio London jingles and similarly-styled commercials between songs on the album itself. This week Stuck in the Psychedelic Era presents the first side of The Who Sell Out. We also have a Rolling Stones set and (just so nobody thinks this is an all-British show) tracks by Lothar and the Hand People, McKendree Spring and the Cryan Shames, as well as several more singles, B sides and album tracks from 1965-1970.
Artist:    Cream
Title:    White Room (single version)
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Writer(s):    Bruce/Brown
Label:    United Artists (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    In order to get songs played on top 40 radio, record companies made it a practice to shorten album cuts by cutting out extended instrumental breaks and extra verses. This version of the Cream classic White Room, clocking in at just over three minutes, is a typical example.

Artist:    Yardbirds
Title:    Think About It
Source:    Mono Australian import CD: Over, Under, Sideways, Down (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Relf/McCarty/Page
Label:    Raven (original label: Epic)
Year:    1968
    The final Yardbirds record was a single released only in the US and New Zealand in early 1968. Although the group made TV appearances in Europe to promote the A side, Good Night Josephine, it is the B side of that record, Think About It, that deserves to be considered the last Yardbirds song. Instrumentally the song sounds a lot like something off of Led Zeppelin's first couple of albums. Once Keith Relf's vocals come in, however, there is no doubt that this is vintage Yardbirds, and quite possibly the best track of the entire Jimmy Page era.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Baby Blue
Source:    British import CD: Melts In Your Brain, Not On Your Wrist (originally released in US on LP: The Inner Mystique)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    The Chocolate Watchband originally released their version of Bob Dylan's It's All Over Now Baby Blue as a B side in 1966. The recording was remixed in stereo for the band's 1968 album The Inner Mystique. So many overdubs were added to the album version of the song that it has to be considered an entirely different track (and a far more psychedelic one at that).

Artist:    Boots
Title:    But You Never Do It Babe
Source:    CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in West Berlin as 45 RPM single and on LP: Here Are The Boots)
Writer(s):    Smith/Fox
Label:    Rhino (original label: Telefunken)
Year:    1965
    Formed in Berlin in 1965, the Boots were one of the more adventurous bands operating on the European mainland. While most bands in Germany tended to emulate the Beatles, the Boots took a more underground approach, growing their hair out just a bit longer than their contemporaries and appealing to a more Bohemian type of crowd. Lead guitarist Jurg "Jockel" Schulte-Eckle was known for doing strange things to his guitar onstage using screwdrivers, beer bottles and the like to create previously unheard of sounds. The band's first single, But You Never Do It Babe, was originally recorded by a British band, Cops 'n' Robbers, but the Boots took the song to its greatest heights. Note to Grammer Police: yeah, the way the song is phrased the correct title should be  "But You'll Never Do It, Babe", but the original record label reads "But You Never Do It Babe" so I'm going with that.

Artist:    Shadows of Knight
Title:    Gloria
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    The original Them version of Van Morrison's Gloria found itself banned on the majority of US radio stations due to controversial lyrics. By changing one line (essentially substituting "around here" for "up to my room") the suburban Chicago punk-blues band Shadows of Knight turned it into a huge hit and a garage band standard.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Baby, I Want You
Source:    Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer:    Gilbert/Theilhelm
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Although not as well-known as their debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos' Electric Comic Book is a worthy successor to that early psychedelic masterpiece. Handicapped by a lack of hit singles, the album floundered on the charts, despite the presence of songs like Baby, I Want You, one of many original tunes on the LP.

Artist:    Lothar And The Hand People
Title:    Milkweed Love
Source:    CD: Presenting…Lothar And The Hand People
Writer(s):    Conly/Emelin/Ford/Flye/King
Label:    Micro Werks (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Originally from Denver, Colorado, Lothar and the Hand People found themselves relocating to New York City in 1967, releasing a series of singles that ranged from blue-eyed soul to pop. By 1968, however, the band had fully incorporated the Moog synthesizer and the theramine into their sound. Lothar was, in fact, the name of the theramine itself, essentially a black box with an audio modulater that was activated by waving one's hands above it. Among the more notorious tracks on the album Presenting…Lothar And The Hand People is Sex And Violence, whose entire lyrics consist of the song's title repeated over and over. And over.

Artist:    Kak
Title:    Lemonade Kid
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Kak)
Writer(s):    Gary Lee Yoder
Label:    Rhino (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. It turns out the album isn't bad at all (and the CD has some decent Gary Lee Yoder songs as bonus tracks) but Lemonaide Kid is by far the best song on the album.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Dandelion
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    If there was a British equivalent to the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations in terms of time and money spent on a single song, it might be We Love You, a 1967 single released by the Rolling Stones. To go along with the single (with its state-of-the-art production) the band spent a considerable sum making a full-color promotional video, a practice that would not become commonplace until the advent of MTV in the 1980s. Despite all this, US radio stations virtually ignored We Love You, choosing to instead flip the record over and play the B side, a tune called Dandelion. As to why this came about, I suspect that Bill Drake, the man behind the nation's most influential top 40 stations, simply decided that the less elaborately produced Dandelion was better suited to the US market than We Love You and instructed his hand-picked program directors at such stations as WABC, KHJ and WLS to play Dandelion. The copycat nature of top 40 radio being what it is, Dandelion ended up being a moderate hit in the US in the summer of '67.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Street Fighting Man
Source:    CD: Beggar's Banquet
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1968
    The Rolling Stones were at a low point in their career following their most psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, which came out in late 1967. As a response to charges in the rock press that they were no longer relevant the Stones, working with producer Jimmy Miller, released Jumpin' Jack Flash as a single in early 1968, following it up with the Beggar's Banquet album later in the year. The new album included the band's first recording with Miller producing, Street Fighting Man, which as a followup single to Jumpin' Jack Flash went a long ways toward insuring that the Rolling Stones would be making music on their own terms for as long as they chose to (which at the current rate looks to be around the same time as the end of Western Civilization).

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Jumpin' Jack Flash
Source:    LP: Through The Past, Darkly (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1968
    After the late 1967 LP Their Satanic Majesties Request was savaged by the critics, the Rolling Stones decided to make a big change, severing ties with their longtime producer Andrew Loog Oldham and replacing him with Jimmy Miller, who had made a name for himself working with Steve Winwood on recordings by both the Spencer Davis Group and Traffic. The collaboration resulted in a back-to-basics approach that produced the classic single Jumpin' Jack Flash. The song was actually the second Stones tune produced by MIller, although it was the first to be released. The song revitalized the band's commercial fortunes, and was soon followed by what is generally considered to be one of the Stones' greatest albums, the classic Beggar's Banquet (which included the first Miller-produced song, Street Fighting Man).

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source:    LP: Best Of Traffic (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood/Wood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    Take Me For A Little While/Eleanor Rigby
Source:    LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer(s):    Martin/Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967
    Vanilla Fudge made their mark by doing slowed down rocked out versions of popular songs such as the Supremes' You Keep Me Hangin' On. In fact, all of the tracks on their debut LP were songs of this nature, including two Beatles tunes. Side two of the original LP featured three tracks tied together by short psychedelic instrumental pieces knowns collectively as Illusions Of My Childhood. In addition to the aforementioned Supremes cover, the side features a Trade Martin composition called Take Me For A Little While that takes a diametrically opposed viewpoint to the first song, which leads directly into Eleanor Rigby, which sort of sums up both of the previous tracks lyrically. Although the Vanilla Fudge would stick around for a couple more years (and four more albums), they were never again able to match the commercial success of their 1967 debut LP.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Truckin'
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia/Lesh/Weir
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    The nearest thing the Grateful Dead had to a hit single before 1986 was Truckin', a feelgood tune sung by Bob Weir from the American Beauty album. I actually have a video clip on DVD of the band doing the song live on some TV show.

Artist:    Who
Title:    The Who Sell Out (side one)
Source:    LP: The Who Sell Out
Writer(s):    Keen/Entwistle/Townshend
Label:    Decca
Year:    1967
    In December of 1967 the Who released what is sometimes considered both the greatest tribute to and parody of top 40 radio ever released on vinyl. The first side of The Who Sell Out is a collection of songs interconnected by fake commercials and actual jingles used by pirate radio station Radio London, which had been shut down by the British government in August of 1967. The Who had actually been recording real commercials during this period, and the fake ones they made were done in the same style. The jingles, on the other hand, were genuine, and had been produced by PAMS Productions of Dallas, Texas, for the actual Radio London. In fact, the use of those jingles on The Who Sell Out led to the band being sued by PAMS for using them without permission (the band presumably thought it would OK to use them since the station itself no longer existed). The album itself starts off with Armenia City In The Sky, a song written by roadie John "Speedy" Keen, who would later have a hit single as the lead vocalist/songwriter on Thunderclap Newman's Something In The Air. This is followed by the short Heinz Baked Beans, credited to bassist John Entwhistle but bearing a strong resemblance to Keith Moon's Cobwebs And Strange, which had appeared on the band's previous album, A Quick One. Following a quick "more music" jingle (used by many US radio stations as well as Radio London) is Pete Townshend's third known version of Mary Anne With The Shaky Hand, using a calypso-style arrangement. This is followed by a commercial for Premier Drums (which reportedly got the band a free drum set) followed by a Radio London jingle. The next song is a short story about a girl whose deodorant "let her down" because she used the wrong brand. The right brand, in this case, was Odorono, the brand that had sold America on the entire concept of deodorants in the early 1900s. Another Radio London jingle leads to Townshend's Tattoo, a story of two brothers whose trip to the tattoo parlor has consequences when their parents find out. Following another jingle is Our Love Was, a song that was considered strong enough to be included on their 1968 compilation album Meaty Beaty Big And Bouncy. Part of what made the 60s top 40 radio "sound" was the rapid-fire segue of jingles and commercials into a song, and the Who do it up right with a group of four quick spots leading into the final track on side one. I Can See For Miles had already been available as a single since September of 1967 (October in the UK), but this was the first time it had been released in stereo, with dual drum tracks from Keith Moon. The second side of the Who Sell Out for the most part abandons the top 40 radio concept, although it does include a couple "commercials", but the first side, taken as a whole, is a true work of art.

Artist:    McKendree Spring
Title:    If The Sun Should Rise
Source:    LP: McKendree Spring (promo copy)
Writer(s):    McKendree Spring
Label:    Decca
Year:    1969
    From Glens Falls, NY, McKendree Spring was one of the last folk-rock groups to begin their recording career, and (to my knowledge) the only one to use synthesizers. The band, consisting of Fran McKendree (vocals and guitar), Fred Holman (bass), Dr. Michael Dreyfuss (electric violin, viola, Moog, Arp), and Martin Slutsky (electric guitar) kept recording steadily through 1976, and reunited for an album of new material in 2007. If The Sun Should Rise is the final track on their somewhat rare first album (the only one to include original bassist Larry Tucker), released in 1969.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    All Along The Watchtower
Source:    CD: Electric Ladyland
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    Although there have been countless covers of Bob Dylan songs recorded by a variety of artists, very few of them have become better known than the original Dylan versions. Probably the most notable exception is the Jimi Hendrix Experience version of All Along The Watchtower on the Electric Ladyland album. Hendrix's arrangement of the song has been adopted by several other musicians over the years, including Neil Young (at the massive Bob Dylan tribute concert) and even Dylan himself.

Artist:    Status Quo
Title:    Pictures Of Matchstick Men
Source:    Mono CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Francis Rossi
Label:    BMG/RCA/Buddah (original label: Cadet Concept)
Year:    1967
    If you have ever seen the film This Is Spinal Tap, the story of Britain's Status Quo might seem a bit familiar. Signed to Pye Records in 1967 the group scored a huge international hit with their first single, Pictures Of Matchstick Men, but were unable to duplicate that success with subsequent releases. In the early 1970s the band totally reinvented itself as a boogie band and began a run in the UK that resulted in them scoring more charted singles than any other band in history, including the Beatles and Rolling Stones. For all that, however, they never again charted in the US, where they are generally remembered as one-hit wonders. In addition to their UK success, Status Quo remains immensely popular in the Scandanavian countries, where they continue to play to sellout crowds on a regular basis.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Taxman
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    The Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver was a major step forward, particularly for guitarist George Harrison, who for the first time had three of his own compositions on an album. Making it even sweeter was the fact that one of these, Taxman, was chosen to lead off the album itself. Although Harrison is usually considered the band's lead guitarist, the solo in Taxman is actually performed by Paul McCartney, who also played bass on the track.
Artist:    Cryan' Shames
Title:    The Sailing Ship
Source:    LP: A Scratch In The Sky
Writer(s):    Fairs/Kerley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    If your entire exposure to Hinsdale, Illinois's Cryan' Shames was their 1966 cover version of the Searchers' Sugar And Spice, as I was, you might be surprised to hear their second album, A Scratch In The Sky. Although uneven, the album, written almost entirely by multi-instrumentalist Jim Fairs and bassist/guitarist Lenny Kerley, has some strong songs such as The Sailing Ship that deserve to be heard.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Change Is Now
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    McGuinn/Hillman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    1967 saw the departure of two of the Byrds' founders and most prolific songwriters: Gene Clark and David Crosby. The loss of Clark coincided with the emergence of Chris Hillman as a first-rate songwriter in his own right; the loss of Crosby later in the year, however, created an extra burden for Hillman and Roger McGuinn, who from that point on were the band's primary composers. Change Is Now was the band's first post-Crosby single, released in late 1967 and later included (in a stereo version) on their 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

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:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Go To Her (version two)
Source:    CD: Surrealistic Pillow (bonus track originally released on LP: Early Flight)
Writer(s):    Kantner/Estes
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage (original label: Grunt)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1974
    Nearly every major artist acquires a backlog of unreleased songs over a period of time, usually due to lack of space on their official albums. Eventually many of these tracks get released on compilation albums or (more recently) as bonus tracks on CD versions of the original albums. One of the first of these compilation albums was Jefferson Airplane's Early Flight LP, released in 1974. Of the nine tracks on Early Flight, five were recorded during sessions for the band's first two LPs, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off and Surrealistic Pillow. One song originally intended for Surrealistic Pillow was Go To Her, an early Paul Kantner collaboration. At four minutes, the recording was longer than any of the songs that actually appeared on the album, which is probably the reason it didn't make the final cut, as it would have meant that two other songs would have to have been deleted instead.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Fallin' In Love
Source:    LP: The Seeds
Writer:    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1966
    The first Seeds album is made up mostly of tracks that sound like variations on their biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard. One notable exception is the bluesy Fallin' In Love, which actually sounds like an early Doors song. The Doors, however, were still in their embryonic stage when the debut Seeds LP hit the stands in the spring of 1966.

Rockin' in the Days of Confusion # 2334 (starts 8/21/23) 

    It's back to free-form the week, with tracks from Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd, Little Feat, and others from the early to mid 1970s. As a bonus, we present the original (but unreleased until 2017) version of Elton John's Madman Across The Water, featuring Mick Ronson on guitar.

Artist:    Grand Funk Railroad
Title:    I'm Your Captain
Source:    CD: Closer To Home
Writer(s):    Mark Farner
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1970
    I first switched from guitar to bass during my junior year in high school, when I joined a band that already had a much better guitarist than I was, but no bass player. Like Noel Redding, I started by using an old acoustic guitar with a pickup, turning the tone control to its lowest setting. It wasn't until spring that I finally got an actual bass to play (a Hofner Beatle that I paid the German equivalent of $90.00 for new at a small local music shop). The band itself was modeled on early power trios like Cream and Blue Cheer, which basically meant that I was playing pseudo leads in the lower register, hopefully in some sort of counterpoint to what the lead guitarist was playing. It wasn't until I returned to the States and hooked up with a band that had two guitarists and played actual songs that I learned what playing the bass was really about. One of those songs was I'm Your Captain by Grand Funk Railroad. Borrowing a copy of the Closer To Home album I listened closely to Mel Schacher's bass lines, especially the riffs on the intro to I'm Your Captain and during the transition to the song's second movement. To this day I credit Schascher as being the most important influence on my own bass playing (even though I haven't actually picked up a bass guitar since 1989).

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Fearless (Interpolating "You'll Never Walk Alone")/Brain Damage/Eclipse
Source:    CD: Works (individual tracks originally released on LP: Meddle and LP: The Dark Side Of The Moon)
Writer(s):    Waters/Gilmour/Rodgers/Hammerstein
Label:    Capitol (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1971/1973
    In 1973, Pink Floyd released their last album to appear on EMI's Harvest label in the US before switching over to Columbia Records (although they continued to appear on Harvest in the UK). In response to the band's defection, EMI continued to release recycled Pink Floyd material from the band's early years as late as 1983, when the album Works was released at the same time as Pink Floyd's latest LP, The Final Cut. This time around, however, producer Joe Boyd took some liberties with the material, such as cross-fading Fearless (from the 1971 LP Meddle) into the final two tracks from Dark Side Of The Moon, Brain Damage and Eclipse, using alternate mixes for the latter two.

Artist:    James Gang
Title:    Mystery
Source:    LP: Bang
Writer(s):    Bolin/Cook
Label:    Atco
Year:    1973
    It seems like every James Gang album (excepting the first one) ends with a long, grandiose track, complete with strings. For the 1973 album Bang, guitarist Tommy Bolin came up with Mystery, a song very much in the same vein as Joe Walsh's Ashes The Rain And I. Roy Kenner, who had joined the band in 1972, provides lead vocals on the track.

Artist:    Gentle Giant
Title:    Cogs In Cogs
Source:    CD: The Power And The Glory
Writer(s):    Shulman/Minnear/Shulman
Label:    Alucard (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1974
    The Power And The Glory is a 1974 album by Gentle Giant that focuses on an individual that chooses politics as a means to make the world a better place. Like his predecessors, however, he becomes corrupted by power and ultimately becomes that which he originally fought against. Cogs In Cogs, which opens the original LP's second side, highlight's the protagonists frustration at being unable to actually change anything, which leads to his acceptance of, and later embracing of, authoritarianism. Lyricist/vocalist Derek Shulman, had this to say about the album: "Money and power will win no matter what and the people that are hoping for the best won’t usually get the best. The label we were on at that time, WWA, was an imprint of Vertigo. Vertigo was a fully owned company of Phonogram which is Polygram which is now Universal which will probably be GE in a week which is going to be the government soon enough. So there’s the corruption of power right there! The power and the glory! Again! Still to this day!" As of 2014, The Power And The Glory is available on Blu-Ray, with each song fully animated with various abstract patterns and all the lyrics displayed prominently on the screen. The latter makes a huge difference in the ability to enjoy the album, as Gentle Giant's vocals are often hard to decipher.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    Minstrel In The Gallery
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis
Year:    1975
    Following the back-to-back album-length works Thick As A Brick and A Passion Play, Jethro Tull returned to recording shorter tunes for the next couple of years' worth of albums. In late 1975, however, they recorded the eight minute long Mistrel In The Gallery for the album of the same name. The song (and album) was a return to the mix of electric and acoustic music that had characterized the band in its earlier years, particularly on the Aqualung and Benefit albums. A shorter version of Minstrel In The Gallery was released as a single and did reasonably well on the charts.

Artist:    Jeff Beck
Title:    You Know What I Mean/She's A Woman
Source:    CD: Blow By Blow
Writer(s):    Beck/Middleton/Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Epic
Year:    1975
    After dissolving the group Beck, Bogert and Appice in 1973, guitarist Jeff Beck spent the next year supporting various other musicians both on stage and in the studio before going to work on what would his first album made up entirely of instrumentals. Produced by George Martin, Blow By Blow opens with You Know What I Mean, a tune written by Beck and keyboardist Max Middleton. Blow By Blow turned out to be Beck's most commercially successful album, leading to more instrumental LPs over the next several years.

Artist:    Little Feat
Title:    Two Trains
Source:    CD: Dixie Chicken
Writer(s):    Lowell George
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1973
    Lowell George's band, Little Feat, truly found their sound, a brand of rock flavored with New Orleans spice, on their third LP, Dixie Chicken. That sound can be heard clearly on tracks like Two Trains, the second song on the album.

Artist:    Joe Cocker
Title:    Hitchcock Railway
Source:    LP: Joe Cocker!
Writer(s):    Dunn/McCashen
Label:    A&M
Year:    1969
    As was the case with his 1968 debut LP, the 1969 album Joe Cocker! was made up almost entirely of cover versions of then-current songs. Some of them, such as She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, are pretty well known in their original incarnations. Others, such as Hitchcock Railway, not so much. It turns out that the song was originally recorded by Jose Feliciano for his 1968 LP Souled, and released as a single that same year, stalling out in the # 77 position on the charts.

Artist:    Elton John
Title:    Madman Across The Water (original version)
Source:    CD: Tumbleweed Connection (bonus track)
Writer(s):    John/Taupin
Label:    Rocket
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1995
    Madman Across The Water was originally recorded in 1970 and intended for the album Tumbleweed Connection. For reasons that are not entirely clear (although it's nearly nine minute length may have been a factor) the recording was shelved and the song re-recorded with a different guitarist as the title song of Elton John's next LP instead. The original version, featuring Mick Ronson on lead guitar, remained unreleased until 1995, when it was included as a bonus track on the remastered CD version of Tumbleweed Connection.

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2333 (starts 8/14/23)
    It's the middle of August, and rather than try to dig up a bunch of obscure late summer songs we're going with a couple of long live tracks this week. One of the live tracks is from Woodstock, which of course is the most famous music festival ever held in August, while the other comes from Mad Dogs & Englishmen, a film I first saw at a drive-in theater (remember those?) on a hot August night. Of course that still leaves over an hour and half of other stuff, including a new Advanced Psych segment and a couple of obscurities never heard on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    The first rock band signed to Elektra Records was Love, a popular L.A. club band that boasted two talented songwriters, Arthur Lee and Bryan MacLean. On the heels of their first album, which included the single My Little Red Book and one of the first recordings of the fast version of Hey Joe, came their most successful single, the manic 7&7 Is, released in July of 1966.

Artist:    Clear Light
Title:    Street Singer
Source:    LP: Clear Light
Writer(s):    Noonan/Copeland
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    It's pretty well-known (among Stuck in the Psychedelic Era listeners, at any rate) that the first L.A. rock band signed to Elektra Records was Love, followed a few months later by the Doors. But do you know the name of the THIRD band signed to Elektra? Until a couple years ago I had no idea, but then a package arrived from a listener (and record collector) in Bakersfield, California containing a copy of an album called Clear Light. It turns out they were part of the same club scene that included bands like the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the two previous Elektra signings. In fact, one of the members of Clear Light, drummer Dallas Greene, had been a member of Lowell George's legendary band, the Factory (he would go on to greater fame playing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, among others). The album itself is a rather psychedelic mix of folk, rock, and even classical. I'm not exactly sure which, if any, of those best describes Street Singer, however. Clear Light's vocalist, Cliff DeYoung, went on to become a successful actor.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    You've Never Had It Better
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer:    Snagster/Schwartz/Poncher (Lowe/Tulin)
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Following the lack of a hit single from their second album, Underground, the Electric Prunes took one last shot at top 40 airplay with a song called Everybody Knows Your Not In Love. The band might have had better luck if they had pushed the flip side of the record, You Never Had It Better, which is a much stronger song. As it is, the record stiffed, and producer David Hassinger reacted by stripping the band of any creative freedom they might have had and made an album called Mass in F Minor using mostly studio musicians. The band, having signed away the rights to the name Electric Prunes to their manager early on, could do nothing but watch helplessly as Hassinger created an album that had little in common with the original band other than their name. Because of this, the original members soon left, and Hassinger brought in a whole new group for two more albums (and several singles) before retiring the Prunes name for good. In recent years several members of the original band, including James Lowe and Mark Tulin, who wrote You've Never Had It Better, reformed the Electric Prunes. Whether they had to get permission to use the name is unknown.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix
Title:    Room Full Of Mirrors
Source:    CD: First Rays Of The New Rising Sun (originally released on LP: Rainbow Bridge)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1971
    Jimi Hendrix often showed up at the studio with only the barest idea of a song to record, working out the details as he went along. Sometimes the result would be be a finished song. More often, however, he would end up returning to the song at a later date. Such was the case with Room Full Of Mirrors, a song that he first started working on in 1968. After unsuccessfully trying to come up with a working version of the song with various combinations of musicians, Hendrix decided to shelve the tune, returning to it in November of 1969 with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. The Band Of Gypsys, as the trio was known, was able to get a working master recorded on November 17, but Hendrix was far from finished with the track. Over the next few months the guitarist experimented with the recording, eventually overhauling the entire track, adding guitar overdubs and upgrading the drum sound to get a rough mix on August 20, 1970. This mix was first released in 1971 on the Rainbow Bridge LP. That's not the end of the story, however. In 1995 Alan Douglas, who by then had control of the Hendrix catalog, decided to release his own version of the album Hendrix left unfinished when he died unexpectedly in September of 1970. Unfortunately, "his own version' in this case meant bringing in Knack drummer Bruce Gary to replace Buddy Miles's original drum tracks, one of the many things Hendrix fans have never forgiven Douglas for.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I'm Only Sleeping
Source:    CD: Revolver (originally released in US on LP: Yesterday...And Today)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    Record buyers in the US were able to hear I'm Only Sleeping several weeks before their British counterparts thanks to Capitol Records including the song on the US-only Yesterday...And Today LP. There was a catch, however. Producer George Martin had not yet made a stereo mix of the song, and Capitol used their "Duophonic" system to create a fake stereo version of the tune for the album. That mix continued to be used on subsequent pressings of the LP (and various tape formats), even after a stereo mix was created and included on the UK version of the Revolver album. It wasn't until EMI released the entire run of UK albums on CD in both the US and UK markets that American record buyers had access to the true stereo version of the song heard here.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Blue Jay Way
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    The Beatles' psychedelic period hit its peak with the late 1967 release of the Magical Mystery Tour soundtrack. As originally conceived there were only six songs on the album, too few for a standard LP. The British solution was to present Magical Mystery Tour as two Extended Play (EP) 45 RPM records in a gatefold sleeve with a 23 page booklet featuring lyrics and scenes from the telefilm of the same name (as well as the general storyline in prose form).  As EPs were out of vogue in the US, Capitol Records, against the band's wishes, added five songs that had been issued as single A or B sides in 1967 to create a standard LP. The actual Magical Mystery Tour material made up side one of the LP, while the single sides were on side two. The lone George Harrison contribution to the project was Blue Jay Way, named for a street in the Hollywood Hills that Harrison had rented that summer. As all five of the extra tracks were credited to the Lennon/McCartney songwriting team, this meant that each of the band's 1967 albums had only one Harrison composition on them. This became a point of contention within the band, and on the Beatles' next album (the white album), Harrison's share of the songwriting had doubled.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Tomorrow Never Knows
Source:    CD: Revolver
Writer:    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1966
    A few years ago I started to compile an (admittedly subjective) list of the top psychedelic songs ever recorded. Although I never finished ranking the songs, one of the top contenders for the number one spot was Tomorrow Never Knows from the Beatles' 1966 LP Revolver. The song is one of the first to use studio techniques such as backwards masking and has been hailed as a masterpiece of 4-track studio production.

Artist:    Spiders
Title:    Hitch Hike
Source:    Mono EP: The Spiders (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Stevenson/Paul/Gaye
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Mascot)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1998
    Told by a Phoenix club owner to find a better name than the Earwigs, the band that would ultimately come to be known as Alice Cooper showed up two weeks later calling themselves the Spiders and performing with a huge black spider web as their backdrop. Within a year they were popular enough to cut their first record, a single called Why Don't You Love Me on the local Mascot label. For the B side they chose to cover the Rolling Stones' cover of Marvin Gaye's 1962 hit Hitch Hike.

Artist:    PF Sloan
Title:    The Sins Of A Family
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets vol. 10-Folk Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    PF Sloan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1965
    Although New York born, Phillip "Flip" Sloan was a fixture on the L.A. music scene at age 16, when he landed a job as a songwriter for Screen Gems, the biggest music publisher on the West Coast. He soon formed a partnership with fellow songwriter Steve Barri. In 1963 the two of them became backup singers and studio musicians for Jan & Dean, thanks to the efforts of Lou Adler, who would soon leave Screen Gems to start his own publishing company, Trousdale Music. Adler brought Sloan and Barri with him, and Sloan was soon recording for Adler's new Dunhill label, as well as writing hit records like Eve Of Destruction for other artists. He also became a member of the Wrecking Crew, playing lead guitar on most of the songs he himself wrote, including the opening riffs to Johnny Rivers's Secret Agent Man and the Mamas & Papas' California Dreamin'.  One of his earliest solo singles for Dunhill was The Sins Of A Family, released in 1965.

Artist:    Los Bravos
Title:    Black Is Black
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer(s):    Grainger/Hayes/Wadey
Label:    London
Year:    1966
    The first band from Spain to have a major pop hit was Los Bravos, who took Black Is Black to the top 10 in several countries, including the US, in late 1966. Interestingly, the band's lead vocalist, Michael Kogel, was actually a German national.

Artist:    Blues Magoos
Title:    Baby, I Want You
Source:    CD: Kaleidoscopic Compendium (originally released on LP: Electric Comic Book)
Writer:    Gilbert/Theilhelm
Label:    Mercury
Year:    1967
    Although not as well-known as their debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop, the Blues Magoos' Electric Comic Book is a worthy successor to that early psychedelic masterpiece. Handicapped by a lack of hit singles, the album floundered on the charts, despite the presence of songs like Baby, I Want You, one of many original tunes on the LP.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Fresh Garbage
Source:    LP: The Best Of Spirit (originally released on LP: Spirit)
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Epic (original label: Ode)
Year:    1968
    Much of the material on the first Spirit album was composed by vocalist Jay Ferguson while the band was living in a big house in California's Topanga Canyon outside of Los Angeles. During their stay there was a garbage strike, which became the inspiration for the album's opening track, Fresh Garbage. The song starts off as a fairly hard rocker and suddenly breaks into a section that is pure jazz, showcasing the group's instrumental talents, before returning to the main theme to finish out the track.The group used a similar formula on about half the tracks on the LP, giving the album and the band a distinctive sound right out of the box.

Artist:    Who
Title:    The Acid Queen
Source:    CD: Tommy
Writer(s):    Pete Townshend
Label:    MCA (original label: Decca)
Year:    1969
    Pete Townshend, the primary composer of the Who's rock opera Tommy, takes the lead vocals on The Acid Queen, a song that, while integral to the Tommy storyline, also stands as one of Townshend's strongest standalone compositions. The song is sung from the first person viewpoint of a gypsy who promises to cure Tommy's condition (blind, deaf and dumb) by using a combination of sex and drugs. Although her efforts are unsuccessful, the attempt itself has a profound effect on the youngster, who explores his inner self under the influence of LSD. Townshend himself has said that the song is "not just about acid: it's the whole drug thing, the drink thing, the sex thing wrapped into one big ball." In a reference to peer pressure, he adds that "society – people – force it on you. She represents this force." The song later became a hit single for, not surprisingly, Tina Turner, who played the part of the Acid Queen in the hit movie version of Tommy.

Artist:    Joe Cocker
Title:    Delta Lady (live)
Source:    LP: Mad Dogs & Englishmen
Writer(s):    Leon Russell
Label:    A&M
Year:    1970
    In the summer of 1971 virtually all the freaks in Mangum, Oklahoma (including the entire membership of the band Sunn) went to the local drive-in theater (our light show guy and I got in by riding in the trunk of our road manager's car) to see the film Mad Dogs & Englishmen. All of us, including the guy running the projection booth (who was also our assistant light show guy) were tripping our brains out by the time the film began. By then we had plugged in our own PA system, put a microphone next to one of the little speakers that you hang on your car window, and cranked it up to full volume, quickly running off the handful of cars who were not part of our group of crazies. Once we had the entire drive-in to ourselves, we proceded to dance, yell and sing along to songs like Delta Lady in a display of reckless abandon that would have made Ken Kesey proud. That August night in Oklahoma is the first thing I think of whenever I hear the live version of Delta Lady.
Artist:     Joni Mitchell
Title:     Carey
Source:     Blue
Writer:     Joni Mitchell
Label:     Reprise
Year:     1971
     Joni Mitchell's Blue album is probably the one that most people point to as the one that introduced them to the Canadian singer-songwriter, despite it being her third LP for Reprise. Carey is one of many songs on the album that received extensive airplay on progressive FM stations, which by 1971 were looking for ways to expand beyond their rock base without alienating their counter-culture core audience.

Artist:      Steppenwolf
Title:    28
Source:      CD: Steppenwolf The Second
Writer:    Gabriel Mekler
Label:    Atco
Year:     1968
     A common practice in the sixties was for the record's producer to choose what songs an artist would record, especially with newly-signed acts. Somehow, despite Steppenwolf's massive success with Born To Be Wild, producer Gabriel Mekler managed to make 28, a song he wrote himself, the lead track of side two of Steppenwolf The Second. I've been unable to unearth just who the lead vocalist on 28 is; it certainly isn't John Kay, the band's usual front man. Occasionally one of the other band members would provide lead vocals for a track, so it's entirely possible that is the case with 28. Another possibility (one I favor) is that Mekler himself is lead vocalist on 28. This may in fact have been his original plan for the song, as he had been a recording artist himself as a member of a group called the Lamp Of Childhood as recently as 1967.

Artist:    Max Frost And The Troopers (aka the 13th Power)
Title:    Shine It On
Source:    CD: Shape Of Things To Come
Writer(s):    Paul Wibier
Label:    Captain High (original label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Say what you will about Paul Wibier, he did know how to write a decent tune. Unfortunately, nobody knew who Paul Wibier was when he was actually writing and performing those songs. That's because he worked mostly with Mike Curb, who provided soundtracks for B movies performed by mostly anonymous musicians, Wibier being among the most anonymous. The best example of this is Max Frost And The Troopers, a name attached to a fictional band from a film called Wild In The Streets. Behind the scenes, Wibier provided the vocals for the soundtrack's songs, and when one of them, Shape Of Things To Come, became a legitimate hit record in 1968, Wibier ended up writing and singing on a whole album's worth of tunes by Max Frost And The Troopers, including Shine It One. The album, like the hit single, was called Shape Of Things To Come, which is not to be confused with the Wild In The Streets soundtrack LP, which contained some of the same songs, as well as the kind of incidental music found on 60s soundtrack albums. As to who the 13th Power actually was, the answer is...the 13th Power, Paul Wibier's own band, who also recorded as Mom's Boys.

Artist:     Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:     There's Always Tomorrow
Source:     LP: Midnight Ride
Writer:     Levin/Smith
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1966
     We move now to sunny Los Angeles, circa 1966, where we find a band from Boise, Idaho starring in Dick Clark's daily national dance show, Where The Action Is. Paul Revere and the Raiders were one of the many bands of the early 1960s that helped lay the groundwork for the temporary democratization of American popular music later in the decade (for more on that head over to After honing their craft for years in the clubs of the Pacific Northwest the Raiders caught the attention of Clark, who called them the most versatile rock band he had ever seen. Clark introduced the band to Terry Melcher, which in turn led to Paul Revere and the Raiders being the first rock band ever signed to industry giant Columbia Records, at that time the second largest record company in the country. In addition to organist Revere the band featured Mark Lindsay on lead vocals and saxophone, Phil "Fang" Volker on bass, Drake Levin on lead guitar and Mike "Smitty" Smith on drums. Occassional someone other than Lindsay would get the opportunity to sing a lead vocal part, as Smitty does on There's Always Tomorrow, a song he co-wrote with Levin shortly before the guitarist quit to join the National Guard. Seriously, the guy who played the double-tracked lead guitars on Just Like Me quit the hottest band in the US at the peak of their popularity to voluntarily join the military. I'd say there was a good chance he was not one of the guys burning their draft cards that year.

Artist:    Chesterfield Kings
Title:    I Can't Get Nothin'
Source:    LP: Don't Open Til Doomsday
Writer(s):    Babiuk//Prevost/O'Brien/Cona/Meech
Label:    Mirror
Year:    1987
    Formed in the late 1970s in Rochester, NY, the Chesterfield Kings (named for an old brand of unfiltered cigarettes that my grandfather used to smoke) were instrumental in setting off the garage band revival of the 1980s. Their earliest records were basically a recreation of the mid-60s garage sound, although by the time their 1987 album, Don't Open Til Doomsday, was released they had gone through some personnel changes that resulted in a harder-edged sound on tracks like I Can't Get Nothin'.     

Artist:    R.E.M.
Title:    Wolves, Lower
Source:    12" EP: Chronic Town
Writer(s):    Buck/Berry/Mills/Stipe
Label:    I.R.S.
Year:    1982
    Following the release of the first recording of Radio Free Europe as a single on the independent Hib-Tone label in 1981, R.E.M. returned to Drive-in Studio in Winston-Salem, North Carolina to record Chronic Town, a five-song EP to be released on a proposed new label called Dasht Hopes. Before any of that could happen, however, the band signed a deal with I.R.S. Records, who bought out the band's contracts with both Hib-Tone and Dasht Hopes and released Chronic Town on August 24, 1982, with one significant change. Wolves, Lower, as originally recorded, was not included on the planned EP, but the people at I.R.S. felt that the song Ages Of You was weaker than the rest of the tracks on the EP and had the band re-record it for the released version of Chronic Town. Although the EP itself is long out of print, all five tracks from Chronic Town were included on the CD edition of Dead Letter Office, released in 1987.

Artist:    Steven Cerio
Title:    Put Animals In Your Tall Grass
Source:    CD: The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow
Writer(s):    Steven Cerio
Label:    WowCool
Year:    2013
    Steven Cerio is what you might call a psychedelic renaissance man. Born in Liverpool, NY, near Syracuse, he moved to New York City after graduating from Syracuse University in 1987. He soon established himself as an artist and animator, working for a variety of clients, including Disney, Guitar Player magazine, A&M Records, Last Gasp Ecofunnies, Topps Bubble Gum cards and many more. He has worked with a variety of media, including magazines, silkscreen, animation, poster art and film. He has long been associated with the Residents, doing film and animation work on their music videos. He has published several books, including the award-winning "Steven Cerio's ABC book-a-drug primer". His film credits include the 2012 mid-length feature film The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow. Cerio also wrote the music for the film, which features narration by Kristin Hersh (leader of the alternative rock band Throwing Muses) on tracks like Put Animals In Your Tall Grass. The soundtrack album for The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow was released in 2013.

Artist:    Ten Years After
Title:    I'm Going Home (live at Woodstock)
Source:    LP: Goin' Home: Ten Years After Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Woodstock-Music From The Original Soundtrack And More)
Writer(s):    Alvin Lee
Label:    Deram (original label: Cotillion)
Year:    1968
    Ten Years After was one of those bands that had to be heard live to be truly appreciated. Producer Mike Vernon certainly thought so at any rate, so, midway through recording tracks for a second studio album, he decided to instead rent a small club in London and record the band's performance there. The result was the 1968 album Undead, which includes the original live version of I'm Going Home. As good as that version was, it pales in comparison to the band's more famous performance of the song a year later at Woodstock.

Artist:     Guess Who
Title:     Shakin' All Over
Source:     Mono LP: KHJ Boss Oldies vol. 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Johnny Kidd
Label:     Original Sound (original US label: Scepter)
Year:     1965
     The band that would become internationally famous as the Guess Who formed in Winnipeg, Alberta, Canada in 1960. Originally calling themselves the Silvertones, they were by 1962 known as Chad Allan and the Silvertones, then Chad Allan and the Reflections and finally, by 1964, Chad Allan and the Expressions. During those years they had several lineup changes, scoring a few minor hits on the Canadian charts in the process. Finally, in 1965, with a lineup consisting of Chad Allan, Randy Bachman, Bob Ashley, Jim Kale and Dale Peterson, they decided to try a new tactic. Their latest single, Shakin' All Over, was already huge success in Canada, going all the way to the top of the charts, but the band had their eyes on the US market as well. Deliberately circulating a rumor that the record might actually be a British Invasion supergroup recording under a pseudonym, the band's US label, Scepter Records, issued the record with a plain white label credited to "Guess Who?"  After the song was comfortably ensconced in the US top 40 (peaking at # 22) Scepter revealed that the band was actually Chad Allan and the Expressions. DJs in the US, however, continued to refer to the band as the Guess Who and within a few months the group adopted the new name. The band continued to chart minor hits in Canada using both Chad Allan and the Expressions and the Guess Who on their record labels, and for a time it looked like Shakin' All Over would be their only US hit. Burton Cummings replaced Bob Ashley in late 1965, sharing the lead vocals with Chad Allan, who left the group in 1966. Finally in 1969, after changing labels the Guess Who returned to the US charts with the album Wheatfield Soul, featuring the single These Eyes, and went on to score a series of hits in the early 70s.

rtist:    Kinks
Title:    I'm Not Like Everybody Else
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    One of the most popular songs in the Kinks' catalog, I'm Not Like Everybody Else was originally written for another British band, the Animals. When that group decided not to record the tune, the Kinks did their own version of the song, issuing it as the B side of the 1966 hit Sunny Afternoon. Although written by Ray Davies, it was sung by his brother Dave, who usually handled the lead vocals on only the songs he himself composed. Initially not available on any LPs, the song has in recent years shown up on various collections and as a bonus track on CD reissues of both the Kink Kontroversy and Face To Face albums. Both Davies brothers continue to perform the song in their live appearances.

Artist:    John's Children
Title:    Desdemona
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Marc Bolan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Track)
Year:    1967
    After a pair of failed singles, the Ashtead, Surrey band known as John's Children brought in a new lead guitarist, Marc Bolan, who wrote their third release, Desdemona. Although Desdemona was indeed a much stronger song than the band's earlier efforts, it found itself banned by the BBC for the line "lift up your skirt and fly". Since by the BBC-1 was the only legal top 40 station left operating in the UK (Radio Luxembourg being on the continent), the song did not get heard by most British listeners. Bolan soon left the group to form his own psychedelic folk band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, with percussionist Steve Peregrine Took.

Artist:    October Country
Title:    My Girlfriend Is A Witch
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Michael Lloyd
Label:    Rhino (original label: Epic)
Year:    1968
    By 1968 the L.A. under-age club scene was winding down, and several now out of work bands were making last (and sometimes only) attempts at garnering hits in the studio. One such band was October Country, whose first release had gotten a fair amount of local airplay, but who had become bogged down trying to come up with lyrics for a follow-up single. Enter Michael Lloyd, recently split from the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and looking to become a record producer. Lloyd not only produced and wrote the lyrics for My Girlfriend Is A Witch, he also ended up playing drums on the record as well. Since then Lloyd has gone on to be one of the most successful record producers in L.A. (the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, for instance).

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Fortunate Son
Source:    LP: Willy And The Poor Boys
Writer(s):    John Fogerty
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1969
    John Fogerty says it only took him 20 minutes to write what has become one of the iconic antiwar songs of the late 1960s. But Fortunate Son is not so much a condemnation of war as it is an indictment of the political elite who send the less fortunate off to die in wars without any risk to themselves. In addition to being a major hit single upon its release in late 1969 (peaking at #3 as half of a double-A sided single), Fortunate Son has made several "best of" lists over the years, including Rolling Stone magazine's all-time top 100. Additionally, in 2014 the song was added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Artist:    Stephen Stills
Title:    Go Back Home
Source:    LP: Stephen Stills
Writer(s):    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atlantic
Year:    1970
    For years I was of the opinion that Go Back Home was the only decent tune on Stephen Still's 1970 debut LP. I've since come to believe that there are actually one or two other listenable tracks on the album. Go Back Home is still the best one, however.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Watch Yourself
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Robert Yeazel
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Although the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band usually wrote their own material, they occassionally drew from outside sources. One example is Watch Yourself, written by Robert Yeazel, who would go on to join Sugarloaf in time for their second LP, Spaceship Earth, writing many of the songs on that album as well.

Artist:    Frumious Bandersnatch
Title:    Cheshire
Source:    British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released on untitled EP)
Writer(s):    Jack King
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Muggles Gramophone Works)
Year:    1968
    The longest track on the Frumious Bandersnatch EP (taking up the entire second side of the record), was a tune called Cheshire. Although the recent British CD issue of The Berkeley EPs credits Bob Winkleman as the writer of the piece, the liner notes of the same CD make it clear that Cheshire is actually the work of drummer Jackson King; in fact, the song dates back to the band's earliest days with its original lineup. Like the band name itself, the title of the track reflects King's intense interest in the works of Lewis Carroll.