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)
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.
Title: Legend Of A Girl Child Linda
Source: Mono LP: Sunshine Superman
Writer(s): Donovan Leitch
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.
Title: Rosy Won't You Please Come Home
Source: Mono LP: Face To Face
Writer(s): Ray Davies
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)
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
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)
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)
Label: Esoteric (original US label: A&M)
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.
Title: The Good's Gone
Source: Mono CD: The Who Sings My Generation
Writer(s): Pete Townshend
Label: MCA (original label: Decca)
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
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)
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
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)
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: Double Shot)
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).
Source: 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer: Joe Meek
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)
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
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
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.
Title: King Midas In Reverse
Source: British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Uncut (original label: Parlophone)
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.
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)
Label: Rhino (original label: CBS)
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.
Title: She's My Girl
Source: CD: The Turtles Present The Battle Of The Bands (bonus track originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Manifesto (original label: White Whale)
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!
Title: I Feel Free
Source: LP: Fresh Cream
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.
Title: Sunshine Of Your Love
Source: CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released on LP: Disraeli Gears)
Label: Priority (original label: Atco)
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."
Title: I'm So Glad
Source: Mono LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s): Skip James
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)
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.