Usually on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era we present a mix of singles, B sides and album tracks spread throughout the show. This time around, though, we are bunching things up a bit, with several sets from specific years, including an entire set of 1968 obscurities and a 1965 Kinks set, in the first hour, followed by an Advanced Psych segment made up entirely of unsolicited tracks sent to us from various sources. From there, after a couple more obscure tunes from 1969, we have a set of tunes from Cream, finishing out the show with a progression through the years 1964 to 1969.
Artist: Small Faces
Title: Itchycoo Park
Source: British import 45 RPM single
Led by Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, the Small Faces got their name from the fact that all the members of the band were somewhat vertically challenged. The group was quite popular with the London mod crowd, and was sometimes referred to as the East End's answer to the Who. Although quite successful in the UK, the group only managed to score one hit in the US, the iconic Itchycoo Park, which was released in late 1967. Following the departure of Marriott the group shortened their name to Faces, and recruited a new lead vocalist named Rod Stewart. Needless to say, the new version of the band did much better in the US than their previous incarnation.
Artist: Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title: Hummin' Happy
Source: LP: Incense And Peppermints
As soon as it became apparent that the song Incense And Peppermints was going to be a bit hit, the Strawberry Alarm Clock got to work on their first LP, also titled Incense And Peppermints. Most of the songs on the LP were band originals, with some, including the harmony-laden Hummin' Happy, co-credited to two of the band members, bassist George Bunnell and drummer Randy Seol, in addition to a group credit. I have no idea why they did it that way, but the 2009 reissue of the album lists all five individual members as songwriters.
Artist: Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title: Can You See Me (live version)
Source: CD: Live At Monterey (originally released on LP: Historic Performances Recorded at the Monterey International Pop Festival)
Writer: Jimi Hendrix
Label: UMe/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
The first great rock festival was held in Monterey, California, in June of 1967. Headlined by the biggest names in the folk-rock world (the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, the Mamas and the Papas, Simon & Garfunkel), the festival also served to showcase the talent coming out of the nearby San Francisco Bay area and introduced an eager US audience to several up and coming international artists, such as Ravi Shankar, Hugh Masakela, the Who, and Eric Burdon's new Animals lineup. Two acts in particular stole the show: the soulful Otis Redding, who was just starting to cross over from a successful R&B career to the mainstream charts, and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, formed in England in late 1966 by a former R&B sideman (and US Army vet) and two British natives. The recordings sat on the shelf for three years and were finally released less than a month before Hendrix's untimely death in 1970. Among the songs the Experience performed at Monterey was a Hendrix composition called Can You See Me. The studio version of the song had appeared on the band's first LP in the UK, but had been left off the US version of Are You Experienced. An early concert favorite, Can You See Me seems to have been permanently dropped from the band's setlist after the Monterey performance.
Title: Don't Bring Me Down
Source: 45 RPM single
I originally bought the Animals Animalization album in early 1967 and immediately fell in love with the first song, Don't Bring Me Down. Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King, Don't Bring Me Down is one of the few songs written for the Animals by professional songwriters that lead vocalist Eric Burdon actually admitted he liked.
Artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
Source: CD: Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Spirit of '67)
1966 was an incredibly successful year for Paul Revere and the Raiders. In addition to starting a gig as the host band for Dick Clark's new afternoon TV show, Where The Action Is, the band managed to crank out three consecutive top 10 singles. The second of these was Hungry, written by Brill building regulars Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil.
Artist: We The People
Title: You Burn Me Up And Down
Source: Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts From The First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s): Thomas Talton
Label: Rhino (original label: Challenge)
We The People was kind of a regional supergroup in the Orlando, Florida area, as it was made up of musicians from various local garage bands. The departure of lead guitarist Wayne Proctor in early 1967 and the band's other main songwriter Tommy Talton a year later led to the group's demise, despite having landed a contract with RCA Victor, at the time the world's largest record label. Before splitting up, however, they recorded a handful of garage-rock classics such as You Burn Me Up And Down, which was released as a B side in 1966.
Title: A Well Respected Man
Source: 45 RPM single
Writer(s): Ray Davies
The Kinks were one of the original British Invasion bands, scoring huge R&B-influenced hits with You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night in 1964. The hits continued in 1965 with more melodic songs like Set Me Free and Tired Of Waiting For You. 1966 saw Ray Davies's songwriting take a satiric turn, as A Well Respected Man amply illustrates. Over the next few years the Kinks would continue to evolve, generally getting decent critical reviews and moderate record sales for their albums. The title of one of those later albums, Muswell Hillbillies, refers to the Davies brothers hometown of Muswell Hill, North London.
Title: Tired Of Waiting For You
Source: Mono CD: The Best Of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Ray Davies
Label: Priority (original label: Reprise)
After a series of hard-rocking hits such as You Really Got Me and All Day And All Of The Night, the Kinks surprised everyone with the highly melodic Tired Of Waiting For You in 1965. As it turns out the song was just one of many steps in the continually maturing songwriting of Ray Davies.
Title: Such A Shame
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): Ray Davies
The B side of a 45 RPM record was usually thought of as filler material, but in reality often served another purpose entirely. Sometimes it was used to make an instrumental version of the hit side available for use in clubs or even as a kind of early kind of Karioke. As often as not it was a chance for bands who were given material by their producer to record for the A side to get their own compositions on record, thus giving them an equal share of the royalties. Sometimes the B sides went on to become classics in their own right. Possibly the band with the highest percentage of this type of B side was the Kinks, who seemed to have a great song on the flip side of every record they released. One such B side is Such A Shame, released as the B side of A Well Respected Man in late 1965. It doesn't get much better than this.
Artist: Rolling Stones
Title: Honky Tonk Women
Source: Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Abkco (original label: London)
After revitalizing their career with Jumpin' Jack Flash and Street Fighting Man in 1968, the Rolling Stones delivered the coup-de-grace the following year with a true monster of a hit: the classic Honky Tonk Women. The song was the first single without Brian Jones, who had been found dead in his swimming pool not long after being kicked out of the band. Jones's replacement, Mick Taylor (fresh from a stint with blues legend John Mayall), plays slide guitar on the track.
Artist: Lovin' Spoonful
Title: Nashville Cats
Source: LP: Homer (soundtrack) (originally released on LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful)
Writer(s): John B. Sebastian
Label: Cotillion (original label: Kama Sutra)
In late 1966, with two best-selling albums to their credit, The Lovin' Spoonful deliberately set out to make an album that sounded like it was recorded by several different bands, as a way of showcasing their versatility. With Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful, they did just that. Songs on the album ranged from the folky Darlin' Be Home Soon to the rockin' psychedelic classic Summer In The City, with a liberal dose of what would eventually come to be called country rock. The best example of the latter was Nashville Cats, a song that surprisingly went into the top 40 (but did not receive any airplay from country stations) and was (even more suprisingly) often heard on FM rock radio in the early 70s.
Title: Who Do You Love
Source: CD: Even More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer: Elias McDaniel
Label: Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Lansing, Michigan was home to the Woolies, who scored a minor hit covering Bo Diddley's Who Do You Love, thanks in large part to the song being issued on Lou Adler's Dunhill Records, which was at that time one of the hottest new labels around.
Artist: Count Five
Title: Psychotic Reaction
Source: Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 1-The Hits (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 (at the time) city was overshadowed by San Francisco at the other end of the bay (both cities were then, as now, 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 shifted musical gears).
Artist: Music Machine
Title: The People In Me
Source: Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Turn On The Music Machine and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s): Sean Bonniwell
Label: Rhino (original label: Original Sound)
After Talk Talk soared into the upper reaches of the US charts the Music Machine's management made a tactical error. Instead of promoting the follow-up single, The People In Me, to the largest possible audience, the band's manager gave exclusive air rights to a new station at the far end of the Los Angeles AM radio dial. As local bands like the Music Machine depended on airplay in L.A. as a necessary step to getting national exposure, the move proved disastrous. Without any airplay on influential stations such as KFI, The People In Me was unable to get any higher than the # 66 spot on the national charts. Even worse for the band, the big stations remembered the slight when subsequent singles by the Music Machine were released, and by mid-1967 the original lineup had disbanded.
Artist: United States Of America
Title: The American Metaphysical Circus
Source: CD: The United States Of America
Label: Sundazed (original label: Columbia)
Joseph Byrd was a member of New York's early 1960s avant-garde scene, and was already a respected and innovative experimental music composer when he and Dorothy Moskowitz relocated to Los Angeles in late 1963. Once in L.A. he co-founded the New Music Workshop with jazz trumpeter Don Ellis, and soon began incorporating elements of performance art into the events the workshop sponsored. In 1965 Byrd formed a blues band, fronted by his friend Linda Ronstadt, to play during a local "happening". Byrd later said that "the realization that rock was an access to a larger public came out of that concert, and the idea of forming a band began taking shape." That band came to be called the United States Of America. According to Byrd "Using the full name of the country for something so common as a rock group was a way of expressing disdain for governmental policy. It was like hanging the flag upside down." The thing is, neither Byrd, Moskowitz, or any of the other band members (who were all from the west coast experimental music community) had any experience with rock music itself. This left them in a position to literally start from scratch, as can be heard on The American Metaphysical Circus, the opening track of their self-titled LP, released in 1968. Apparently Byrd was particularly fond of that song title, as he ended up using it again, this time as an album title after internal differences, both personal and musical, caused the United States Of America to break up shortly after the release of their only LP. Moskowitz eventually became a member of Country Joe McDonald's All-Star band, while other band members went on to various musical and/or electronics projects.
Artist: Blossom Toes
Title: Ever Since A Memory (demo)
Source: Mono British import CD: If Only For A Moment (bonus track)
Writer(s): Brian Godding
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2007
England's Blossom Toes only released two albums during the four years they were together: The pop-psych We Are Ever So Clean (Oct 1967) and the much heavier rocker If Only For A Moment (July 1969). Sometime in between they recorded a series of demo tapes of songs mostly written by multi-instrumentalist Brian Godding such as Ever Since A Memory. Those demo tapes were finally made available to the public in 2007 when they were included on the CD version of If Only For A Moment.
Artist: West Coast Consortium
Title: Amanda Jane
Source: Mono British import CD: Love, Poetry & Revolution
Writer(s): Geoff Simpson
Year: Recorded 1968, released 2013
When Americans hear the words West Coast the first thing that comes to mind is California (unless you happen to be a resident of Washington or Oregon, at any rate). In the United Kingdom, however, West Coast can mean a number of places in England, Scotland and Wales (in fact Liverpool is on England's west coast). That said, the West Coast Consortium was actually a North London band, making it much closer to England's east coast than any other major body of water. Regardless, the Consortium, as they would later shorten their name to, was built around the songwriting of guitarist Geoff Simpson and the vocals of Robbie Fair. Their studio work for the Pye label was extremely over-produced, however, and failed to make much of an impression on the British charts, but demos recorded in their own home studio such as Amanda Jane give us a glimpse of what the band really wanted to be doing.
Artist: Stone Country
Title: Love Psalm
Source: European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released in the US as 45 RPM single)
Label: Sony Music (original label: RCA Victor)
Despite having common roots, rock and country music had gone in entirely different directions by the mid-1960s, with very little in common. This was starting to change, however, as groups like the Byrds and Buffalo Springfield were experimenting with what would be come to be known by the early 1970s as country-rock. One of the first musicians to pioneer this new sub-genre was a singer-songwriter named Steve Young, who had arrived in Los Angeles from his native Alabama in 1963 and by 1967 had formed a band called Stone Country. The group was only together for a couple years, releasing a self-titled LP in 1968. Although Young did most of the songwriting for the band, the album included Love Psalm, from Brill Building songwriters Jeff Barry and Diane Hildebrand, which was also released as a single. Young would go on to become a successful songwriter, his most famous composition being Seven Bridges Road.
Artist: H.P. Lovecraft
Title: Let's Get Together
Source: CD: Two Classic Albums From H.P. Lovecraft (originally released on LP: H.P. Lovecraft)
Writer(s): Chet Powers (aka Dino Valenti)
Label: Collector's Choice/Universal Music (original label: Philips)
Dino Valenti's most well-known tune, Let's Get Together, had already been recorded by several artists, including the Kingston Trio and Jefferson Airplane, by the time Chicago-based H.P. Lovecraft recorded it for their 1967 debut LP. Unlike other versions, which emphasized the folk aspect of the song, Lovecraft's version is a bit more pop oriented and sounds just a bit too happy. The band would soon relocate to California and release a second album containing mostly original material.
Artist: Jeff Sanford's Jazz Cartoon Orchestra
Title: Bird Life In The Bronx
Source: CD: Playland At The Beach
Label: Little Village
Formed in 2003 to increase awareness of Raymond Scott, whose compositions were adapted by Carl Stalling for use in over 120 Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons in the 1930s and beyond, Jeff Sanford's Jazz Cartoon Orchestra (actually a nonette) has expanded its horizons to encompass a wide variety of jazz styles over the years. In fact, their 2023 album, Playland At The Beach, only includes four Scott compositions, including the opening track, Bird Life In The Bronx.
Artist: Steven Cerio
Title: A Lengthy Explanation Of Sunbeams
Source: CD: The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow
Writer(s): Steven Cerio
Steven Cerio is a multimedia artist originally from Liverpool, NY, who is credited with setting the stage for the new-psychedelic revival in New York City. A graduate of Syracuse University, Cerio wrote and directed the indy film The Magnificent Pigtail Shadow in 2012. The following year he released a soundtrack album for the film, which is narrated by Kristin Hirsch of Throwing Muses.
Artist: Steve Piper
Title: Waltz For Tinker
Source: CD: Mirror
Writer(s): Steve Piper
Not every talented musician signs a contract with a major record label. Many, for a variety of reasons, choose to remain local, appearing at a variety of venues and often building up a following that is every bit as loyal as the largest international audience. One such local artist is Steve Piper of Rochester, NY. He has been performing, both as a solo artist and as a member of various groups, for several years now, occasionally recording an album's worth of material in his home studio.
Artist: Tommy James And The Shondells
Source: LP: Cellophane Symphony
Although Tommy James And The Shondells were known primarily as a singles band, they did, toward the end of their existence, start to shift their emphasis toward albums such as 1969's Cellophane Symphony. One of the strongest tracks on that album was Changes, which did manage to garner some minor airplay on the up and coming FM radio stations of the time.
Artist: Crystal Rain
Title: Hey Ma Ma
Source: Mono CD: A Lethal Dose of Hard Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single A side)
Writer(s): Bill Moan
Label: Arf! Arf! (original label: Vangee)
Dayton, Ohio's Crystal Rain released two singles on the local Vangee label in 1969. Both are worth checking out. The first of the two, written by Bill Moan, is Hey Ma Ma, released in April. Pretty intense stuff.
Artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival
Source: 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s): John Fogerty
Yes, I know Creedence Clearwater Revival is not what you would call a psychedelic band. Nonetheless, they made some of the best rock records of 1969, including Commotion, which was released as the B side of Green River. Personally I think it sounds pretty psychedelic. So there.
Title: Strange Brew
Source: CD: Disraeli Gears
Label: Polydor.Polygram (original label: Atco)
Strange Brew, the opening track from Cream's Disraeli Gears album, was also released as a single in early 1967. The song has proven popular enough over the years to be included on pretty much every Cream anthology album ever compiled, and even inspired a Hollywood movie of the same name.
Title: White Room (single version)
Source: LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Wheels Of Fire)
Label: United Artists (original label: Atco)
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.
Title: Mother's Lament
Source: CD: Disraeli Gears
Writer: Trad. Arr. Cream
Label: Polydor/Polygram (original US label: Atco)
The shortest-ever Cream recording was an old English drinking song called Mother's Lament. Vocals on the song were led by drummer Ginger Baker, and the track was chosen to close out the Disraeli Gears album. By one of those odd coincidences of the music industry, the album was issued in Europe on the Polydor label (as were many cutting-edge bands of the time, including the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Procol Harum and the Who), which at the time did not issue records in the US. By the late 1980s, however, Polydor was well established in the US and all the Cream albums on Compact Disc were released under the Polydor imprint.
Artist: Simon And Garfunkel
Title: Bleeker Street
Source: CD: Collected Works (originally released on LP: Wednesday Morning, 3AM)
Writer(s): Paul Simon
One of the first of many "slice of life" songs from songwriter Paul Simon, Bleeker Street (a real street in New York's Greenwich Village) appeared on the first Simon And Garfunkel LP, Wednesday Morning, 3AM, in late 1964. The album did not initially sell well, and the duo actually split up shortly after it was deleted from the Columbia catalog. Following the success of an electrified remix of another song from the album, The Sound Of Silence, the pair reunited and Columbia reissued Wednesday Morning, 3AM in 1966.
Artist: Five Americans
Title: I See The Light
Source: CD: Nuggets-Classics From the Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Label: Rhino (original label: Abnak)
For years I was under the impression that the Five Americans were a Texas band, mainly due to Abnak Records having a Texas address. It turns out, though, that the band was actually from Durant, Oklahoma, although by the time they had their biggest hit, Western Union, they were playing most of their gigs in the Lone Star state, particularly in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. I See The Light is an earlier single built around a repeating Farfisa organ riff that leads into a song that can only be described as in your face.
Artist: Butterfield Blues Band
Title: Walkin' Blues
Source: CD: East-West
Writer: Robert Johnson
Unlike The Blues Project, which mixed original material with improvisational arrangements of blues classics, the Butterfield Blues Band took pride in presenting an authentic Chicago blues sound. The opening track for their most famous album, East-West, was Robert Johnson's Walkin' Blues.
Artist: Chocolate Watchband
Title: In The Midnight Hour
Source: 45 RPM single
Year: Recorded 1966, released 2012
Among the many Chocolate Watchband recordings that were subjected to major changes by producer Ed Cobb was a cover of Wilson Pickett's R&B classic In The Midnight Hour, a song that was also covered by the Young Rascals. The biggest change Cobb made to the recording was to replace Dave Aguilar's original lead vocals with those of studio vocalist Don Bennett. Once Sundazed got the rights to the Watchband's recordings they included both versions on their CD version of the No Way Out album and in 2012 issued the mono mix of the Aguilar version for the first time as a single.
Artist: Great! Society
Title: Somebody To Love
Source: CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Conspicuous Only In Its Absence)
Writer(s): Darby Slick
Label: Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year: Recorded 1966, released 1968
One of the iconic songs of the psychedelic era (and of the so-called San Francisco sound) is Somebody To Love, released by Jefferson Airplane in 1967 on their Surrealistic Pillow album. Somebody To Love was written by Darby Slick, guitarist for another San Francisco band, Great! Society. The Society had released the song, featuring Slick's sister-in-law Grace on lead vocals, as a single in early 1966 but was unable to get any local airplay for the record. In June the group played the Matrix, a club managed by Marty Balin, the founder of Jefferson Airplane. The entire gig was recorded (probably by legendary Grateful Dead soundman Owsley Stanley, whose board recordings usually isolated the vocals in one channel and the instruments in the other to provide the band with a tape they could use to critique their own performance) and eventually released on an album called Conspicuous Only In Its Absence two years after Great! Society disbanded. Within a few weeks of this performance Grace Slick would leave the group to join Jefferson Airplane, taking the song with her. This whole set of circumstances can't help but raise the question of whether Balin was using the Society's gig at the Matrix as a kind of sideways audition for Slick.
Artist: Neil Young/Crazy Horse
Title: Cinnamon Girl
Source: LP: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Writer(s): Neil Young
My favorite Neil Young song has always been Cinnamon Girl. I suspect this is because the band I was in the summer after I graduated from high school used an amped-up version of the song as our show opener (imagine Cinnamon Girl played like I Can See For Miles and you get a general idea of how it sounded). If we had ever recorded an album, we probably would have used that arrangement as our first single. I finally got to see Neil Young perform the song live (from the 16th row even) with Booker T. and the MGs as his stage band in the mid-1990s. It was worth the wait.