Sunday, November 19, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2347 (starts 11/20/23)

    This time around we have an actual battle of the bands, with the Doors going up against the Fab Four, plus a handful of tracks never played on the show before, including two bands making their Stuck in the Psychedelic Era debut. And to finish off the week we have part two of The Blues.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Tucker/Mantz
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1966
    The Electric Prunes biggest hit was I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night), released in late 1966 and hitting the charts in early 1967. The record, initially released without much promotion from the record label, was championed by Seattle DJ Pat O'Day of KJR radio, and was already popular in that area when it hit the national charts (thus explaining why so many people assumed the band was from Seattle). I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night) has come to be one of the defining songs of the psychedelic era and was the opening track on both Lenny Kaye's original Nuggets compilation album and the first LP in Rhino's own Nuggets series in the 1980s.

Artist:    Frantics
Title:    Human Monkey
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Miller/Stevenson
Label:    Rhino (original label: Action)
Year:    1966
    The Frantics were a popular cover band in Tacoma, Washington in the early 60s. Guitarist Jerry Miller, however, had greater ambitions and eventually relocated to San Francisco, taking the band's name and two of its members, keyboardist Chuck "Steaks" Schoning and drummer Don Stevenson, with him. After recruiting bassist Bob Mosely the Frantics cut their only single, an early Motown-style dance number called the Human Monkey, in 1966. The group would soon shed Schoning and pick up two new members, changing their name to Moby Grape in the process.

Artist:    Wanderin' Kind
Title:    Something I Can't Buy
Source:    Mono CD: If You're Ready! The Best Of Dunwich Records...Volume 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ingle/Sacks/Reybuck
Label:    Sundazed/Here 'Tis (original label: Dunwich)
Year:    1966
    Of all the acts associated with the Dunwich label (and later Dunwich Productions) none is more overlooked than the Wanderin' Kind. Their only single, a folk-rock arrangement of Wynken, Blynken and Nod, is not even included in either of the Best Of Dunwich Records CD compilations put out by Sundazed. The record's B side, Something I Can't Buy, is included on the second volume, but no mention of either song or artist is to be found in the liner notes of either CD. There's nothing on the internet about the Wanderin' Kind, either, a truly obscure group.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Darlin' Companion
Source:    LP: The Best Of The Lovin' Spoonful (Volume Two) (originally released on LP: Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful)
Writer(s):    John Sebastian
Label:    Kama Sutra
Year:    1966
    The Lovin' Spoonful hit their creative peak with the album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful in 1966. Each of the albums 11 songs was deliberately done in a different style, ranging from jug band music to psychedelic rock, with three of them hitting the top 10 singles chart. Another, Darlin' Companion, was covered by Johnny Cash and June Carter on the 1969 live album Johnny Cash at San Quentin. The original Lovin' Spoonful version was considered strong enough to be included on the second Best Of The Lovin' Spoonful album, released in 1968.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Little Miss Queen Of Darkness
Source:    Mono British import CD: Face To Face
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Sanctuary (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1966
    Although the Kinks were putting out some of their most classic recordings in 1966 (A Well Respected Man, Sunny Afternoon), the band was beset with problems not entirely of their own making, such as being denied visas to perform in the US and having issues with their UK label, Pye Records. Among those issues was the cover of their LP Face To Face, which bandleader Ray Davies reportedly hated, as the flower power theme was not at all representative of the band's music. There were internal problems as well, with bassist Peter Quaife even quitting the band for about a month during the recording of Face To Face. Although a replacement for Quaife, John Dalton, was brought in, the only track he is confirmed to have played on was a Ray Davies tune called Little Miss Queen Of Darkness.

Artist:    Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:    When I Was Young
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer:    Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1967
    After the Animals disbanded in 1966, Eric Burdon set out to form a new band that would be far more psychedelic than the original group. The first release from these "New Animals" was When I Was Young. The song was credited to the entire band, a practice that would continue throughout the entire existence of the group that came to be called Eric Burdon And The Animals.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Tribal Gathering
Source:    CD: The Notorious Byrd Brothers
Writer(s):    Crosby/Hillman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1968
    In January of 1967 David Crosby attended something called "The Gathering of the Tribes: The Human Be-In" at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Crosby was so impressed by the event and those attending it that he wrote a song about the experience. Tribal Gathering was recorded by the Byrds on August 16, 1967. Within two months Crosby would be kicked out of the band by Chris Hillman and Jim (Roger) McGuinn. Despite this, Tribal Gathering was included on the Byrds' next LP, The Notorious Byrd Brothers, which was released in January of 1968.

Artist:    Floating Bridge
Title:    Don't Mean A Thing
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 8-The Northwest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pat Gossan
Label:    Rhino (original label: Vault)
Year:    1969
    One of the forgotten bands from the late 1960s Seattle music scene was Floating Bridge. Formed in 1967, the band consisted of Rich Dangel, Joe Johansen and Denny MacLeod on guitars, Pat Gossan as vocals, Michael Jacobsen on electric Cello & saxophone, Joe Johnson on bass, Andrew Lang on trumpet and Michael Marinelli on the drums. In addition to a highly collectable self-titled LP, Floating Bridge only released two singles before disbanding in 1969. The second of these was a non-album track, Don't Mean A Thing, which was released on the independent Vault label in 1969.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience (II)
Title:    Drifting
Source:    LP: The Cry Of Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy (original label: Reprise)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1971
    Recorded during July and August of 1970, Drifting was first released on the 1971 album The Cry Of Love six months after the death of Jimi Hendrix. The song features Hendrix on guitar and vocal, Mitch Mitchell on drums and Billy Cox on bass. Buzzy Linhart makes a guest appearance on the tune, playing vibraphone.

Artist:    Knaves
Title:    Your Stuff
Source:    Mono CD: Oh Yeah! The Best Of Dunwich Records (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Howard Berkman
Label:    Sundazed
Year:    1967
    Rejected by both of Chicago's top 40 stations, the Knaves' second and final single, Inside-Outside/Your Stuff, was long thought to have remained unissued commercially. In recent years, however, several copies of the record have surfaced and are not considered to be bootlegs. The single credits lead vocalist Howard Berkman as sole songwriter of Your Stuff, although the Best Of Dunwich Records CD lists lead guitarist John Hulbert as co-writer of the song.

Artist:    Music Machine
Title:    Come On In
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Sean Bonniwell
Label:    Original Sound
Year:    1966
    It only cost a total of $150 for the Music Machine to record both sides of their debut single at RCA Studios in Los Angeles, thanks to the band having been performing the songs live for several months. The band then took the tapes to Original Sound, who issued Talk Talk and Come On In on their own label. It may seem odd now, but original promo copies of the record show Come On In, a song that in many ways anticipated bands like the Doors and Iron Butterfly, as the "plug side" of the record, rather than Talk Talk, which of course went on to become the Music Machine's only major hit.

Artist:    Young Rascals
Title:    Find Somebody
Source:    CD: Groovin'
Writer(s):    Cavaleire/Brigati
Label:    Warner Special Products (original label: Atlantic)
Year:    1967
    Back in the early 1980s I made myself a mix tape from various albums that I had found at the studios of KUNM, the University Of New Mexico radio station, where I was doing a couple of weekly shifts as a student/volunteer. I still have that tape somewhere, but somewhere along the way I lost track of just what the sources were for the various songs I recorded. Among those "mystery songs" was a tune I really liked a lot called (presumably) Find Somebody. The problem was that I had no clue who the band was. I thought it might be the Young Rascals; if it was it was hands down the coolest Young Rascals song I had ever heard. I spent the next 30 years or so trying to find out where the song had originally appeared, as the cassette tape was too worn out to use over the air. Finally, in 2017, I found a copy of the third Young Rascals album, Groovin', and there it was. So here it is: Find Somebody by the Young Rascals, featuring vocals by Eddie Brigati. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Artist:    Mike Stuart Span
Title:    World In My Head
Source:    Mono British import CD: Think I'm Going Weird (originally released on EP: Exspansions)
Writer(s):    Bennett/Hobday/McCabe/Murphy
Label:    Grapefruit (original label: 117)
Year:    Recorded 1968, released 1993
    Evolving out of a band called the Mighty Atoms, the Mike Stuart Span had already gone through several personnel changes and had been signed, and subsequently dropped by EMI by the time they recorded World In My Head. Without a label to release it on, the recording only existed as an acetate for 25 years before being released on an EP by a British fanzine called 117. Around the time the band was recording World In My Head they were chosen to the be subject of a BBC documentary called A Year In The Life, which charted the band's progress over a period of 12 months. During this period some of their demos were heard by Clive Selwood, head of Elektra Records' UK division. This led to the band signing a deal with Elektra, changing their name to Leviathan in the process. Things did not go well, however, and the band split up before the album was completed. An updated rebroadcast of A Year In The Life in 1989 led to renewed interest in the Mike Stuart Span, leading to the release of the EP Exspansions in 1993. Even more demos surfaced on a CD called Timespan in 1995.

Artist:    Bob Seger System
Title:    Ramblin' Gamblin' Man
Source:    Simulated stereo 45 RPM single (reissue)
Writer(s):    Bob Seger
Label:    Starline (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    People who are familiar with the 70s and 80s hits of Bob Seger's Silver Bullet Band may be surprised to hear how much raw energy there is on Seger's early recordings with the Heard, and later the Bob Seger System. The best known of these records is Ramblin' Gamblin' Man, released as a single in 1969. The song did pretty well at the time, but it would be several years before Seger would return to the charts.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Wish Me Up
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side (reissue)
Writer(s):    March/Saxon
Label:    Sundazed/M-G-M
Year:    1970
    By the time the 60s had come to an end, the Seeds, who had spearheaded the flower power movement in the middle of the decade, were on their last legs. Only Sky Saxon and Daryl Hooper were left from the original group, and they had lost their contract with GNP Crescendo. Their manager was able to secure a deal to record a pair of singles for M-G-M, but, as can be heard on the B side of the first single, Wish Me Up, the old energy just wasn't there anymore.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    In The Arena
Source:    LP: Volume II
Writer(s):    Markley/Harris
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    In The Arena is the quintessential West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band song: an ambitious piece that uses spoken word sections and opposing Apollonian and Dionysian musical themes (the latter featuring some of Ron Morgan's best guitar work) to imply that the things we watch on the nightly television newscast serve the same function in our culture that gladiator fights and the like served in ancient Roman times. The track opens side one of the second West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band album, appropriately called Volume II.

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

Artist:    Velvet Illusions
Title:    Acid Head
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Weed/Radford
Label:    Rhino (original label: Tell, also released on Metromedia Records)
Year:    1967
    Showing an obvious influence by the Electric Prunes (a suburban L.A. band that was embraced by the Seattle crowd as one of their own) the Velvet Illusions backtracked the Prunes' steps, leaving their native Yakima and steady gigging for the supposedly greener pastures of the City of Angels. After a few months of frustration in which the band seldom found places to practice, let alone perform, they headed back to Seattle to cut Acid Head before calling it quits.

Artist:    Strawberry Alarm Clock
Title:    Good Morning Starshine
Source:    LP: The Best Of The Strawberry Alarm Clock (originally released on LP: Good Morning Starshine)
Writer(s):    Rado/Ragni/MacDermott
Label:    Sundazed/UNI
Year:    1969
    By 1969 serious problems had developed for the Strawberry Alarm Clock. First, their former manager, whom they had fired for incompetence, had hired two former members of the band, along with three new guys, to tour as the Strawberry Alarm Clock. After a series of legal battles he backed off, but by then nobody wanted to book a band called Strawberry Alarm Clock because they had no idea who would actually show up. Meanwhile, the real S.A.C. was busy working on a fourth album, with the band members producing themselves for the first time. This album was much more blues rock oriented, but their record company was insisting on the band recording another hit single like Incense And Peppermints. The band obliged by once again working with an outside producer to record the song Good Morning Starshine from the musical Hair. According to keyboardist Mark Weitz, "We played well on the music track, we all personally disliked the song as not being our style – that's an understatement – [but] recorded it anyway. Oliver's version came out before ours, and we were killed! That was the end of the line." After a few more non-album singles that failed to chart, the Strawberry Alarm Clock disbanded in 1972, with guitarist Ed King accepting an offer from Ronnie Van Zant to join Lynyrd Skynryd.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat)
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: L.A. Woman)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1971
    Following a downward slide starting in 1968, the Doors ended their original run on a high note in 1971 with the L.A. Woman album. Among the strong blues-based tracks on the album is The WASP (Texas Radio And The Big Beat), an anthemic number that ranks up with other Doors album classics such as Five To One, When The Music's Over and The End. Big Beat indeed.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Got To Get You Into My Life
Source:    LP: Revolver
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Capitol/EMI
Year:    1966
    One of the best known songs on the Beatles' 1966 album Revolver is Paul McCartney's Got To Get You Into My Life. The song was not released as a single until 1976, when it became the last original Beatles song to hit the top 10 (Free As A Bird, a fleshing out of a John Lennon demo recording by the three living members of the band, made the top 10 nearly 20 years later). McCartney later revealed that the song was an ode to pot, saying "'Got to Get You into My Life' was one I wrote when I had first been introduced to pot ... So [it's] really a song about that, it's not to a person." John Lennon called Got to Get You into My Life one of Paul's best songs.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Her Madly
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1971   
    Released as a single in advance of the 1971 Doors album L.A. Woman, Love Her Madly was a major success, peaking just outside the top 10 in the US, and going all the way to the #3 spot in Canada. The album itself was a return to a more blues-based sound by the Doors, a change that did not sit well with producer Paul Rothchild, who left the project early on, leaving engineer Bruce Botnik to assume production duties. Rothchild's opinion aside, it was exactly what the Doors needed to end their run (in their original four man incarnation) on a positive note.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Here Comes The Sun
Source:    LP: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    George Harrison
Label:    Apple
Year:    1969
    In a way, George Harrison's career as a songwriter parallels the Beatles' development as a studio band. His first song to get any attention was If I Needed Someone on the Rubber Soul album, the LP that marked the beginning of the group's transition from performers to studio artists. As the Beatles' skills in the studio increased, so did Harrison's writing skills, reaching a peak with the Abbey Road album. As usual, Harrison wrote two songs for the LP, but this time one of them (Something) became the first single released from the album and the first Harrison song to hit the top five on the charts. The other Harrison composition on Abbey Road was Here Comes The Sun. Although never released as a single, the song, written while Harrison, tired of dealing with the business aspects of Apple Corp., was hiding out at his friend Eric Clapton's place, has gone on to become Harrison's most enduring masterpiece.

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:    Doors
Title:    The End
Source:    CD: Weird Scenes Inside The Gold Mine (originally released on LP: The Doors)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1967
    Prior to recording their first album the Doors' honed their craft at various Sunset Strip clubs, working up live versions of the songs they would soon record, including their show-stopper, The End. Originally written as a breakup song by singer/lyricist Jim Morrison, The End runs nearly twelve minutes and includes a toned-down version of the controversial spoken "Oedipus section" that got them fired from their gig as house band at the Whisky-A-Go-Go. My own take on the famous "blue bus" line, incidently, is that Morrison, being a military brat, was probably familiar with the blue shuttle buses used on military bases overseas for a variety of purposes, including taking kids to school, and simply incorporated his experiences with them into his lyrics.  The End got its greatest exposure in 1979, when Oliver Stone used it in his film Apocalypse Now.

Artist:    Gods
Title:    Hey Bulldog
Source:    British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Fans of Uriah Heep may recognize the names Ken Hensley, Joe Konas, John Glascock and Lee Kerslake as members of the legendary British rock band at various phases of its existence. What they may not realize is that these four members had already been bandmates since early 1968 as members of the Gods. The band made it's recording debut with a song called Baby's Rich, which led to a concept album called Genesis. 1969 saw the release of a powerful cover of the Beatles' Hey Bulldog, along with a second album, before the group morphed into a band called Toe Fat, with Hensley soon departing to form Uriah Heep. Glascock would later become a long time member of another legendary British band, Jethro Tull.

Artist:    Tangerine Zoo
Title:    Trip To The Zoo
Source:    Mono British import CD: All Kinds Of Highs (originally released in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Smith/Benevides
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Not all Boston area bands in 1968 were part of the overly hyped "bosstown sound" perpetrated on an unsuspecting public by executives at M-G-M Records. One of the bands that did not participate in the hoax was the Tangerine Zoo from nearby Swansea. The Zoo, consisting of Tony Taviera, Wayne Gagnon, Ron Medieros, Bob Benevides and Donald Smith, were discovered by Bob Shad while playing a gig in Newport, Rhode Island. Shad was so impressed with the band that he immediately signed them to his Mainstream label. The Tangerine Zoo ended up recording two albums for Mainstream; the first of these, which included Trip To The Zoo, took all of 13 hours to record and mix. The shortened version of the song heard here was issued in March of 1968 as the B side of the band's first single for the label.

Artist:    Fantastic Zoo
Title:    Light Show
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Cameron/Karl
Label:    Double Shot
Year:    1967
    The Fantastic Zoo had its origins in Denver, Colorado, with a band called the Fogcutters. When the group disbanded in 1966, main members Don Cameron and Erik Karl relocated to Los Angeles and reformed the group with new members. After signing a deal with local label Double Shot (which had a major hit on the charts at the time with Count Five's Psychotic Reaction), the group rechristened itself Fantastic Zoo, releasing their first single that fall. Early in 1967 the band released their second and final single, Light Show. The song did not get much airplay at the time, but has since become somewhat of a cult favorite.

Artist:    Monks
Title:    Shut Up
Source:    German import CD: Black Monk time
Writer(s):    Burger/Clark/Day/Johnston/Shaw
Label:    Repertoire (original label: Polydor International)
Year:    1966
    There are a lot of contenders for the title of "first punk rock band". Detroit's MC5 get mentioned often, as do Chicago's Shadows Of Knight. Some give credit to L.A.'s Standells, while others cite Pacific Northwest bands such as the Wailers and the Sonics as being the first true punks. Serious consideration has to be given, however, to a group of five members of the US Army stationed in Frankfurt Germany, who decided to augment their GI haircuts by shaving the centers of their heads and calling themselves the Monks. Vocalist/guitarist Gary Burger, organist Larry Clarke, drummer Roger Johnston, bassist Eddie Shaw and banjoist Dave Day began hitting the trinkhauses (combination bars and dance halls) around the area in 1965, moving up to more visible venues the following year after their Army stint was over (apparently they had all been drafted at around the same time). Their style, unlike other bands of the time, was loud, harsh and direct, with lyrics about death, war and hate rather than the usual love ballads made popular by British bands like the Beatles and Herman's Hermits. This, combined with surprisingly strong musicianship, got them a contract with the German branch of Polydor Records. They released their first single, Complication, early in the year, following it up with an LP, Black Monk Time, that summer. In retrospect, the Monks were too far ahead of their time to be a commercial success, but have come to be highly regarded as forerunners of British punk bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash. Shut Up, from Black Monk Time, is just a small sample of what the Monks were all about.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Universal Soldier
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Buffy Sainte-Marie
Label:    Hickory
Year:    1965
    Before Sunshine Superman became a huge hit in the US, Scottish folk singer Donovan Leitch was making a name for himself in the UK as the "British Dylan." One of his most popular early tunes was Universal Soldier, an antiwar piece that was originally released in the UK on a four-song EP. The EP charted well, but Hickory Records, which had the US rights to Donovan's records, was reluctant to release the song in a format (EP) that had long since run its course in the US and was, by 1965, only used by off-brand labels to crank out soundalike hits performed by anonymous studio musicians. Eventually Hickory decided to release Universal Soldier as a single, but the record failed to make the US charts.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat & Tears
Title:    Blues-Part II
Source:    CD: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Writer(s):    Blood, Sweat & Tears
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    1969
    Although it was the brainchild of keyboardist/vocalist Al Kooper, the band known as Blood, Sweat & Tears had its greatest success after Kooper left the band following the release of their debut LP, Child Is Father To The Man. The group's self-titled second LP, featuring new lead vocalist David Clayton-Thomas, yielded no less than three top 5 singles: You Made Me So Very Happy, Spinning Wheel, and And When I Die. For me, however, the outstanding track on the album was the thirteen and a half minute Blues-Part II, which takes up most of side two of the original LP. I first heard this track on a show that ran late at night on AFN in Germany. I had already heard the band's first two hit singles and was not particularly impressed with them, but after hearing Blues-Part II I went out and bought a copy of the LP. Luckily, it was not the only track on the album that I found more appealing than the singles (God Bless The Child in particular stands out), but it still, after all these years, is my favorite BS&T recording.

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