Sunday, November 12, 2023

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2346 (B27) (starts 11/13/23) 

    This week we have what could have been a battle of the two most-played bands on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era, but instead ended up being back to back artists' sets from the Beatles and the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The main reason for this is that this week's show was actually recorded in 2018, before we started doing battles of the bands on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era. As far as the rest of the show goes, the emphasis is on lesser-played tracks such as the Doors' Wishful Sinful and the Kinks' Something Better Beginning, with a few old favorites tossed in as well.

Artist:    Simon and Garfunkel
Title:    The Sound Of Silence
Source:    CD: Collected Works (originally released as 45 RPM single and included on LP: Sounds Of Silence)
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1965
    The Sound Of Silence was originally an acoustic piece that was included on Simon and Garfunkel's 1964 debut album, Wednesday Morning 3AM. The album went nowhere and was soon deleted from the Columbia Records catalog. Simon and Garfunkel themselves went their separate ways, with Simon moving to London and recording a solo LP, the Paul Simon Songbook. While Simon was in the UK, producer Tom Wilson, who had been working with Bob Dylan on Highway 61 Revisited, pulled out the master tape of The Sound Of Silence and got some of the same musicians to add electric instruments to the existing recording. The song was released to local radio stations, where it garnered enough interest to get the modified recording released as a single. It turned out to be a huge hit, prompting Paul Simon to move back to the US and reunite with Art Garfunkel.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Something Better Beginning
Source:    LP: Kinda Kinks
Writer(s):    Ray Davies
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1965
    Although there were differences between the original UK edition and US release of the 1965 LP Kinda Kinks, both albums ended with Ray Davies Something Better Beginning. The album itself was recorded and released within two weeks after the band had returned from an Asian tour. As a result, the production was a rush job and the band members were not happy with the results. Nonetheless, Kinda Kinks ended up being a top 5 album in the UK, peaking at #60 on the Billboard Top LP chart in the US.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    Excuse, Excuse
Source:    Mono British import CD: Singles As & Bs (originally released on LP: The Seeds and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Sky Saxon
Label:    GNP Crescendo/Big Beat
Year:    1966
    Although their management branded them as the original flower power band, the Seeds have a legitimate claim to being one of the first punk-rock bands as well. A prime example is Excuse, Excuse, from their 1966 debut LP, The Seeds. Whereas a more conventional song of the time might have been an angst-ridden tale of worry that perhaps the girl in question did not return the singer's feelings, Sky Saxon's lyrics (delivered with a sneer that would do Johnny Rotten proud) are instead a scathing condemnation of said girl for not being straight up honest about the whole thing.

Artist:      Monkees
Title:     All The King's Horses
Source:     CD: The Monkees (bonus track originally released on LP: Missing Links, vol. 2)
Writer:     Michael Nesmith
Label:     Rhino
Year:     Recorded 1966, released 1990
     When the idea for the Monkees TV series was first pitched to NBC, the plan was for the band to perform two new songs on each episode. Once the series was given the green light, musical supervisor Don Kirschner (he of Rock Concert fame) brought in some of L.A.'s top studio talent to record a TON of material to use on the show. The actual band members were then brought in to record vocal tracks. The material being recorded came from a variety of sources. Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, who helped conceive the show in the first place, had considerable input, as did the professional songwriters such as Gerry Goffin, Carole King, Carole Bayer, Jeff Barri and others working for Kirschner out of the Brill building in New York. Finally, there was Michael Nesmith, who had already established himself as a professional songwriter with tunes such as Mary Mary (recorded by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band) and Different Drum (which would become Linda Ronstadt's first hit song) and thus couldn't be entirely ignored. One of Nesmith's early contributions was All The King's Horses, which was not included on any of the original Monkees albums. The song finally saw the light of day on Rhino's second Missing Links volume, released in 1990.

Artist:    Lowell George And The Factory
Title:    Candy Cane Madness
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on CD: Lightning-Rod Man)
Writer(s):    George/Klein
Label:    Rhino (original label: Bizarre/Straight)
Year:    Recorded 1966, released 1993
    Toward the end of 1966 a band called the Factory appeared on the L.A. club scene. They managed to book studio time, but were never able to find a label willing to release the tracks they recorded. Band member Lowell George would later go on to produce other artists such as the GTOs (Girls Together Outrageously) for Frank Zappa's Bizarre Productions and finally become famous as the founder of the band Little Feat. Eventually the old Factory tracks, including Candy Cane Madness, were issued on a CD on the Bizarre/Straight label originally founded by Zappa.

Artist:    Blood, Sweat & Tears
Title:    I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know
Source:    LP: Child Is Father To The Man
Writer(s):    Al Kooper
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1968
    Ever since he was a teenager, Al Kooper had wanted to start a rock band that had a horn section. After making his name as a session musician with Bob Dylan, Kooper joined the Blues Project in 1965 as the band's keyboardist. He left that group in early 1967 and began the slow process of assembling his dream band, Blood, Sweat & Tears, which made its vinyl debut in February of 1968. One of the best remembered songs on the album was I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know. Although not released as a single, the tune became one of the core songs heard on the new FM rock stations popping up across the country in the late 1960s. Kooper himself ended up leaving the band he founded later that same year, moving on to producing and appearing on albums like Super Session and The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper, as well as continuing to work as an in-demand studio keyboardist.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Wishful Sinful
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Robby Kreiger
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Wishful Sinful, perhaps more than any other song, typifies what's wrong with the Doors' 1969 album The Soft Parade. The tune, written by guitarist Robby Krieger, is lavishly embellished by strings and horns, which made it appealing to the more conservative elements of the music industry, such as the trade magazine Cash Box, while totally alienating the band's core audience. Released as a single in March of 1969, Wishful Sinful was a hit in Denmark, where it went into the top 10 and stayed there for a month. In the US, however, it was unable to crack the top 40 charts. As critic Richie Unterberger later put it, the song was "not all that good, and not sung very convincingly by [Jim] Morrison."

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Long Way From L.A.
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Canned Heat (Originally released on LP: Historical Figures And Ancient Heads)
Writer:    Jud Baker
Label:    Capitol (original label: United Artists)
Year:    1971
    By 1971 Canned Heat had already hit its commercial peak and was on a long downhill slope saleswise. Their label, Liberty, had been folded into United Artist Records (which had bought Liberty a couple years earlier), and did not seem in the least bit interested in promoting the band's latest album, Historical Figures And Ancient Heads. To make things worse, founding member and guitarist Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson had passed away the previous year, forcing the band to make its first lineup changes since bringing drummer Fito De La Parra into the group in 1968. On the other hand, the group, which had initially been perceived as a bunch of blues-loving hippies trying to emulate their idols, was now fully accepted by the blues community, and had even recorded an album with blues legend John Lee Hooker (Hooker 'n' Heat) that is considered among the finest blues albums ever recorded. Long Way From L.A., an odd choice for a single with its blatant cocaine references, is one of the highlights of Historical Figures And Ancient Heads.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Mrs. McKenzie
Source:    LP: Janis Ian
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Polydor (original label: Verve Forecast)
Year:    1967
    Janis Ian was all of fourteen years old when she first recorded the song Society's Child. The song was recorded for Atlantic Records, but the label, fearing reprisals due to the song's subject matter (interracial romance), returned the master tape to Ian and refused to release the record. The song ended up being released on the Verve Forecast label three times between 1965 and 1967, when it finally became a top 20 hit. A self-titled album soon followed that was full of outstanding tracks such as Mrs. McKenzie. The album went out of print for a few years and was re-released on the Polydor label in the mid-70s following the success of Ian's comeback single, At Seventeen.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Let's Spend The Night Together
Source:    CD: Flowers (originally released on LP: Between The Buttons)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco (original label: London)
Year:    1967
    The Rolling Stones second LP of 1967 was Flowers, one of a series of US-only albums made up of songs that had been released in various forms in the UK but not in the US. In the case of Flowers, though, there were a couple songs that had already been released in the US-but not in true stereo. One of those was Let's Spend The Night Together, a song intended to be the A side of a single, but that was soon banned on a majority of US radio stations because of its suggestive lyrics. Those stations instead flipped the record over and began playing the B side. That B side, a song called Ruby Tuesday, ended up in the top 5, while Let's Spend The Night Together barely cracked the top 40. The Stones did get to perform the tune on the Ed Sullivan Show, but only after promising to change the lyrics to "let's spend some time together." Later  the same year the Doors made a similar promise to the Sullivan show to modify the lyrics of Light My Fire, but when it came time to actually perform the song Jim Morrison defiantly sang the lyrics as written. The Doors were subsequently banned from making any more appearances on the Sullivan show.
Artist:     Standells
Title:     Try It
Source:     CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Levine/Bellack
Label:     Rhino (original label: Tower)
Year:     1967
     After a series of singles written by producer Ed Cobb had resulted in diminishing returns, the Standells recorded Try It, a tune co-written by Joey Levine, who would rise to semi-anonymous notoriety as lead vocalist for the Ohio Express, a group that was essentially a vehicle for the Kazenetz/Katz production team, purveyors of what came to be called "bubble gum" music. The song itself was quickly banned on most radio stations under the assumption that the phrase "try it" was a call for teenage girls to abandon their virginity. The fact is that nowhere in the song does the word "teenage" appear, but nonetheless the song failed to make a dent in the charts, despite its catchy melody and danceable beat, which should have garnered it at least a 65 rating on American Bandstand.

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Where There's Woman
Source:    British import CD: Safe As Milk
Writer(s):    Van Vliet/Bermann
Label:    Rev-Ola (original US label: Buddah)
Year:    1967
    Fans of Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet) were in a state of puzzlement over the presence of Herb Bermann's name in the songwriting credits for the Captain's debut LP, Safe As Milk, for many years. Some, including some members of His Magic Band, thought the name was made up as some sort of tax dodge, and Van Vliet did little to discourage such notions. In fact, the Captain as his career progressed, became somewhat notorious for not sharing songwriting or even arranging credit with anyone, despite the obvious input from various band members on his later albums. It turns out, however, that Bermann is indeed a real person, and in fact co-wrote (with Dean Stockwell) the screenplay for a proposed film called After The Gold Rush. Unfortunately, the film was never made, although Neil Young did compose music for it that became the basis for his own album of the same name. Bermann finally surfaced in 2015 with a book called The Mystery Man from the Magic Band: Captain Beefheart's Writing Partner Revealed, that included several of the lyrics from Safe As Milk (including Where There's Woman) as well as several previously unpublished pieces.

Artist:    Animals
Title:    You're On My Mind
Source:    Mono LP: Animalization
Writer(s):    Burdon/Rowberry
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    I can't tell you with any certainty how the song You're On My Mind ended up being included on the second greatest hits collection from the Animals, but I do have a theory. The song first appeared on the UK album Animalisms, and then two months later on that album's nearest thing to a US counterpart, Animalization. It was one of only two songs on Animalisms credited to vocalist Eric Burdon and organist Dave Rowberry (most of the album being covers of various rhythm and blues songs). I suspect that when it came to compile a greatest hits album, it was decided that even a relatively weak original song would be a better choice than a cover song, so both of the Burdon/Rowberry tunes from Animalisms/Animalization were included. Besides, including You're On My Mind on the album meant more royalties for Burdon and Rowberry, always a consideration.

Artist:    Chocolate Watch Band
Title:    No Way Out
Source:    Mono CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: No Way Out and as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ed Cobb
Label:    Rhino
Year:    1967
    The Chocolate Watchband, from the southern part of the San Francisco Bay Area (specifically Foothills Junior College in Los Altos Hills), were fairly typical of the South Bay music scene, centered in San Jose. Although they were generally known for lead vocalist Dave Aguilar's ability to channel Mick Jagger with uncanny accuracy (and a propensity for blowing better known acts off the stage), producer Ed Cobb gave them a more psychedelic sound in the studio with the use of studio effects and other enhancements (including adding tracks to their albums that were performed entire by studio musicians). The title track of No Way Out is credited to Cobb, but in reality is a fleshing out of a jam the band had previously recorded, but never released.

Artist:    Gun
Title:    The Sad Saga Of The Boy And The Bee
Source:    British import CD: Gun
Writer(s):    Adrian Gurvitz
Label:    Repertoire (original label: CBS)
Year:    1968
    Gun was a British power trio that was even more popular in Germany than in their native land. Led by guitarist/vocalist Adrian Gurvitz (who was using the name Adrian Curtis at the time), the band evolved out of a larger group called the Knack, changing their name in 1966 and paring down to a three-piece consisting of Gurvitz, his brother Paul on bass and drummer Louis Farrell in 1968. The group scored a top 10 single with the opening track of the self-titled debut LP, a fast-paced rocker called Race With The Devil. The album itself had several outstanding tracks, including The Sad Saga Of The Boy And The Bee. As was the case with all the tunes on the album, The Sad Saga Of The Boy And The Bee was written and sung by Gurvitz. After two Gun albums the Gurvitz brothers began using their real names and continued to record together, first as Three Man Army and later with drummer Ginger Baker as the Baker-Gurvitz Army.

Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Brave New World
Source:    LP: Homer soundtrack (originally released on LP: Brave New World)
Writer(s):    Steve Miller
Label:    Cotillion (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    It took the Steve Miller Band half a dozen albums (plus appearances on a couple of movie soundtracks) to achieve star status in the early 1970s. Along the way they developed a cult following that added new members with each successive album. The fourth Miller album was Brave New World, the title track of which was used in the film Homer, a 1970 film that is better remembered for its soundtrack than for the movie itself.

Artist:    Love
Title:    7&7 Is
Source:    CD: Da Capo
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1966
    The word "seven" does not appear anywhere in the song 7&7 Is. In fact, I have no idea where Arthur Lee got that title from. Nonetheless, the song is among the most intense tracks to ever make the top 40. 7&7 Is starts off with power chords played over a constant drum roll (possibly played by Lee himself), with cymbals crashing over equally manic semi-spoken lyrics. The song builds up to an explosive climax: an atomic bomb blast followed by a slow post-apocalyptic instrumental that quickly fades away.

Artist:    Paul Revere and the Raiders
Title:    Hungry
Source:    LP: Spirit of '67
Writer:    Mann/Weil
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    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:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Little Wing
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Although it didn't have any hit singles on it, Axis: Bold As Love, the second album by the Jimi Hendrix Experience, was full of memorable tunes, including one of Hendrix's most covered songs, Little Wing. The album itself is a showcase for Hendrix's rapidly developing skills, both as a songwriter and in the studio. The actual production of the album was a true collaborative effort, combining Hendrix's creativity, engineer Eddie Kramer's expertise and producer Chas Chandler's strong sense of how a record should sound, acquired through years of recording experience as a member of the Animals.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Hear My Train A Comin'
Source:    CD: Valleys Of Neptune
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2010
    One of the last recordings made by the original Jimi Hendrix Experience was a demo version of Hear My Train A Comin' on April 7, 1969 that was included on the 2010 album Valleys Of Neptune. The song itself, usually introduced by Hendrix as Get My Heart Back Together, was recorded several times since Hendrix came up with the basic idea for the song in 1967, both live and in the studio, including a Band Of Gypsys version recorded less than two months after the one heard here.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Spanish Castle Magic
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    When the second Jimi Hendrix Experience album, Axis: Bold As Love came out it was hailed as a masterpiece of four-track engineering. Working closely with producer Chas Chandler and engineer Eddie Kramer, Hendrix used the recording studio itself as an instrument, making an art form out of the stereo mixing process. The unfortunate by-product of this is that most of the songs on the album could not be played live and still sound anything like the studio version. One notable exception is Spanish Castle Magic, which became a more or less permanent part of the band's performing repertoire.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Cry Baby Cry
Source:    CD: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone (original label: Apple)
Year:    1968
    Unlike many of the songs on The Beatles (white album), Cry Baby Cry features the entire band playing on the recording. After a full day of rehearsal, recording commenced on July 16, 1968, with John Lennon's guitar and piano, Paul McCartney's bass and Ringo Starr's drum tracks all being laid down on the first day. The remaining overdubs, including most of the vocals and George Harrison's guitar work (played on a Les Paul borrowed from Eric Clapton) were added a couple of days later. At the end of the track, McCartney can be heard singing a short piece known as Can You Take Me Back, accompanying himself on an acoustic guitar in a snippet taken from a solo session the following September.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Abbey Road Medley #1
Source:    CD: Abbey Road
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1969
    Much of the second side of the last album to be recorded by the Beatles, Abbey Road, is taken up by (depending on whose view you take) either one long medley or two not-quite-so-long medleys of songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Personally I take the latter view, as there is just a bit too much quiet space at the end of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window for me to consider it linked to the next song, Golden Slumbers. Regardless, the whole thing starts with You Never Give Me Your Money, a Paul McCartney composition reputed to be a jab at the band's second (and last) manager, Allen Klein. This leads into three John Lennon pieces, Sun King, Mean Mr. Mustard and Polythene Pam, ending finally with another McCartney piece, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, a song with nonsense lyrics and a title inspired by a real life break-in by an overzealous fan.
Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Sexy Sadie
Source:    LP: The Beatles
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple
Year:    1968
    I can't hear the song Sexie Sadie without being reminded of Charles Manson and his misinterpretation of the White Album (Sadie Mae Glutz was the nickname Manson gave Susan Atkins, one of his female followers). The song was actually inspired by the Mararishi Mahesh Yogi, or more specifically, John Lennon's disillusionment with the man. Lennon said that Sexie Sadie was the last song he wrote before leaving India, and that bandmate George Harrison would only agree to recording the tune if its original title of Maharishi was changed.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Lather
Source:     CD: Worst Of Jefferson Airplane (originally released on LP: Crown Of Creation)
Writer:     Grace Slick
Label:     BMG/RCA
Year:     1968
     One of Grace Slick's most memorable tunes was Lather, with its eerie instrumental bridge played on a tissue-paper covered comb (at least that's what I think it was). The song was reportedly about drummer Spencer Dryden, the band's oldest member, who had just turned 30. A popular phrase of the time was "don't trust anyone over 30", making it a particularly bad time to have that particular birthday.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    My Mirage
Source:    LP: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1968
    One thing about Iron Butterfly's In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida album is that almost nobody remembers any of the songs from the other side of the album. That's a bit of a shame, because there are a couple of really good tunes on there, such as My Mirage, a Doug Ingle composition that helped lay the groundwork for the progressive rock movement of the 1970s.

Artist:    Nilsson
Title:    Sister Marie
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    D. Morrow
Label:    Rhino (original label: RCA Victor)
Year:    1968
    Well-known as John Lennon's 1970s drinking buddy, singer/songwriter Harry Nilsson first came to prominence in 1969 with the song Everybody's Talking from the movie Midnight Cowboy (the film that brought stardom to actor Dustin Hoffman as well). Although Nilsson is best known as a songwriter (Lennon once called him America's greatest), the B side of his first single, Sister Marie, actually came from an outside source.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Magic Carpet Ride
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: Steppenwolf The Second)
Writer(s):    Moreve/Kay
Label:    Rhino (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1968
    Steppenwolf's second top 10 single was Magic Carpet Ride, a song that combines feedback, prominent organ work by Goldy McJohn and an updated Bo Diddly beat with psychedelic lyrics. Along with Born To Be Wild, Magic Carpet Ride (co-written by vocalist John Kay and bassist Rushton Moreve) has become one of the defining songs of both Steppenwolf and the psychedelic era itself.

Artist:    Procol Harum
Title:    A Whiter Shade Of Pale
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: The Best Of Procol Harum (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Brooker/Reid
Label:    A&M (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    Often credited as the first progressive rock band, Procol Harum drew heavily from classical music sources, such as the Bach inspired theme used by organist Matthew Fisher as the signature rift for A Whiter Shade of Pale. The song itself hold the distinction of being the most-played song on the British airwaves over the past 70 years.

Artist:    Tomorrow
Title:    My White Bicycle
Source:    British CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road-1965-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hopkins/Burgess
Label:    EMI (original label: Parlophone)
Year:    1967
    Along with Pink Floyd and the Soft Machine, Tomorrow was among the most influential of the British psychedelic bands that popped up in the wake of the Beatles' Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's albums. Evolving out of the In Crowd, a popular British R&B group in the mold of the Spencer Davis Group and the early Who, Tomorrow featured a young Steve Howe (who would go on to stardom as a member of Yes) on lead guitar and Keith West on vocals. The group was slated to appear in the film Blow-Up, but ultimately lost out to the Yardbirds, who had just recruited Jimmy Page as a second lead guitarist. Unfazed, Tomorrow went into Abbey Road studios and cut My White Bicycle, a song inspired by the practice in Amsterdam of providing free bicycles to anyone who wanted to use one as long as they turned it back in when they were done with it.

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