Sunday, January 7, 2024

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2402 (starts 1/8/24) 

    Every so often the question comes up "why don't the Moody Blues get played more often on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era"? It's a legitimate question with a legitimate answer. The main reason is that, with the exception of the rather non-psychedelic first album by the Moodys (the one with Go Now), nearly their entire catalog consists of album sides that run continuously. Even their various compilation albums either use cross-fades from one to the next or use newer recordings of their most popular songs. Add to that the fact that their singles have been out of circulation for decades and were unfortunately pressed using cheap materials, making finding playable copies prohibitively expensive. However, once in a while it's time to bite the bullet and play an entire album side of a Moody Blues record. This is one of those times, so get ready to enjoy the second side of the 1971 LP Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, along with 26 other tunes by 26 other artists, starting with another British band.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    We Love You
Source:    45 RPM single (stereo reissue)
Writer:    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    We Love You was, upon its release in the summer of 1967, the most expensive Rolling Stones record ever produced (as well as the last Rolling Stones record to be produced by Andrew Loog Oldham), and included a promotional film that is considered a forerunner of the modern music video. We Love You did well in the UK, reaching the # 8 spot on the charts, but it was the other side of the record, Dandelion, that ended up being a hit in the US. The song was dismissed at the time by John Lennon, who referred to it as the Stones' answer to All We Need Is Love, but in retrospect the song is now seen as a tongue-in-cheek response to the ongoing harassment of the band by law enforcement authorities at the time.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Ain't No Tellin'
Source:    CD: Axis: Bold As Love
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    Possibly the closest thing to a traditional R&B style song in JImi Hendrix's repertoire, Ain't No Tellin' was also, at one minute and 47 seconds, one of the shortest tracks ever recorded by the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The tune appeared on the Axis: Bold As Love album in 1967.

Artist:    Seeds
Title:    A Thousand Shadows
Source:    LP: Future
Writer(s):    Saxon/Hooper/Savage
Label:    GNP Crescendo
Year:    1967
    After Pushin' Too Hard cracked the national charts nearly two years after its initial release, the Seeds went into the studio to record their third LP, Future. Unlike their first two albums, Future contains more than a few experimental tracks. There are, however, a few tunes that sound a lot like their earlier stuff, including A Thousand Shadows, which opens the album's second side. In the case of A Thousand Shadows, which opens the album's second side, this is probably because three of the band members, vocalist Sky Saxon, keyboardist Daryl Hooper and guitarist Jan Savage, co-wrote the song, making it pretty much a band composition (drummer Rick Andridge being the only member not involved with any of the band's songwriting). A Thousand Shadows was the lead single from the album, but unlike Pushin' Too Hard it only made it into the lower reaches of the Hot 100 nationally, peaking at #72.

Artist:     Eric Burdon and the Animals
Title:     Monterey
Source:     CD: Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Burdon/Briggs/Weider/McCulloch/Jenkins
Label:     Polydor (original label: M-G-M)
Year:     1968
     After the original Animals broke up in late 1966, lead vocalist Eric Burdon recorded a solo album, Eric Is Here, using mostly studio musicians, but credited officially to Eric Burdon And The Animals. He then set about organizing a new Animals band that included drummer Barry Jenkins (who had been a member of the original band and had played on Eric Is Here), guitarist/violinist John Weider, guitarist/pianist Vic Briggs and bassist Danny McCulloch. One of the first appearances of the New Animals on stage was at the Monterey International Pop Festival. The experience (pun intended) so impressed the group that they wrote a song about it. The song was issued both as a single and on the LP: The Twain Shall Meet. The single used a mono mix; the LP version, while in stereo, was overlapped at both the beginning and end by adjoining tracks, and was missing the first few seconds of the single version. The version used here was created by splicing the mono intro onto the stereo main portion of the song, fading it a bit early to avoid the overlap from the LP. This process (called making a "cut down") was first done by a company called Drake-Chenault, which supplied tapes to radio stations using the most pristine stereo versions of songs available. Whether Polydor used the Drake-Chenault version or did the cut down itself, the version is the same.
Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    She Knows Me Too Well
Source:    CD: Good Vibrations-Thirty Years Of The Beach Boys (originally released on LP: The Beach Boys Today!)
Writer(s):    Wilson/Love
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1965
    Despite the fact that the Beach Boys had finally scored their first #1 hit, I Get Around, during the peak months of Beatlemania, songwriter Brian Wilson sensed that it was time to move on from writing songs about surfing and hot cars. The band's first 1965 album, The Beach Boys Today, was Wilson's first attempt to do that, with songs like She Knows Me Too Well. Unfortunately, the LP did not sell as well as previous Beach Boys albums, and under pressure from their label, Capitol Records, the group returned to an earlier style for the next LP, Summer Days (And Summer Nights!!).

Artist:    Captain Beefheart And His Magic Band
Title:    Diddy Wah Diddy
Source:    Mono CD: More Nuggets (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    McDaniel/Dixon
Label:    Rhino (original label: A&M)
Year:    1966
    Don Van Vliet and Frank Zappa knew each other in high school in the Antelope Valley area of Los Angeles, but did not stay in close contact after graduation. While Zappa was developing an interest in early 20th century avant-garde classical music, Van Vliet established a reputation as one of the best white blues singers around. When the opportunity came to record a few tracks for A&M records in 1965, Van Vliet, who by then was calling himself Captain Beefheart, chose a Bo Diddly tune, Diddy Wah Diddy, to showcase his vocal talents. The song was a local hit in Los Angeles, but A&M, for reasons unknown, did not retain the Captain on their roster of artists. Beefheart would record for several more labels over the years, with his greatest success being the album Trout Mask Replica, which was released on Zappa's own Straight Records label in 1969.

Artist:    Canned Heat
Title:    Dust My Broom
Source:    CD: The Very Best Of Canned Heat (originally released on CD box set: The Monterey International Pop Festival)
Writer:    Johnson/James
Label:    Capitol (original label: Rhino)
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 1992
    Canned Heat's first single was released on June 9, 1967. Eight days later they were the opening act on day two of the Monterey International Pop Festival. A month after that their first album was released. At the time, Canned Heat's repertoire was made up entirely of covers of blues classics such as Dust My Broom, done as true to the original versions as the members of the band could make them. Dust My Broom was originally recorded in the 1930s by Robert Johnson, then electrified by Elmore James in a 1951 recording. Accordingly, both artists are now given songwriting credit.

Artist:    World Column
Title:    Lantern Gospel
Source:    Mono British import CD: My Mind Goes High (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Kaplan/Meyer
Label:    Warner Strategic Marketing (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    World Column was actually an R&B band from the midwest that, for some unknown reason, decided to change styles and record a song which has since become a psychedelic classic. Lantern Gospel, released in the summer of 1968, appeared on a dozen bootleg compilation albums before finally being officially released on the Rhino Handmade CD My Mind Goes High, which is now available in the UK through Warner Strategic Marketing.

Artist:    Blues Project
Title:    Steve's Song
Source:    Mono CD: Projections
Writer(s):    Steve Katz
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    The members of the Blues Project came from a variety of backgrounds, including jazz, rock, classical and of course, blues. Guitarist Steve Katz had the strongest connection to the Greenwich Village folk scene and was the lead vocalist on the Project's recording of Donovan's Catch The Wind on their first LP. For their second album Katz wrote his own song, entitled simply Steve's Song. The tune starts with a very old-English style repeated motif that gets increasing complicated as it repeats itself before segueing into a more conventional mode with Katz on the lead vocal. Katz would write and sing similarly-styled tunes, such as Sometimes In Winter, during his tenure as guitarist for Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    My Back Pages
Source:    CD: Younger Than Yesterday
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    One of the items of contention between David Crosby and Roger McGuinn was the latter's insistence on continuing to record covers of Bob Dylan songs when the band members themselves had a wealth of their own material available. Indeed, it was reportedly an argument over whether or not to include Crosby's Triad on the next album that resulted in Crosby being fired from the band in October of 1967 (although other factors certainly played into it as well). Nonetheless, the last Dylan cover with Crosby still in the band was perhaps their best as well. Although not as big a hit as Mr. Tambourine Man, My Back Pages from the Younger Than Yesterday album did respectably well on the charts, becoming one of the Byrds' last top 40 hits.
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:    Cat Mother And The All Night Newsboys
Title:    Probably Won't
Source:    LP: The Street Giveth…and the Street Taketh Away
Writer(s):    Robert Smith
Label:    Polydor
Year:    1968
    1968 saw Jimi Hendrix getting more into the production end of the recording process, not only with his own band, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, but with a band from the US east coast known as Cat Mother And The All Night Newsboys. Although the band is best known for Good Old Rock And Roll, a tribute to late 50s rock pioneers, Cat Mother's music was actually rooted more in the folk and blues revival movement of the mid-60s centered in New York's Greenwich Village, as heard on tracks such as Probably Won't, a rather sardonic song from their Hendrix co-produced debut LP The Street Giveth…and the Street Taketh Away.
Artist:    Cream
Title:    Crossroads
Source:    Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Robert Johnson
Label:    RSO (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Robert Johnson's Crossroads has come to be regarded as a signature song for Eric Clapton, who's live version (recorded at the Fillmore East) was first released on the Cream album Wheels Of Fire. 

Artist:    Caleb
Title:    A Woman Of Distinction
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in the UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Caleb Quayle
Label:    Rhino (original label: Philips)
Year:    1967
    A studio effect known as phasing, created by playing two identical recordings slightly out of synchronization with each other, was all the rage in England in 1967. Jimi Hendrix used it effectively on the title track of his second album, Axis: Bold As Love, which in turn inspired bands like the Small Faces (Itchycoo Park) and Status Quo (Pictures Of Matchstick Men). Perhaps the most excessive use of phasing, however, was on a single by Caleb Quayle, who is perhaps better known as the guitarist on several Elton John albums. The phasing on the A side, Baby Your Phrasing Is Bad, is so pervasive that the song is often referred to as Baby Your Phasing Is Bad. The effect is every bit as pervasive on the single's B side, A Woman Of Distinction.

Artist:    Love
Title:    My Little Red Book
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Bacharach/David
Label:    Rhino (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
    The first rock record ever released by Elektra Records was a single by Love called My Little Red Book. The track itself (which also opens Love's debut LP), is a punked out version of a tune originally recorded by Manfred Mann for the What's New Pussycat movie soundtrack. Needless to say, Love's version was not exactly what composers Burt Bacharach and Hal David had in mind when they wrote the song.

Artist:    Gerry And The Pacemakers
Title:    It's Gonna Be Alright
Source:    LP: Ferry Across The Mersey
Writer(s):    Gerry Marsden
Label:    Laurie
Year:    1964
    The Beatles are, of course, the most popular band to emerge from the Liverpool music scene. But who was second? The answer is Gerry And The Pacemakers, who became the first (and for 20 years only) artist to score consecutive #1 hits on the British charts with their first three releases. Formed in 1959 by Gerry Marsdon, his brother Fred, Les Chadwick, and Arthur McMahon, the band was originally known as Gerry Marsdon and the Mars Bars, but had to change their name when the candy company objected. They were the second band to sign with Brian Epstein, and released their first single, How Do You Do It, in 1963. In 1964, Marsden began writing most of the band's material, including It's Gonna Be Alright, which was released in September of 1964 in the UK as a single and then as the title track of an EP around Christmastime. The song was released in the US the following June, becoming their seventh US top 40 hit.

Artist:    Moody Blues
Title:    Every Good Boy Deserves Favor-side two
Source:    LP: Every Good Boy Deserves Favor
Writer(s):    Lodge/Thomas/Hayward/Pinder
Label:    Threshold
Year:    1971
    The Moody Blues are probably the first rock band to become known for doing nothing but concept albums, starting with the 1967 LP Days Of Future Past. Their 1971 album, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor, is no exception, as each song on the LP leads directly into the next track. The second side of the LP consists of four songs, each one written by a different member of the group (a tactic that Pink Floyd was exploring at around the same time). The first of these is One More Time To Live, written by John Lodge. This is followed by Nice To Be Here, a Ray Thomas composition, and You Can Never Go Home, a tune from the pen of Justin Hayward. The album ends with My Song, written by Mike Pinder. Each song on the album is sung by the member that wrote the tune; despite this, Every Good Boy Deserves Favor maintains a consistency of sound throughout.
Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    Mr. Tambourine Man
Source:    CD: Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits (originally released on LP: Bringing It All Back Home)
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1964
    As hard as it may be to believe now, Mr. Tambourine Man, as recorded by Bob Dylan in 1964, was not a hit record. It took the Byrds electrifying of the song in 1965 to take it to the top of the charts. By then, Dylan himself was using electric instruments on his records, although not to update his older material. Nonetheless, the original five and a half minute version of the song from the album Bringing It All Back Home is considered one of Dylan's most iconic recordings.

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)
Year:    1966
    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.

Artist:    Circus Maximus
Title:    People's Games
Source:    CD: Circus Maximus
Writer(s):    Jerry Jeff Walker
Label:    Vanguard
Year:    1967
    Although People's Games is far from my favorite Circus Maximus song, it is, according to at least one member of the band, the tune that was most representative of what the band was all about. It is also one of the earliest compositions of Circus Maximus member Jerry Jeff Walker, who went on to greater fame as a songwriter, particularly for the song Mr. Bojangles.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Waltz Of The Flies
Source:    British import CD: Time Out! Time In For Them
Writer(s):    Tom Lane
Label:    Rev-Ola (original US label: Tower)
Year:    1968
    Once you get past the facts that 1) this a band best known as the starting place of a singer (Van Morrison) who was no longer with the group by the time this album was recorded, and 2) this album came out on Tower Records, the audio equilivant of AIP movie studios, you can appreciate the fact that Time Out! Time In! For Them is actually a pretty decent album, as can be heard on tunes like Waltz Of The Flies.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Don't Let Me Down
Source:    CD: Past Masters-vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Apple/Parlophone
Year:    1969
    One can get a good feel for the Beatles story simply by looking at the films they made. Their first, A Hard Day's Night, was a black and white movie that captured the group at a time that they had the world eating out of their collective hands. Their next film, Help!, was a bit more sophisticated, being both in color and in possession of an actual plot, albeit it a rather silly one. After some short promotional films that were a bit more experimental in nature (Strawberry Fields Forever, for example), they made a telefilm called Magical Mystery Tour in 1967. It was the band's first commercial failure. Their final project was another feature-length movie, but rather than a romp through fictional settings it was meant to be a documentary about the band's recording process. The film ended up documenting something else entirely: a band on the verge of a rather acrimonious breakup. Despite the internal conflicts, the group managed to record some strong tracks such as Don't Let Me Down, which was released as the B side of their first single of 1969, Get Back (both of which included Billy Preston on keyboards). Alternate versions of both songs were included on the final official Beatles album, Let It Be, the following year.

Artist:    Kevin Ayers And The Whole World
Title:    Clarence In Wonderland
Source:    British import CD: Acid Daze (originally released on LP: Shooting At The Moon)
Writer(s):    Kevin Ayers
Label:    Uncut (original label: Harvest)
Year:    1970
    According to rock journalist Nick Kent, who specialized in the British underground music scene,  "Kevin Ayers and Syd Barrett were the two most important people in British pop music. Everything that came after came from them." Of course everyone knows that Syd Barrett was the founder of Pink Floyd, but Kevin Ayers, despite having a longer and more productive career, is nowhere near as well known. Ayers was a founding member of the Soft Machine, the band most associated with the "Canterbury Scene" in the late 1960s, but left the group after an exhausting US tour with the Jimi Hendrix Experience, selling his bass guitar to Noel Redding. Ayers spent most of the next year composing new material that appeared on his solo debut LP, Joy Of A Toy in November of 1969. He assembled a band that he christened The Whole World to promote the album that included a young Mike Oldfield on bass and occasionally lead guitar, avant-garde composer David Bedford on keyboards and improvising saxophonist, Lol Coxhill, among others. He took The Whole World into the studio to record his next LP, Shooting At The Moon. The album included somewhat whimsical tunes such as Clarence In Wonderland, interspersed with more avant-garde pieces. Ayers would release more than a dozen more albums before his death in 2013.

Artist:    SRC
Title:    Up All Night
Source:    Mono import CD: Ah Feel Like Ahcid (originally released as 45 RPM single B side and on LP: Milestones)
Writer(s):    Clawson/Richardson/Quackenbush/Lyman/Quackenbush
Label:    Zonophone UK (original US label: Capitol)
Year:    1969
    Stylistic and regional contemporaries of bands such as the MC5 and the Amboy Dukes, SRC were formed in 1965 as the Tremelos, soon changing their name to the Fugitives and releasing four singles and an album on various local Detroit labels. They released their first records under the name SRC in 1967, a pair of singles for the A[squared] label, which led to a contract with Capitol that resulted in one album per year from 1968-70. The most successful of these was the 1969 LP Milestones, which included the single Turn Into Love and its B side, Up All Night. After being dropped from the Capitol roster the group continued on for a couple more years, releasing a final single under the name Blue Scepter for Rare Earth Records in 1972.

Artist:    Boston Tea Party
Title:    I'm Tellin' You
Source:    LP: The Boston Tea Party
Writer(s):    Stevens/Fields
Label:    Flick Disk
Year:    1968
    Despite having a distribution deal with major label M-G-M, Flick-Disk only released three LPs and a pair of 45s, all in 1968. The first of these was from a Burbank, California psychedelic band incongruously named the Boston Tea Party. The band had released three singles for three different labels the previous year, with their LP's opening track, I'm Telling You, becoming the B side of their fourth and final release.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Waltz For Lumumba
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group featuring Steve Winwood
Writer(s):    Steve Winwood
Label:    Island
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 2001
    As near as I can tell Waltz For Lumumba is a studio jam session recorded shortly before Steve and Muff Winwood left the Spencer Davis Group in 1967. The song appeared for the first time on an album released that year in the UK called The Best Of The Spencer Davis Group featuring Steve Winwood. It's first US release was in 2001, as a bonus track on the Sundazed CD reissue of the I'm A Man album.

Artist:    First Edition
Title:    Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Source:    LP: Nuggets Vol. 9-Acid Rock (originally released on LP: The First Edition and as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mickey Newbury
Label:    Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1968
    In 1968, former New Christy Mistrels members Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle decided to form a psychedelic folk-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 to country flavored pop that would eventually propel Rogers to superstar status.

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