Sunday, January 14, 2024

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2403 (starts 1/15/24) 

    This week's edition of Stuck in the Psychedelic Era features several extended tracks. Some of these are actually medleys of tunes that all run together as if they were a single track, while others are long, mostly instrumental pieces featuring outstanding guitar work. One of the latter is part of our only artist's set this week which, unusually, starts the entire show.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady (live in studio)
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 2018
    In November of 1967 the Jimi Hendrix Experience was still very much an underground phenomenon in the US. Their June appearance at the Monterey International Pop Festival had introduced the band to an audience that numbered in the thousands, and their records were being played heavily on college radio, but for the most part mainstream America was still unaware of them. In Europe, however, it was an entirely different story. Jimi Hendrix was the hottest thing on the London scene by the time 1967 started; it wasn't long before the word spread to the continent about the outrageously talented guitarist with an equally outrageous stage presence. Most of that year was spent touring Europe, including stops at various TV and radio studios in several countries. One of these was in the Netherlands, where the Experience performed Foxy Lady live in the studio in November of 1967. The recording of this performance has surfaced as the non-album B side of the Lover Man single released (in limited quantity) for Record Store Day 2018.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience (II)
Title:    Hear My Train A Comin'
Source:    CD: Blues (originally released on LP: Rainbow Bridge)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    MCA/Experience Hendrix (original label: Reprise)
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 1971
    Jimi Hendrix first came up with the song known as Hear My Train A Comin' (although he usually introduced it as Get My Heart Back Together) in 1967, but was never able to get a studio version of the tune recorded to his satisfaction. Nonetheless, he did play the song live on several occasions, including at Woodstock. What is generally agreed to be the definitive version of the song was recorded on May 30, 1970 at the Berkeley Community Theatre, with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Mitch Mitchell, a trio billed as the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The recording of that performance was first released on the Rainbow Bridge album in 1971, and later included on the 1994 compilation album Blues.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix/Band Of Gypsys
Title:    Lover Man
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Experience Hendrix/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1969, released 2018
    When the Jimi Hendrix Experience made their US debut at the Monterey International Pop Festival in June of 1967 they opened with a high-energy workup of the Muddy Waters classic Killing Floor. Hendrix' arrangement of the song was so radically different from the original that Hendrix eventually decided to write new lyrics for the song, calling it Lover Man. Several attempts were made to get the song recorded in the studio, including this one recorded on December 15, 1969 with bassist Billy Cox and drummer Buddy Miles. Two weeks later they recorded a series of performances at New York's Madison Square Garden that were used for the 1970 album Band Of Gypsys, although Lover Man was not among the songs selected for the LP.

Artist:    Paul Revere & The Raiders
Title:    1001 Arabian Nights
Source:    LP: The Spirit Of '67
Writer(s):    Lindsay/Melcher
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    The longest track on The Spirit Of '67, the sixth studio album by Paul Revere & The Raiders, is also the most unusual. In fact, it doesn't sound like Paul Revere & The Raiders at all. In fact, 1001 Arabian Nights may well be the most psychedelic recording ever made by the group, or at the very least the most experimental. It was also one of the last Raiders tracks not to use studio musicians.

Artist:    Buffalo Springfield
Title:    Everybody's Wrong
Source:    Mono CD: Buffalo Springfield
Writer:    Stephen Stills
Label:    Atco/Elektra
Year:    1966
    Buffalo Springfield is one of those rare cases of a band that actually sold more records after disbanding than while they were still an active group. This is due mostly to the fact that several members, including Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Richie Furay and Jim Messina, went on to greater success in the 1970s, either with new bands or as solo artists. In the early days of Buffalo Springfield Stephen Stills was the group's most successful songwriter. The band's only major hit, For What It's Worth, was a Stills composition that was originally released shortly after the group's debut LP, and was subsequently added to later pressings of the album. Another, earlier, Stills composition from that first album was Everybody's Wrong, a somewhat heavy piece of folk-rock.

Artist:    Love
Title:    And More
Source:    CD: Comes In Colours (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Raven (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1966
Artist:    Love
    Although the Paul Butterfield Blues Band was already recording for Elektra, the first genuine rock band to be signed to the label was L.A.'s Love. The band had originally called itself the Grass Roots, but soon discovered that the songwriting team of Steve Barri and P.F. Sloan had already locked up the name (some versions of the story hold that Barri stole the name in retaliation for being slighted by the group's guitarist, Johnny Echols). Jan Holzman, owner of Elektra, was so high on Love that he created a whole new numbering series for their first album (the same series that later included the first few Doors LPs). Most of Love's songs were written by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Arthur Lee, with a handful of tunes provided by rhythm guitarist/vocalist Bryan MacLean. The two seldom collaborated, despite sharing a house in the Hollywood hills that had once belonged to Bela Lugosi. One of the few songs they did work together on was And More, a tune from the first album that shows the two songwriters' interest in folk-rock as popularized by fellow L.A. band the Byrds.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    Universal Soldier
Source:    CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released in UK as 45 RPM EP and in US as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Buffy Sainte-Marie
Label:    Rhino (original labels: UK: Pye, US: 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:    Bob Dylan
Title:    4th Time Around
Source:    Austrian import CD: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    It's often been speculated that Bob Dylan felt that John Lennon had ripped off his style for the 1965 song Norwegian Wood, and that he wrote 4th Time Around specifically to admonish Lennon for it (artistically speaking). Then again, that could simply be a case of rock critics, needing something to write about, coming up their own interpretation of things. Regardless of origins or intentions, the song was included on what many feel to be Dylan's finest album, Blonde On Blonde, which was released in 1966. Still, the song's closing line "I never asked for your crutch, now don't ask for mine" is a bit cryptic, isn't it?

Artist:    Traffic
Title:    Dear Mr. Fantasy
Source:    LP: Progressive Heavies (originally released on LP: Heaven Is In Your Mind)
Writer(s):    Capaldi/Winwood/Wood
Label:    United Artists
Year:    1967
    Steve Winwood is one of those artists that has multiple signature songs, having a career that has spanned decades (so far). Still, if there is any one song that is most closely associated with the guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist, it's the title track of Traffic's Mr. Fantasy album.

Artist:     Big Brother and the Holding Company
Title:     Piece Of My Heart
Source:     LP: Cheap Thrills
Writer:     Ragovoy/Burns
Label:     Columbia
Year:     1968
     By 1968 Big Brother and the Holding Company, with their charismatic vocalist from Texas, Janis Joplin, had become as popular as fellow San Francisco bands Jefferson Airplane and the Grateful Dead. Somehow, though, they were still without a major label record deal. That all changed with the release of Cheap Thrills, with cover art by the legendary underground comix artist R. Crumb. The album itself was a curious mixture of live performances and studio tracks, the latter being led by the band's powerful cover of the 1966 Barbara Lynn tune Piece Of My Heart. The song propelled the band, and Joplin, to stardom. That stardom would be short-lived for most of the band members, however, as well-meaning but ultimately wrong-headed advice-givers convinced Joplin that Big Brother was holding her back. The reality was that Joplin was far more integrated with Big Brother And The Holding Company than anyone she would ever work with again.

Artist:    Chicago
Title:    Poem 58
Source:    CD: The Chicago Transit Authority
Writer(s):    Robert Lamm
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Poem 58, from the 1969 double-LP The Chicago Transit Authority, is actually two pieces in one. The first is essentially a long jam session built around an R&B guitar riff and featuring some outstanding solo work from guitarist Terry Kath. About halfway through this morphs into a different kind of R&B tune, done in a call and response style and featuring the band's horn section prominently. An edit of Poem 58 was also released as the B side of the band's second single, Beginnings.

Artist:     Daily Flash
Title:     Jack Of Diamonds
Source:     Mono CD: Nuggets-Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Lalor/MacAllistor/Kelihor/Hastings
Label:     Rhino (original label: Parrot)
Year:     1966
     The practice of writing new lyrics to an old tune got turned around for the Seattle-based Daily Flash's feedback-drenched recording of Jack Of Diamonds, which pretty much preserves the lyrics to the old folk song, but is musically pure garage-rock, which is itself an anamoly, since the Daily Flash is generally known for NOT being a garage-rock band. Instead they are considered a forerunner of such San Francisco bands as Jefferson Airplane and Quicksilver Messenger Service.

Artist:    Sensational Country Blues Wonders
Title:    Music Of The Spheres
Source:    CD: The Adventures Of A Psychedelic Cowboy
Writer(s):    Gary Van Miert
Label:    self-published
Year:    2021
    Right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic I received a CD in the mail from on Gary Van Miert, who records as the Sensational Country Blues Wonders. Miert specializes in American Roots Music, including early 20th century blues, 40s and 50s gospel and 50s and 60s country. The CD he sent me adds a touch of 60s psychedelia into the mix, with the appropriate title of The Adventures Of A Psychedelic Cowboy. The lyrics of Music Of The Spheres in particular are in a decidedly psychedelic vein.

Artist:    Ace Of Cups
Title:    Medley
Source:    CD: Ace Of Cups
Writer(s):    Hollingsworth/Kaufman/Vitalich/Mercy
Label:    High Moon
Year:    2018
    Medley is the longest track on the 2018 Ace Of Cups album. It is also the track that features the most guest musicians. According to Mary Gannon, who founded the band in 1966, "the lyrics and harmonies, the sitar, the guitars, the different colors and textures in this peice reflect our '60s journey." Medley starts with The Hermit, which started as a poem written the band's first manager, Ambrose Hollingsworth, with music by Denise Kaufman, who provides lead vocals on the song. When Hollingsworth was sidelined by an accident that left him in a wheelchair, Ace Of Cups soon hooked up with the same manager as Quicksilver Messenger Service, often opening for them and appearing (as the Angel Chorus) on The Fool, a track on the first Quicksilver album in 1968. Quicksilver's David Freiberg returns the favor on The Hermit, providing harmony vocals and "one man choir". The Hermit segues into a short instrumental called The Flame Still Burns, which serves as a showcase for the stylish drum work of Diane Vitalich, supplemented by a lead guitar solo from Terry Haggerty of the Sons Of Champlin. A sitar intro by Norman Mayell leds into Gold And Green, a piece that features Mary Simpson (Mercy) on lead vocals and all guitar parts, and includes some tasty vibraphone work from Geoffrey Palmer. Medley wraps up with another Mercy piece, Living In The Country, which features Vitalich on lead vocals.

Artist:    Stranglers
Title:    Vietnamerica
Source:    British import 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    The Stranglers
Label:    Liberty
Year:    1981
    The Stranglers have always been difficult to pigeonhole, which may ultimately account for their longevity. Originally formed in 1974 as the Guildford Stranglers, the band soon became one of the first groups to be identified with Britain's punk-rock movement of the mid-1970s. They soon began to experiment with other musical styles, however, and ended up outlasting most of their contemporaries. By the early 1980s, punk-rock was waning in popularity, and the shirts at EMI hooked them up with producer Tony Visconti in an attempt at coming up with a more commercially viable sound. The result was La Folie, released in November of 1981. The lead single from the album was a song called Let Me Introduce You To The Family. The non-LP B side was Vietnamerica, a moody piece that reflects the influence on the Stranglers of 60s psychedelic bands like the Music Machine and the Doors.

Artist:    Santana
Title:    Shades Of Time/Savor/Jingo
Source:    LP: Santana
Writer(s):    Santana/Rolie/Areas/Brown/Carabello/Shrieve/Olatunji
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1969
    Santana started out as a jam band, but after taking on Bill Graham as manager began to work out more structured pieces. Both of these elements can be heard on their first self-titled LP, released in 1969. Shades Of Time is one of the more structured tunes, written by guitarist Carlos Santana and keyboardist/vocalist Gregg Rolie, which leads into the instrumental Savor, credited to the entire band. This is turn leads into Jingo, a song written by Nigerian percussionist Babatunde Olatunji and featured on his first album Drums of Passion in 1959.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Filled With Fear
Source:    LP: Ball
Writer(s):    Doug Ingle
Label:    Atco
Year:    1969
    After the delayed success of their second LP, In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida, Iron Butterfly went back to the studio to record their follow-up album, Ball. Although Ball did not have a monster hit on it, it is generally considered a better album overall, with a depth and breadth of songwriting not found on their previous efforts. One of the most memorable tracks on the album is Filled With Fear, a song about paranoia with music that complements the lyrics perfectly.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Monkey Man
Source:    LP: Let It Bleed
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1969
    Ever have a song get stuck in your head for days at a time? Monkey Man, from the Rolling Stones' 1969 LP Let It Bleed, is that kind of song. Admit it: now you've got Mick screaming "I'm A Monkey" running through your brain.

Artist:     Nice
Title:     America
Source:     LP: Autumn To Spring (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Bernstein/Sondheim
Label:     Charisma (original label: Immediate)
Year:     1968
     Sometime in 1969 I went to see a band called Marshall Hammond (named for their amps and organ, apparently) at the roller rink on Ramstein Air Force Base, Germany. None of us caught the name of the opening act, but I remember this version of this song in particular being performed by them. Were they the Nice? I kind of doubt it, but there's always the possibility, I suppose.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    Girl In Your Eye
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Spirit)
Writer(s):    Jay Ferguson
Label:    Rhino (original label: Ode)
Year:    1968   
    Spirit was born in 1965 when drummer Ed Cassidy left the Rising Sons after breaking his arm and settled down with his new wife, who had a teenaged son named Randy. It wasn't long before Ed and Randy (who played guitar) formed a new band called the Red Roosters. The group lasted until the spring of 1966, when the family moved to New York for a few months. During that stay Randy became a member of a band called Jimmy James and his Blue Flames, but when the band's leader, a young guitarist who would soon become known as Jimi Hendrix, got an offer to relocate to London, Randy's parents refused to allow their son to accompany him. After returning to California, Randy ran into two of his Red Roosters bandmates, singer Jay Ferguson and bassist Mark Andes, and decided to form a new band with Cassidy and keyboardist John Locke. Both Cassidy and Locke had played in jazz bands, and the new band, Spirit, incorporated both rock and jazz elements into their sound. Most of the songs of the band's 1968 debut album were written by Ferguson, who tended to favor a softer sound on tracks like Girl In Your Eye. On later albums Randy California would take a greater share in the songwriting, eventually becoming the only original member to stay with the band throughout its history.

Artist:    Barry Goldberg Reunion
Title:    Hole In My Pocket
Source:    LP: Buddah 360°
Writer(s):    Danny Whitten
Label:    Buddah
Year:    1968
    The name Barry Goldberg may not be a household name, but his resume is impressive. His first recording session as a keyboardist was with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels on this hit single Devil With A Blue Dress On. He's played on albums by Leonard Cohen, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Ramones and many others, including a couple of tracks on the legendary Super Session album. In 1967 he co-founded the Electric Flag with Mike Bloomfield and Buddy Miles. Sometime in 1968 he found time to record an album called There's No Hole in My Soul for the Buddah label.Although Goldberg is himself an accomplished songwriter, he chose to release a song by Danny Whitten (who would go on to be a member of Crazy Horse) called Hole In My Pocket as a single from the album.

Artist:    Pretty Things
Title:    Talkin' About The Good Times
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    May/Taylor/Waller
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    Although the Pretty Things, co-founded by guitarist Dick Taylor and vocalist Phil May, had started off doing R&B cover tunes (as did their London contemporaries the Who and the Rolling Stones), by late 1967 they had moved into psychedelic territory, with Taylor and May developing their songwriting skills at the same time. Working with producer Norman Smith (who had just finished engineering Pink Floyd's debut LP), the band recorded a pair of sides for EMI's flagship Columbia label at Abbey Road studios in November. The resulting single, Talkin' About The Good Times, was successful enough to give the band the opportunity to record an entire album, the legendary S.F. Sorrow.

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