Sunday, March 3, 2024

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2410 (starts 3/4/24) 

    This week it's back to a mix of singles, B sides and album tracks from the psychedelic era, including a set of tunes from Jefferson Airplane and a handful of tracks never played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Dandelion
Source:    Mono CD: Singles Collection-The London Years (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    Abkco
Year:    1967
    When the Rolling Stones' most expensive single to date, We Love You, got only a lukewarm response from American radio listeners stations began to flip the record over and play the B side, Dandelion, instead. The song ended up being one of the band's biggest US hits of 1967.

Artist:     Lemon Pipers
Title:     Green Tambourine
Source:     CD: Psychedelic Pop (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:     Leka/Pinz
Label:     BMG/RCA/Buddah
Year:     1967
     Oxford, Ohio's Lemon Pipers have the distinction of being the first band to score a number one hit for the Buddah label with Green Tambourine, released in November of 1967. Unfortunately for the band, it was their only hit, despite several more attempts.

Artist:    Glass Family
Title:    The Means
Source:    LP: Electric Band
Writer(s):    Ralph Parrett
Label:    Maplewood (original label: Warner Brothers)
Year:    1969
    After recording an entire album's worth of material that was rejected by their label, the Glass Factory returned to the studio to cut a whole new batch of tracks. Among those new tracks was The Means, written by Ralph Parrett, the legal name of guitarist/vocalist Jim Callon, who founded the band earlier in the decade to raise money for "beer and surfboard wax".

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    Ritual #1
Source:    LP: Volume III-A Child's Guide To Good And Evil
Writer(s):    Markley/Ware
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1968
    Technically, Volume III is actually the fourth album by the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. The first one was an early example of a practice that would become almost mandatory for a new band in the 1990s. The LP, titled Volume 1, was recorded at a home studio and issued in 1966 on the tiny Fifa label. Many of the songs on that LP ended up being re-recorded for their major label debut in 1967, which they called Part One. That album was followed by Volume II, released later the same year. In 1968 they released their final album for Reprise, which in addition to being called Volume III was subtitled A Child's Guide To Good And Evil. Included on that album were Ritual #1 and Ritual #2, neither of which sounds anything like the other.

Artist:    Move
Title:    I Can Hear The Grass Grow
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969
Writer(s):    Roy Wood
Label:    Rhino (original label: Deram)
Year:    1967
    One of the most popular British bands from 1966-1969 was the Move. Formed by members of various beat bands, the Move consisted of Carl Wayne (vocals), Trevor Burton (guitar, vocals), Roy Wood (guitar, vocals), "Ace" Kefford (bass, vocals) and Bev Bevan, the group scored hit after hit on the British charts, yet never broke the US top 40. Why this should be is a mystery, considering the sheer quality of tunes like I Can Hear The Grass Grow. Written, as were most of the Move's hits, by Roy Wood, I Can Hear The Grass Grow was the band's second single, and ended up in the #5 spot on the British charts. Eventually the Move would add Jeff Lynne to the lineup and form, as a side project, a new band called the Electric Light Orchestra, which became an internationally successful band in the 1970s.

Artist:    Outsiders
Title:    You Gotta Look
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Bob Turek
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    The song Help Me Girl was handicapped by having two versions out at the same time; one by the Outsiders and the other by Eric Burdon and the Animals. As a result, neither song made much of a splash on the charts, making the B side of the Outsiders version, You Gotta Look, even more obscure than it should have been. An interesting footnote is that You Gotta Look was arranged and conducted by a 26-year-old Chuck Mangione, then a member of Art Blakey's band and later to become the most popular flugelhorn player in the world.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Your Friend And Mine-Neil's Song
Source:    LP: Love Revisited (originally released on LP: Four Sail)
Writer(s):    Arthur Lee
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1969
    Following the departure of guitarist/vocalist Bryan MacLean in 1968, bandleader Arthur Lee decided to fire the rest of the band and start over with a whole new lineup consisting of guitarist Jay Donnellan, bassist Frank Fayad and drummer George Suranovich. The quartet recorded a total of 27 songs in September and October of 1968, giving Elektra head Jac Holzman his choice of tunes to release as a contractual obligation album. Among the tracks on the LP, which Lee titled Love Four Sail, was a tune called Your Friend And Mine-Neil's Song. At first I thought this might be yet another song about Neal Cassady, but it turns out to be a more personal song from Lee concerning Neil Rappaport, a Love roadie who had allegedly sold a significant portion of the band's equipment for drug money and then overdosed.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    People
Source:    Mono CD: The Complete Atco Singles (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Stein/Bogert/Martell/Appice
Label:    Real Gone/Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1969
    Although credited to the entire band, People was the brainchild of Vanilla Fudge guitarist Vinnie Martell, who came up with the tune while the group was brainstorming for original material to record (as opposed to the rearranged and rocked out covers they were famous for). According to Martell, the song "tells of humanity evolving in time through the prisms of my own personal altered state of consciousness." Brainstorming indeed!

Artist:    Them
Title:    Gloria
Source:    Mono LP: 93/KHJ Boss Goldens Vol. 1 (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Original Sound (origina US label: Parrot)
Year:    1965
    Gloria was one of the first seven songs that Van Morrison's band, Them, recorded for the British Decca label on July 5, 1964. Morrison had been performing the song since he wrote it in 1963, often stretching out the performance to twenty minutes or longer. The band's producer, Dick Rowe, brought in session musicians on organ and drums for the recordings, as he considered the band members themselves "inexperienced". The song was released as the B side of Them's first single, Baby Please Don't Go, in November of 1964. The song was also released in the US in early 1965, but was soon banned in most parts of the country for its suggestive lyrics. Later that year a suburban Chicago band, the Shadows Of Knight, released their own version of Gloria. That version, with slight lyrical revisions, became a major hit in 1966.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    Last Laugh
Source:    Mono LP: It Ain't Me Babe
Writer(s):    Kaylan/Garfield
Label:    White Whale
Year:    1965
    The first Turtles album was recorded quickly to cash in on the popularity of their debut single, a cover of Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe that went into the top 10 on the Billboard charts in 1965. The band members were still in their teens and required parental permission to record the album, the first LP issued on L.A.'s White Whale label. Most of the tracks on the album were electrified folk songs in a similar vein to the title track. There were also a handful of originals penned by lead vocalist Howard Kaylan while still in high school. Among them was a song called Last Laugh which Kaylan co-wrote with Nita Garfield, who would remain active as a singer/songwriter in the L.A. area for the rest of her life.

Artist:    Phil Ochs
Title:    Bracero
Source:    CD: There But For Fortune
Writer(s):    Phil Ochs
Label:    Elektra (originally released on LP: Phil Ochs In Concert)
Year:    1966
    In 1966, as now, most live albums are filled with songs that had previously appeared in studio form, either as singles or albums tracks, with maybe one or two new tunes at the most. Phil Ochs In Concert, however, was made up entirely of new material. Bracero takes a realistic look at the life of a migrant farm worker in California. As always, Ochs's lyrics are hard-hitting and full of irony.

Artist:    Spencer Davis Group
Title:    Mr. Second Class
Source:    British import CD: Love, Poetry And Revolution (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Hardin/Davis
Label:    1967
Year:    Grapefruit (original label: United Artists)
            The Spencer Davis Group managed to survive the departure of their star member, Steve Winwood (and his bass playing brother Muff) in 1967, and with new members Eddie Hardin (vocals) and Phil Sawyer (guitar) managed to get a couple more singles on the chart over the next year or so. The last of these was Mr. Second Class, a surprisingly strong composition from Hardin and Davis.
Artist:    Fever Tree
Title:    Man Who Paints The Pictures
Source:    LP: Fever Tree
Writer(s):    Hlotzman/Holtzman/Michaels
Label:    Uni
Year:    1968
    Fever Tree is one of those bands that bridges the gap from the psychedelic rock of the late 60s to the progressive rock of the early 70s. Formed in Houston, the band recorded a couple of singles for Bob Shad's Mainstream label, both of which were successful enough for their producers, the husband and wife team of Scott and Vivian Holtzman, to move the band to Los Angeles, where they signed with Uni Records (now known as MCA). Fever Tree's 1968 debut LP for Uni featured arrangements by David Angel, who had provided string and horn arrangements for the critically-acclaimed Love album, Forever Changes, the previous year. Overall, side one is the stronger side of the LP, featuring the band's best-known song, San Francisco Girls (Return Of The Native), and the hard-rocking Man Who Paints The Pictures, among others.

Artist:    Doors
Title:    Love Street
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Jim Morrison
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    Like many of Jim Morrison's songs, Love Street started off as a poem. "Love Street" was actually the nickname given to Rothdale Trail, the street he and Pamela Courson lived on in L.A.'s Laurel Canyon. Morrison and Courson spent a lot of time sitting on their balcony, watching the local hippies going to and from the Canyon Country Store, which was across the street from their house. Morrison turned the poem into a song in time to get it recorded for the third Doors album, Waiting For The Sun. The track was also released as the B side of the Doors' second #1 single, Hello I Love You, Won't You Tell Me Your Name.

Artist:    Cyrkle
Title:    Red Chair Fade Away
Source:    European import CD: Pure...Psychedelic Rock (originally released as 45 RMP single)
Writer(s):    Barry and Robin Gibb
Label:    Sony Music (original US label: Columbia)
Year:    1968
    The story of the Cyrkle is very much a story of quick success followed by a slow, arduous decline. Their first single, Red Rubber Ball, nearly topped the charts. The follow-up, Turn Down Day, did almost (but not quite) as well, and both are heard regularly on oldies radio stations. Their next single did a bit worse, as did the one after that and the one after that. In fact, each and every single the band released did slightly worse than its predecessor. Making things worse was the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, in mid-1967. One bright spot for the band was when co-founder Tom Dawes got wind that the 7-UP soft drink company was looking for a jingle for their new "un-cola" ad campaign. The band spent about half a day recording the jingle and Dawes took home a check for $10,000, pretty big money in 1967. Not long after, Dawes left the Cyrkle for good for a career in the advertising industry, turning out such memorable tunes as Plop Plop Fizz Fizz (Oh, What A Relief It Is). The final Cyrkle record was a single, Where Are You Going, released in January of 1968, with a cover of a Bee Gees LP track, Red Chair Fade Away, on the B side.

Artist:    Orange Wedge
Title:    From The Womb To The Tomb
Source:    Mono CD: An Overdose Of Heavy Psych (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    L.S.P.
Label:    Arf! Arf! (original label: Blue Flat Owsley Memorial)
Year:    1968
    Recorded in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1968, From The Womb To The Tomb was the B side of the only single from Orange Wedge, a forerunner of more famous Michigan bands such as the Stooges and the MC5.

Artist:    Iron Butterfly
Title:    Gentle As It May Seem
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released on LP: Heavy)
Writer(s):    DeLoach/Weis
Label:    Rhino (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Personnel changes were pretty much a regular occurrence with Iron Butterfly. After the first album, Heavy, everyone except keyboardist Doug Ingle and drummer Ron Bushy left the band. This was accompanied by a drastic change in style as well, as Ingle, who had already been carrying the lion's share of lead vocals, became the group's primary songwriter as well. Gentle As It Seems, written by Daryl DeLoach and lead guitarist Danny Weis, is a good example of the band's original sound, back when they were scrounging for gigs in a rapidly shrinking L.A. all-ages club scene.

Artist:    Chocolate Watchband
Title:    Come On
Source:    CD: No Way Out)
Writer(s):    Chuck Berry
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Neither songwriting nor studio work was the Chocolate Watchband's thing, at least in their early (and most popular) incarnations. As lead vocalist Dave Aguilar put it, performing live and blowing the competition off the stage was "what we lived for". And they did it well, mostly with covers of songs recorded by the grittier British bands like the Rolling Stones. In fact, when they went into the studio to record their first LP, No Way Out, one of the first songs they recorded was a dead on cover of the Stones' arrangement of Chuck Berry's Come On. In fact, if it weren't for the fact that it's in stereo this track could easily have been passed off as a Stones bootleg and very few people would be able to tell the difference.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Triad
Source:     CD: Crown of Creation
Writer:     David Crosby
Label:     BMG/RCA
Year:     1968
     It's interesting to contrast the attitudes of the band members of the Byrds and Jefferson Airplane to David Crosby's Triad. Whereas both Jim McGuinn and Chris Hillman expressed discomfort with the song (to the point of not releasing it), the Airplane members, particularly Paul Kantner and Grace Slick, embraced the tune, giving it a featured spot on the Crown of Creation album. The song itself is based on ideas put forth by Robert A. Heinlein in his Science Fiction masterpiece Stranger In A Strange Land.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    Eskimo Blue Day
Source:    LP: Volunteers
Writer(s):    Slick/Kantner
Label:    RCA Victor
Year:    1969
    Jefferson Airplane's sixth LP, Volunteers, was by far their most socio-political album, from the first track (We Can Be Together, with its famous "up against the wall" refrain) to the last (the song Volunteers itself). One of the more controversial tracks on the 1969 album is Eskimo Blue Day, which describes just how meaningless human concerns are in the greater scheme of things with the repeated use of the phrase "doesn't mean shit to a tree". Eskimo Blue Day was one of two songs from Volunteers performed by the Airplane at Woodstock.

Artist:     Jefferson Airplane
Title:     Crown Of Creation
Source:     CD: Crown of Creation
Writer:     Paul Kantner
Label:     BMG/RCA
Year:     1968
     After the acid rock experimentation of 1967's After Bathing At Baxter's, the Airplane returned to a more conventional format for 1968's Crown Of Creation album. The songs themselves, however, had a harder edge than those on the early Jefferson Airplane albums, as the band itself was becoming more socio-politically radical. The song Crown of Creation draws a definite line between the mainstream and the counter-culture.

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, something unexpected happened. Radio stations along the east coast began playing the song, getting a strong positive response from college students, particularly those on spring break in Florida. On June 15, 1965 producer Tom Wilson, who had been working with Bob Dylan on Like A Rolling Stone earlier in the day, pulled out the master tape of The Sound Of Silence and, utilizing some of the same studio musicians, added electric instruments to the existing recording. The electrified version of 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:    Animals
Title:    See See Rider
Source:    LP: The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals Vol. II (originally released on LP: Animalization)
Writer(s):    Ma Rainey
Label:    M-G-M
Year:    1966
    One of the last singles released by the original incarnation of the Animals, See See Rider traces its roots back to the 1920s, when it was first recorded by Ma Rainey. The Animals version is considerably faster than most other recordings of the song, and includes a signature opening rift by organist Dave Rowberry (who had replaced founder Alan Price prior to the recording of the Animalization album where the song first appeared) that is unique to the Animals' take on the tune. The record label itself credits Rowberry as the songwriter, rather than Rainey, perhaps because the Animals' arrangement was so radically different from various earlier recordings of the song, such as the #1 R&B hit by Chuck Willis and LaVerne Baker's early 60s version.
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:    Cream
Title:    Those Were The Days
Source:    CD: Wheels Of Fire
Writer(s):    Baker/Taylor
Label:    Polydor (original label: Atco)
Year:    1968
    Drummer Ginger Baker only contributed a handful of songs to the Cream repertoire, but each was, in its own way, quite memorable. Those Are The Days, with its sudden changes of time and key, presages the progressive rock that would flourish in the mid-1970s. As was usually the case with Baker-penned songs, bassist Jack Bruce provides the vocals from this Wheels Of Fire track.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    For A Thousand Mothers
Source:    CD: Stand Up
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1969
    For years, the only copy I had of this track was a homemade cassette tape. As a result I was under the impression that this was actually two separate songs. Long silences will do that. Long silences will also trip automatic sensors on automated radio station equipment, which partially explains why such a great track has always gotten far less airplay than it deserves.

Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Uncle John's Band
Source:    CD: Skeletons From The Closet (originally released on LP: Workingman's Dead)
Writer(s):    Hunter/Garcia
Label:    Warner Brothers
Year:    1970
    For many people who only got their music from commercial radio, Uncle John's Band was the first Grateful Dead song they ever heard. The tune, from the 1970 LP Workingman's Dead, was the first Dead song to crack the top 100, peaking at #69, and got significant airplay on FM rock radio stations as well. The close harmonies on the track were reportedly inspired by Crosby, Stills and Nash, whose debut album had come out the previous year.

Artist:    Creedence Clearwater Revival
Title:    Suzy Q
Source:    CD: Chronicles (originally released on LP: Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Writer(s):    Dale Hawkins
Label:    Fantasy
Year:    1968
    Creedence Clearwater Revival is known mostly for their series of hit singles written by vocalist/guitarist John Fogerty; tight, relatively short songs like Green River, Proud Mary and Bad Moon Rising. The most popular track on their 1968 debut LP, however, was an eight and a half minute long rendition of a song that had originally hit the charts over ten years earlier. Suzy Q had been a top 30 single (and top 10 on the R&B charts) for Dale Hawkins in 1957, helping to launch a long career in the music business as an artist, producer and record company executive. CCR took the song to even greater heights, with the track, split over two sides of a 45 RPM single, barely missing the top 10 in 1968. The band's first greatest hits collection, Creedence Gold, uses the album version, while later compilations such as Chronicle only include the first side of the single.

Artist:    Initial Shock
Title:    Mind Disaster
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 8-The Northwest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Mojo Collins
Label:    Rhino (original label: BFD)
Year:    1968
    Although they were originally formed in 1966 in Missoula, Montana, the Initial Shock, consisting of Mojo Collins, (guitar, lead vocals), Brian Knaff, (drums, vocals),George F. Wallace, (lead guitar) and Steve Garr, (bass) were a fixture on the San Francisco scene by mid-1967, where they shared the bill with just about every major Bay Area group, even headlining one gig with the Doobie Brothers opening for them. They never scored a major record deal, however, and only ended up releasing a pair of singles for the independent BFD label. The second, and most popular of the two, was Mind Disaster, written by Collins and released in 1968. Internal problems led to the Initial Shock disbanding in 1969.

Artist:    Amboy Dukes
Title:    Journey To The Center Of The Mind
Source:    CD: Nuggets-Classics From The Psychedelic 60s (originally released as 45 RPM single and on LP: Journey To The Center Of The Mind)
Writer(s):    Nugent/Farmer
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mainstream)
Year:    1968
    Detroit was one of the major centers of pop music in the mid to late 60s. In addition to the myriad Motown acts, the area boasted the popular retro-rock&roll band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, the harder rocking Bob Seger and the Heard, the non-Motown R&B band the Capitols, and Ted Nugent's outfit, the Amboy Dukes, who scored big in 1968 with Journey To The Center Of The Mind.

Artist:    Hollies
Title:    Stop Stop Stop
Source:    CD: The Best of 60s Supergroups (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Clarke/Hicks/Nash
Label:    Priority (original label: Imperial)
Year:    1966
    The last Hollies song to be released in 1966 was Stop Stop Stop, a tune that was actually a rewrite of a 1964 B side. The song was written by Allan Clarke, Terry Hicks and Graham Nash, and was one of the first songs to be published under their actual names (as opposed to the fictional L. Ransford). The song itself was a major hit, going into the top 10 in eight countries, including the US, UK and Canada.

Artist:    Mouse And The Traps
Title:    Beg Borrow And Steal
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Fraternity Years (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Ronnie Weiss
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Fraternity)
Year:    1967
    Mouse and the Traps released over a dozen singles for the Fraternity label in the late 1960s, but never recorded an album. The group was quite popular in Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, playing virtually every college in the region, often opening for big name acts like the Byrds, the Yardbirds and even Sonny & Cher. Their records were played on radio stations as far east as Virginia and the Carolinas, often making the top 10 in individual markets, but never in more than one or two places at the same time, thanks to Fraternity's poor national distribution system. One of the band's best songs was actually a B side released in December of 1967. If  Beg Borrow And Steal (alternately known as Lie, Beg, Borrow and Steal) had been released a couple years earlier, it might have been a hit in its own right, but by late 1967 the garage-rock sound had already run its course. The song has since appeared on several garage-rock compilations and is considered a classic example of mid-60s Texas rock.
Artist:    Steve Miller Band
Title:    Roll With It
Source:    CD: Love Is The Song We Sing: San Francisco Nuggets 1965-70 (originally released on LP: Children Of The Future)
Writer:    Steve Miller
Label:    Rhino (original label: Capitol)
Year:    1968
    Right from the beginning, the Steve Miller band stood out stylistically from other San Francisco area bands. This was in part because Miller was only recently arrived from Chicago (by way of Texas), which had a music tradition of its own. But a lot of the credit has to go to Miller himself, who had the sense to give his bandmates (such as his college buddy Boz Scaggs) the freedom to provide songs for the band in addition to his own material. One example of the latter is Roll With It from the group's 1968 debut LP, Children Of The Future.

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