Sunday, March 17, 2024

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2412 (starts 3/18/24) 

    The emphasis this week, at least in the first hour, is on uninterrupted sets of tunes from a variety of artists. For the second hour we have a new Advanced Psych segment that includes a track from a recently acquired 2012 LP from Ty Segall and White Fence. The hour itself ends with a set of protest tunes that at first sound dated, but somehow still remain relevant.

Artist:    Turtles
Title:    It Ain't Me Babe
Source:    Nuggets Vol. 10-Folk Rock (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Bob Dylan
Label:    Rhino (original label: White Whale)
Year:    1965
    The Turtles started out as a local high school surf band called the Crossfires. In 1965 they were signed to a record label that technically didn't exist yet. That did not deter the people at the label (which would come to be known as White Whale) from convincing the band to change its name and direction. Realizing that surf music was indeed on the way out, the band, now called the Turtles, went into the studio and recorded four songs. One of those was Bob Dylan's It Ain't Me Babe. The Byrds had just scored big with their version of Dylan's Mr. Tambourine Man and the Turtles took a similar approach with It Ain't Me Babe. The song was a solid hit, going to the #8 spot on the national charts and leading to the first of many Turtles albums (not to mention hit singles) on the White Whale label.

Artist:    Jefferson Airplane
Title:    And I Like It
Source:    CD: Jefferson Airplane Takes Off
Writer:    Balin/Kantner
Label:    RCA/BMG Heritage
Year:    1966
    Jorma Kaukonen was giving guitar lessons when he was approached by Marty Balin about joining a new band that Balin was forming. Kaukonen said yes and became a founding member of Jefferson Airplane. The two seldom collaborated on songwriting, though. One of the few examples of a Balin/Kaukonen composition is And I Like It from the band's first album. The song sounds to me like early Hot Tuna, but with Balin's vocals rather than Kaukonen's.

Artist:    Cryan' Shames
Title:    The Sailing Ship
Source:    LP: A Scratch In The Sky
Writer(s):    Fairs/Kerley
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1967
    If your entire exposure to Hinsdale, Illinois's Cryan' Shames was their 1966 cover version of the Searchers' Sugar And Spice, as I was, you might be surprised to hear their second album, A Scratch In The Sky. Although uneven, the album, written almost entirely by multi-instrumentalist Jim Fairs and bassist/guitarist Lenny Kerley, has some strong songs such as The Sailing Ship that deserve to be heard.

Artist:    Jethro Tull
Title:    A Song For Jeffrey
Source:    CD: This Was
Writer(s):    Ian Anderson
Label:    Chrysalis/Capitol
Year:    1968
    Jethro Tull's second single (and first European hit) was A Song For Jeffrey from their debut LP, This Was. The Jeffrey in the song title is Jeffrey Hammond, who, according to the liner notes, was "one of us, though he doesn't play anything". The notes go on to say he "makes bombs and stuff". In fact, Hammond would replace bassist Glen Cornick a few albums later and remain with the group for several years. The song itself proved popular enough that when the band compiled their first Anthology album, Living In The Past, A Song For Jeffrey was chosen to open the album.

Artist:    Mandrake Paddle Steamer
Title:    Strange Walking Man
Source:    Mono British import CD: Insane Times (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Briley/Engle
Label:    Zonophone (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1969
    Mandrake Paddle Steamer was the brainchild of art school students Martin Briley and Brian Engle, who, with producer Robert Finnis, were among the first to take advantage of EMI's new 8-track recording equipment at their Abbey Road studios. The result was Strange Walking Man, a single released in 1969. The track includes an uncredited coda created by Finnis by splicing a tape of studio musicians playing a cover version of an Incredible String Band tune, Maybe Someday.

Artist:    Blues Image
Title:    Take Me
Source:    CD: Open
Writer(s):    Blues Image
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Atco)
Year:    1970
    The is a story that Jimi Hendrix once told the members of Blues Image that although they had a sound all their own when they performed cover songs at Thee Image, the legendary South Florida club where they were the house band, their own material was lacking a consistent sound. The band's answer to this was to make rough recordings of new songs they came up with then promptly forget about them for awhile. At some point they would pull out an old recording and give it the Blues Image treatment as if it were a cover song. This might explain why a track like Take Me from their second LP, Open, almost sounds like it was recorded live.

Artist:    Temptations
Title:    Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Whitfield/Strong
Label:    Gordy
Year:    1971
    Just as the Temptations' third single to top the charts, Just My Imagination, was being released, vocalist Eddie Kendricks left the group for a solo career, blaming conflicts with fellow group members Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin for his departure. This didn't sit well with the remaining group members, or with their producers, Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong, who responded by writing Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are). Predictably, neither Kendricks or David Ruffin, another former member who had made disparaging remarks about the group, ever achieved the level of success as solo artists that they had as members of the Temptations.

Artist:    Vanilla Fudge
Title:    People Get Ready
Source:    LP: Vanilla Fudge
Writer:    Curtis Mayfield
Label:    Atco
Year:    1967   
    The first Vanilla Fudge LP was all cover songs, done in the slowed-down Vanilla Fudge style that some say was inspired by fellow Long Islanders The Vagrants. People Get Ready, originally recorded by Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions, is one of the better ones.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    I Am The Walrus
Source:    LP: Magical Mystery Tour
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1967
    The Beatles' psychedelic period hit its peak with the BBC-TV premier of the surrealistic telefilm Magical Mystery Tour and its subsequent release on vinyl in December of 1967. Musically speaking, the centerpiece of Magical Mystery Tour was John Lennon's I Am The Walrus, which was the final track on both the British EP and side one of the US LP. The second half (more or less) of the piece contains audio from a live BBC radio broadcast that was added during the mono mixing process. At that time, the Beatles were still doing their original mixes in monoraul (single-channel) sound, then doing a stereo mix almost as an afterthought. The addition of live audio into the original mono mix meant that they would be unable to reproduce the process in stereo. So, at the point the BBC audio comes in, the true stereo version of I Am The Walrus suddenly becomes a "fake stereo" recording using techniques such as phasing and panning to create a stereo effect out of the mono mix. It also sounds really strange on headphones, like your sinuses all of a sudden got clogged up.

Artist:    Tim Buckley
Title:    Once Upon A Time
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68
Writer(s):    Buckley/Beckett
Label:    Rhino
Year:    Recorded 1967, released 2009
    Tim Buckley was one of those people whose style it is almost impossible to define. His first album, consisting of songs he and his friend Bob Beckett had written while still attending high school, was released in 1966 on Elektra Records, and was considered folk music. Before recording a follow-up, Buckley switched gears, recording Once Upon A Time in a deliberate effort to achieve commercial success. Elektra Records chose not to release the song, however, and Buckley soon eased into a more eclectic vein, writing songs that incorporated elements of several genres, including folk, rock and even jazz.

Artist:     Blues Magoos
Title:     Gloria
Source:     Mono LP: Electric Comic Book
Writer:     Van Morrison
Label:     Mercury
Year:     1967
     Although the Blues Magoos are best known for their hit (We Ain't Got) Nothin' Yet, the band got a lot of airplay on underground FM stations for their extended psychedelic rave up on John D. Loudermilk's Tobacco Road, which had been a hit a couple of years before for the Nashville Teens. Both songs were featured on the band's debut LP, Psychedelic Lollipop. For their second album, Electric Comic Book, the Magoos decided to do a similar treatment on Van Morrison's Gloria, which had been a hit for the Shadows of Knight in 1966. The result was six minutes of pure madness.

Artist:    Clear Light
Title:    Black Roses
Source:    LP: Clear Light
Writer(s):    Dios/Clear Light
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1967
    It's pretty well-known (among Stuck in the Psychedelic Era listeners, at any rate) that the first L.A. rock band signed to Elektra Records was Love, followed a few months later by the Doors. But do you know the name of the THIRD band signed to Elektra? Until a few years ago I had no idea either, but it turns out they were part of the same club scene that included bands like the Byrds, Buffalo Springfield and the two previous Elektra signings. In fact, one of the members of Clear Light, drummer Dallas Greene, had been a member of Lowell George's legendary band, the Factory (he would go on to greater fame playing with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, among others). The album itself is a rather psychedelic mix of folk, rock, and even classical, with the opening track, Black Roses, being a rather obvious attempt at creating a hit single. Clear Light's vocalist, Cliff DeYoung, went on to become a successful actor, starring in the TV movie (and subsequent series) Sunshine in the mid-1970s and appearing in dozens of TV series since then.

Artist:    Love
Title:    Can't Explain
Source:    Mono CD: Love Story (originally released on LP: Love)
Writer(s):    Lee/Echols/Fleckenstein
Label:    Elektra/Rhino
Year:    1966
    Love's original lineup consisted of bandleader Arthur Lee on vocals, Johnny Echols on lead guitar, John Fleckenstein on bass and Don Conka on drums, with Lee, a prolific songwriter, providing the band's original material. They were soon joined by singer/songwriter/guitarist Bryan MacLean, who gave up his traveling gig as a roadie for the Byrds. Before they completed their first album, however, Fleckenstein and Conka had been replaced by Ken Forssi and Snoopy Pfisterer, although Lee himself provided most of the drums and some of the bass tracks on the LP. Two of the tracks on the album, however, are rumored to have been performed by the original five members, although this has never been verified. One of those tracks is Can't Explain, on which Fleckenstein has a writing credit. The song is certainly one of the band's earliest recordings and captures Love's hard-edged "L.A.-in" take on folk-rock.

Artist:    Wildflower
Title:    Coffee Cup
Source:    British import CD: With Love-A Pot Of Flowers
Writer(s):    Ehret/Ellis
Label:    Big Beat (original US LP label: Mainstream)
Year:    1967
    The Wildflower was somewhat typical of the San Francisco brand of folk-rock; less political in the lyrics and less jangly on the instrumental side. Although Coffee Cup was recorded in 1965, it did not get released until the summer of love two years later on With Love-A Pot Of Flowers, a collection of recordings by a variety of artists on Bob Shad's Mainstream label.

Artist:    Kinks
Title:    Waterloo Sunset
Source:    CD: 25 Years-The Ultimate Collection (originally released on LP: Something Else)
Writer:    Ray Davies
Label:    Polygram (original US label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    One of the most beautiful tunes ever recorded by the Kinks is Waterloo Sunset, a song that was a hit single in the UK, but was totally ignored by US radio stations. The reason for this neglect of such a stong song is a mystery, however it may have been due to the fear that American audiences would not be able to relate to all the references to places in and around London in the song's lyrics. Then again, it could have been because the Kinks were banned (by  the American Federation of Television and Recording Artists) from performing in the US at the time, and so could not effectively promote the song. We'll never know for sure.

Artist:    Ars Nova
Title:    General Clover Wins A War
Source:    CD: Ars Nova
Writer(s):    Copeland/Day
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Elektra)
Year:    1968
    Ars Nova was formed by guitarist/keyboardist Wyatt Day and trombonist Jon Pierson in 1967. The two had known each other in Spain and found themselves attending Mannes College in New York City, where they met drummer Maury Baker, the third core member of the band. Baker in turn introduced the others to lead guitarist Jonathan Raskin and bassist Johnny Papalia, who took over lead guitar duties upon Raskin's departure. With the addition of new bassist Bill Folwell, the lineup was set for the group's first LP, which was produced by Paul Rothchild. Following the release of the LP, Ars Nova found themselves booked as the second opening act for the Doors at the Fillmore East, a gig that was a total disaster, due in part to the first band overstaying their welcome, leading to Ars Nova being booed off the stage before playing a single note. This led to the band losing its contract with Elektra, which in turn led to several personnel changes, a second album for a different label and the eventual demise of Ars Nova. Of course, with songs like General Clover Wins A War, Ar Nova already had an uphill battle building a following among serious rock fans anyway.
Artist:    Claypool/Lennon Delirium
Title:    Breath Of A Salesman
Source:    LP: Monolith Of Phobos
Writer(s):    Claypool/Lennon
Label:    Ato/Prawn Song/Chimera
Year:    2016
    Fans of alternative rock are no doubt familiar with a band called Primus, led by bassist Les Claypool. One of the more colorful characters on the modern music scene, Claypool was once rejected by Metallica as being "too good" for them. Claypool himself has said that he thought James Hetfield was just being nice when he told him that, but the fact is that Claypool is indeed one of the most talented bass players (if not the best) in rock history. Sean Lennon is, of course, the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Unlike his half-borther Julian, Sean has never felt the need to prove anything to anyone, and, thanks in large part to his mother's influence (and let's be honest here, money), has always felt free to pursue his own artistic path without having to bow to commercial pressures. The two of them met when their respective bands were on tour and they immediately recognized that they had a musical connection. That connection manifested itself in the album Monolith Of Phobos (a title inspired by Arthur Clarke's works), released in 2016. This week we check out Breath Of A Salesman, a song about people you really have no desire to hang out with showing up at your door anyway.

Artist:    Ty Segall/White Fence
Title:    Tongues
Source:    LP: Hair
Writer(s):    Segall/Presley
Label:    Drag City
Year:    2012
    Ty Segall is a multi-instrumentalist who played in various underground bands in his native Orange County, California while still in high school. His grunge band, the Epsilons, is noted for a 2007 music video that parodied the MTV show Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, which he says ruined his hometown by popularizing the area and driving up the cost of living, making it too expensive for hippies, artists and surfers to live there anymore. In 2008 he embarked on a solo career which has so far resulted in over a dozen albums, singles, EPs and collaborations with other artists. One of those other artists is fellow Californian Tim Presley, who records under the name White Fence. Presley is a veteran of hardcore punk bands such as the Nerve Agents and in 2004 formed the neo-psychedelic band Darker My Love. He has been releasing material under the name White Fence since 2010, including multiple collaborations with Ty Segall, the first of which was Hair, released in 2012. My personal favorite tune from the album is the last track, Tongues, which was co-written by Segall and Presley.

Artist:    Higher State
Title:    I Suppose You Like That Now?
Source:    CD: Volume 27
Writer(s):    Marty Ratcliffe
Label:    13 O'Clock
Year:    2016
    Formed in the town of Sandgate, Kent in the UK in 2005, the Higher State are one of the best examples of modern garage rock. The group, featuring Marty Ratcliffe on guitar, vocals and organ, Paul Messis on bass and guitar and Scarlett Rickard on drums, has four album's the their credit, including their 2016 release Volume 27. All the tracks on Volume 27 were written by either Ratcliffe or Messis, including this Ratcliffe song with the delightfully snarky title I Suppose You Like That Now?

Artist:     Seeds
Title:     Can't Seem To Make You Mine
Source:     Simulated stereo LP: The Seeds
Writer:     Sky Saxon
Label:     GNP Crescendo
Year:     1965
     One of the first psychedelic singles to get played on L.A. radio stations was Can't Seem To Make You Mine. The song, originally released in 1965, was also chosen to lead off the first Seeds album the following year. Indeed, it could be argued that this was the song that first defined the "flower power" sound, predating the Seeds' biggest hit, Pushin' Too Hard, by several months.

Artist:    Wimple Winch
Title:    Save My Soul
Source:    Mono CD: Nuggets II-Original Artyfacts From The British Empire And Beyond 1964-1969 (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Christopholus/Kelman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Fontana)
Year:    1966
    Dee Fenton and the Silhouettes were a fairly typical merseybeat band formed in 1961 by Dee Christopholus, a Greek immigrant whose parents had moved to Liverpool in the 1950s. In 1963 they changed their name to the Four Just Men, which became the Just Four Men when they were signed to Parlophone the following year. After a pair of singles failed to make a dent in the British charts EMI (Parlophone's parent company) cut the band from its roster. Rather than disband, the group decided to reinvent themselves as a British counterpart to the many garage bands popping up in the US. Changing their name to Wimple Winch, the group released three singles on the Fontana label, the second of which was Save My Soul, released in June of 1966. All three singles did well in Liverpool but failed to make an impression elsewhere. The group finally decided to call it quits when Fontana dropped them in early 1967.

Artist:    Electric Prunes
Title:    Hideaway
Source:    CD: Underground
Writer(s):    Lowe/Tulin
Label:    Collector's Choice/Rhino (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    After the moderately successful first Electric Prunes album, producer David Hassinger loosened the reigns a bit for the followup, Underground. Among the original tunes on Underground was Hideaway, a song that probably would have been a better choice as a single than what actually got released: a novelty tune called Dr. Feelgood written by Annette Tucker and Nancie Mantz, who had also written the band's first hit, I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)

Artist:     Traffic
Title:     Feelin' Alright
Source:     CD: Traffic
Writer:     Dave Mason
Label:     United Artists
Year:     1968   
    Dave Mason left Traffic after the band's first album, Mr. Fantasy, but returned in time to contribute several songs to the band's eponymous second album. Among those was his most memorable song, Feelin' Alright, which would become one of the most covered songs in rock history.

Artist:    Shadows Of Knight
Title:    Back Door Man
Source:    LP: Shadows Of Knight
Writer(s):    Willie Dixon
Label:    Super K
Year:    1969
    By mid-1967 the only original member of the Shadows Of Knight still in the band was vocalist Jim Sohns. Undaunted, Sohns soldiered on, fronting various incarnations of the Shadows until his death in 2022. His professional recording career, however, essentially ended in 1969 with the release of an album called Shadows Of Knight on the Super K label owned and operated by Jerry Kasenetz and Jeffry Katz, who had spearheaded the bubblegum pop movement that dominated the top 40 charts in 1968. As expected, the album was far more pop-oriented than Sohns and his new bandmates liked, and they actually instructed co-producers Joey Levine and Arthur Resnick to replace much of the band's own instrumental tracks with those done by studio musicians. The final track on the album, however, seems to be the unedited work by the band itself, a rendition of Willie Dixon's Back Door Man that could be seen as the last gasp of the original garage-rock movement. The Shadows Of Knight did release an album's worth of new material called A Knight To Remember, but it was self-released and it is not known how many copies actually made it to the CD racks.

Artist:    Jimi Hendrix Experience
Title:    Foxy Lady
Source:    LP: The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two (originally released on LP: Are You Experienced)
Writer(s):    Jimi Hendrix
Label:    Reprise
Year:    1967
    The first track on the original release of Are You Experienced was Foxy Lady. The British custom of the time was to not include any songs on albums that had been previously released as singles. When Reprise Records got the rights to release the album in the US, it was decided to include three songs that had all been top 40 hits in the UK. One of those songs, Purple Haze, took over the opening spot on the album, and Foxy Lady was moved to the middle of side 2. For some reason Reprise Records misspelled the title as Foxey Lady, and continued to do so on posthumous compilations such as The Essential Jimi Hendrix Volume Two.

Artist:    Mad River
Title:    Wind Chimes
Source:    Mono British import CD: The Berkeley EPs (originally released as 7" 33 1/3 RPM Extended Play mini-album)
Writer(s):    Mad River
Label:    Big Beat (original label: Wee)
Year:    1967
    Unlike most San Francisco Bay Area bands of the mid to late 1960s, Mad River was already a functioning band when they arrived on the scene from their native Ohio in 1967. The group, consisting of Lawrence Hammond (vocals, bass), David Robinson (guitar), Rick Bockner (guitar) and Greg Dewey (drums, vocals), had been formed in 1965 as the Mad River Blues Band in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where all of the members were attending college. By the time they relocated to Berkeley in early 1967 they had developed a unique style of their own. Once in Berkeley, the band quickly established themselves as one of the most "underground" bands in the area, often appearing on the bill with Country Joe And The Fish. In fact, it was the latter band that inspired Mad River to record an EP later that year. Following an unsuccessful audition for Fantasy Records, Mad River cut a three-song EP for the small Wee label. The entire second side of the disc was a six and a half minute long piece called Wind Chimes. The band recut the track in stereo for their first full-length album (on Capitol) the following year.

Artist:    Pink Floyd
Title:    Matilda Mother
Source:    CD: An Introduction To Syd Barrett (originally released on LP: The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn)
Writer(s):    Syd Barrett
Label:    Capitol (original label: Tower)
Year:    1967
    Listening to tracks like Matilda Mother, I can't help but wonder where Pink Floyd might have gone if Syd Barrett had not succumbed to mental illness following the release of the band's first LP, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, in 1967. Unlike the rest of the band members, Barrett had the ability to write songs that were not only adventurous, but commercially viable as singles as well. After Barrett's departure, it took the group several years to become commercially successful on their own terms (although they obviously did). We'll never know what they may have done in the intervening years were Barrett still at the helm of the band he co-founded.

Artist:     Barry McGuire
Title:     Eve of Destruction
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     P.F. Sloan
Label:     Dunhill
Year:     1965
     P.F. Sloan had already established a reputation for writing songs that captured the anger of youth by the time he wrote Eve Of Destruction, which Barry McGuire took into the top 10 in 1965. It would be McGuire's only major hit, and represented folk-rock at the peak of its popularity.

Artist:    Janis Ian
Title:    Society's Child
Source:    Mono CD: Songs Of Protest (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Janis Ian
Label:    Rhino (original label: Verve Folkways)
Year:    1966
    Janis Ian began writing Society's Child, using the title Baby I've Been Thinking, when she was 13 years old, finishing it shortly after her 14th birthday. She shopped it around to several record labels before finally finding one (Now Sounds) to take a chance on the controversial song about interracial dating. The record got picked up and re-issued in 1966 by M-G-M's "underground" label Verve Folkways, an imprint whose roster included Dave Van Ronk, Laura Nyro and the Blues Project, among others. Despite being banned on several radio stations, especially in the southern US, the song became a major hit when re-released yet another time in early 1967. Ian had problems maintaining a balance between her performing career and being a student which ultimately led to her dropping out of high school. She would eventually get her career back on track in the mid-70s, scoring another major hit with At Seventeen, and becoming somewhat of a heroine to the feminist movement. Ironic, considering that Society's Child ends with the protagonist backing down and giving in to society's rules.

Artist:    Spirit
Title:    1984
Source:    Mono CD: The Best Of Spirit (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Randy California
Label:    Epic
Year:    1969
    One of Spirit's best known songs is 1984, a non-album single released in 1969 in between the band's second and third LPs. Unlike the Rolling Stones' 2000 Man, 1984 was not so much a predictive piece as an interpretation of concepts first expressed in George Orwell's book of the same name. Of course, by the time the actual year 1984 arrived it had become obvious that politics had moved in an entirely different direction than predicted, although some of the mind control techniques described in both the book and song were already being used, while others had to wait until the 21st century to come to pass.

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