Sunday, April 28, 2024

Stuck in the Psychedelic Era # 2418 

    This week's show includes an Advanced Psych segment made up entirely of tracks never played on Stuck in the Psychedelic Era before. In fact, there are a half dozen more "new" songs sprinkled throughout the show as well.

Artist:    Them
Title:    Gloria
Source:    Mono LP: Son of KRLA's Solid Rocks (originally released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Van Morrison
Label:    Take 6 (origina US label: Parrot)
Year:    1964
    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, recorded their own version of Gloria. That version, with slight lyrical revisions, became a major hit in 1966.

Artist:    Leaves
Title:    Too Many People
Source:    Simulated stereo LP: Nuggets Vol. 2-Punk (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer(s):    Pons/Rinehart
Label:    Rhino (original label: Mira)
Year:    1965
    The Leaves are a bit unusual in that in Los Angeles, a city known for drawing wannabes from across the world, this local band's members were all native Ellayins. Formed by members of a fraternity at Cal State Northridge, the Leaves had their greatest success when they took over as house band at Ciro's after the Byrds vacated the slot to go on tour. Like many bands of the time, they were given a song (Bob Dylan's Love Minus Zero) to record as a single by their producer and allowed to write their own B side. In this case the intended B side was Too Many People, written by bassist Jim Pons and  guitarist Bill Rhinehart. Before the record was released, however, the producers decided that Too Many People was the stronger track and designated it the A side. The song ended up getting more airplay on local radio stations than Love Minus Zero, making it their first regional hit. The Leaves had their only national hit the following year with their third attempt at recording the fast version of Hey Joe, the success of which led to their first LP, which included a watered down version of Too Many People. The version heard here is the 1965 original. Eventually Pons would leave the Leaves, hooking up first with the Turtles, then Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention.

Artist:    Otis Redding
Title:    Respect
Source:    LP: Smash Sounds (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    Otis Redding
Label:    Atco (original label: Volt)
Year:    1965
    Released well over a year before Aretha Franklin's version, Otis Redding's Respect was a hit on the R&B charts and managed to crack the lower reaches of the mainstream charts as well. Although not as well known as Franklin's version, the Redding track has its own unique energy and is a classic in its own right. The track, like most of Redding's recordings, features musical backing from Booker T. & the MGs, supplemented by the Bar-Kays on horns.
Artist:    Grateful Dead
Title:    Cold Rain And Snow
Source:    CD: The Grateful Dead
Writer(s):    McGannahan Skjellyfetti
Label:     Warner Brothers
Year:     1967
    Although credited to the entire band (using the pseudonym McGannahan Skjellyfetti), Cold Rain And Snow, from the first Grateful Dead album, is actually a traditional folk song that dates back at least 100 years. The song first appeared in print in a 1917 compilation called English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, with a note that it was collected from Mrs. Tom Rice from Big Laurel, NC in 1916. In 1965 Dillard Chandler recorded a version of the song which he claimed was based on events that happened in Madison County, NC in 1911. Chandler's version is notable in that it expanded on the song's basic theme of a man working himself to death to satisfy a greedy wife into a full-blown tale of murder, complete with trial. Several variations of the song have appeared over the years, including one by Obray Ramsey that was the inspiration for the Grateful Dead version.

Artist:    Donovan
Title:    A Sunny Day
Source:    British import CD: The Hurdy Gurdy Man
Writer(s):    Donovan Leitch
Label:    EMI (original US label: Epic)
Year:    1968
    There's not a whole lot I can say about A Sunny Day, from Donovan's 1968 Hurdy Gurdy Man LP. The main reason for that is that it's the shortest track on the album, clocking in at less than two minutes. Like much of Donovan's earlier work, the song is lighthearted and somewhat whimsical, with very little instrumental ornamentation.

Artist:     Arlo Guthrie
Title:     Coming Into Los Angeles
Source:     LP: The Big Ball (originally released on LP: Running Down The Road)
Writer:     Arlo Guthrie
Label:     Warner Brothers (original label: Rising Son)
Year:     1969
    Coming Into Los Angeles is one of Arlo Guthrie's most popular songs. It is also the song with the most confusing recording history. The song first came to prominence when Guthrie's live performance of the tune was included in the movie Woodstock. When the soundtrack of the film was released, however, a different recording was used. At first I figured they had simply used the studio version of the song, from the 1969 album Running Down The Road, but it turns out there are significant differences between that version (heard here) and the one included on Woodstock album. Complicating matters is the fact that the version included on The Best Of Arlo Guthrie later in the decade seems to be an altogether different recording than any of the previous releases. If anyone out there (Arlo, are you reading this?) can shed some light on this for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Artist:    Savoy Brown
Title:    Stay While The Night Is Young
Source:    LP: Raw Sienna
Writer(s):    Chris Youlden
Label:    Parrot
Year:    1970
    One of Savoy Brown's best albums, Raw Sienna, was also the last to feature the lead vocals of Chris Youlden, who wrote several of the songs on the LP, including Stay While The Night Is Young before embarking on a solo career. Sadly, that career has been less than stellar, although I suppose he makes a living at it.

Artist:    Beach Boys
Title:    Good Vibrations
Source:    45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Wilson/Love
Label:    Capitol
Year:    1966
    Although I had originally discovered top 40 radio in 1963 (when I received a small Sony transistor radio for my birthday), it wasn't until 1966 that I really got into it in a big way. This was due to a combination of a couple of things: first, my dad bought a console stereo, and second, my junior high school went onto split sessions, meaning that I was home by one o'clock every day. This gave me unprecedented access to Denver's two big top 40 AM stations, as well as an FM station that was experimenting with a Top 100 format for a few hours each day. At first I was content to just listen to the music, but soon realized that the DJs were making a point of mentioning each song's chart position just about every time that song would play. Naturally I began writing all this stuff down in my notebook (when I was supposed to be doing my homework), until I realized that both KIMN and KBTR actually published weekly charts, which I began to diligently hunt down at various local stores. In addition to the songs occupying numbered positions on the charts, both stations included songs at the bottom of the list that they called "pick hits". These were new releases that had not been around long enough to achieve a chart position. The one that most stands out in my memory was the Beach Boys' Good Vibrations, a song I liked so much that I went out to the nearest Woolco and bought it the afternoon I heard it. Within a few weeks Good Vibrations had gone all the way to the top of the charts on both stations, and I always felt that some of the credit should go to me for buying the record when it first came out (hey I was 13, OK?). Over the next couple of years I bought plenty more singles, but to this day Good Vibrations stands out as the most significant 45 RPM record purchase I ever made.
Artist:    Cream
Title:    Four Until Late
Source:    LP: Fresh Cream
Writer(s):    Robert Johnson
Label:    Atco
Year:    1966
    By the time Cream was formed, Eric Clapton had already established himself as one of the world's premier blues-rock guitarists. He had not, however, done much singing, as the bands he had worked with all had strong vocalists: Keith Relf with the Yardbirds and John Mayall with the Bluesbreakers. With Cream, however, Clapton finally got a chance to do some vocals of his own. Most of these are duets with bassist Jack Bruce, who handled the bulk of Cream's lead vocals. Clapton did get to sing lead on a few Cream songs, however. One of the earliest ones was the band's updated version of Robert Johnson's Four Until Late, from the Fresh Cream album.

Artist:    Bob Dylan
Title:    I Want You
Source:    Mono LP: Blonde On Blonde
Writer(s):    Bob Dylan
Label:    Columbia
Year:    1966
    I Want You, Bob Dylan's first single of 1966, was released in advance of his Blonde On Blonde album and was immediately picked by the rock press to be a hit. It was.
Artist:    Paupers
Title:    Black Thank You Package
Source:    Mono LP: Magic People (also released as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Mitchell/Prokop
Label:    Verve Forecast
Year:    1967
    The Paupers were formed in Toronto in 1965, but did not really catch fire until Scottish immigrant Adam Mitchell became the group's lead vocalist and (with drummer Skip Prokop) primary songwriter. He made his debut with the band on August 14th; within a month the group had signed a contract with M-G-M Records, at the time one of the major US labels. In early 1967 the group came under the guidance of Albert Grossman, who was already well-known as Bob Dylan's manager. Grossman quickly re-negotiated the contract with M-G-M and got the band signed to its associate label, Verve Forecast, releasing a single, If I Call You By Some Name. The band quickly established a reputation for its live performances, reportedly upstaging the Jefferson Airplane on that band's first trip to New York. For some reason the band was unable, however, to create the same kind of excitement in the studio that characterized their live performances. Their debut LP, Magic People, barely cracked the Billboard top 200 album charts and none of their singles charted at all. The band started experiencing personnel changes, although they continued to play high-profile gigs, such as opening for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and the Soft Machine in February of 1968. A second album and corresponding tour followed, but by then drummer Skip Prokop was getting interested in doing session work (appearing on Peter Paul And Mary's I Dig Rock And Roll Music, among others), and by 1969 the Paupers were history and Prokop was back in Toronto forming a new band, Lighthouse.

Artist:    Fingers
Title:    Circus With A Female Clown
Source:    Mono British import CD: Psychedelia At Abbey Road (originally released in UK as 45 RPM single B side)
Writer(s):    Robin/Mills/Ducky
Label:    EMI (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    One of the first British bands to label themselves as "psychedelic", the Fingers included as part of their stage show a monkey named Freak Out, whom the band members claimed produced "psychotic" odors (having met someone with a pet monkey, I find that easy to believe). The band only released two singles, however. The second of these had the truly strange Circus With A Female Clown on its B side. The somewhat more conventional A side failed to chart, however, and the group broke up soon after the record was released.
Artist:    Evil
Title:    Whatcha Gonna Do About It
Source:    Mono LP: Nuggets Vol. 2 (originally released as 45 RPM single_
Writer(s):    Samwell/Potter
Label:    Elektra (original labels: Living Legend/Capitol
Year:    1967
    In 1965 Miami guitarist Stan Kinchen formed a band that was heavily influenced by the "darker" British invasion bands such as the Yardbirds and Pretty Things, with a touch of rockabilly and blues thrown into the mix. He didn't have a name for the band, however, until joined by vocalist John Doyle. As all the band members were fans of Edgar Allan Poe they considered using that as a band name, but instead went with one of his best known works, Raven, before finally deciding to take it to the limit and call the band Evil. After winning a battle of the bands in 1966 they got to do a marathon one-day session at a local Miami studio, recording several original compositions. After going through a series of personnel changes, Evil recorded a cover of the Small Faces' Whatcha Gonna Do About It, which they released locally on the Living Legend label in April of 1967. Seven months later Capitol picked up the single for national distribution, editing it slightly to make it more radio friendly. The single went nowhere, however, and by the end of the year the band had called it quits.

Artist:     Astronauts
Title:     Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day
Source:     45 RPM single
Writer:     Boyce/Venet
Label:     RCA Victor
Year:     1965
     The Astronauts were formed in the early 60s in Boulder, Colorado, and were one of the few surf bands to come from a landlocked state. They had a minor hit with an instrumental called Baja during the height of surf's popularity, but were never able to duplicate that success in the US, although they did have considerable success in Japan, even outselling the Beach Boys there. By 1965 they had started to move away from surf music, adding vocals and taking on more of a garage-punk sound. What caught my attention when I first ran across this promo single in a commercial radio station throwaway pile was the song's title. Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day, written by Tommy Boyce and producer Steve Venet, was featured on the Monkees TV show and was included on their 1966 debut album. This 1965 Astronauts version of the tune has a lot more attitude than the Monkees version. Surprisingly the song didn't hit the US charts, despite being released on what was then the biggest record label in the world, RCA Victor.

Artist:    Lovin' Spoonful
Title:    Summer In The City
Source:    CD: Billboard Top Rock 'n' Roll Hits 1966 (originally released on LP: Hums of the Lovin' Spoonful)
Writer(s):    Sebastian/Sebastian/Boone
Label:    Rhino (original label: Kama Sutra)
Year:    1966
    The Lovin' Spoonful changed gears completely for what would become their biggest hit of 1966: Summer In The City. Inspired by a poem by John Sebastian's brother, the song was recorded for the album Hums Of The Lovin' Spoonful. That album was an attempt by the band to deliberately record in a variety of styles; in the case of Summer In The City, it was a rare foray into psychedelic rock for the band. It's also my personal favorite Lovin' Spoonful song.

Artist:    West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band
Title:    1906
Source:    CD: Part One
Writer:    Markley/Morgan
Label:    Sundazed (original label: Reprise)
Year:    1967
    I have recently been in contact with Robert Morgan, brother of the late Ron Morgan, guitarist for the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band. I asked him if his brother had ever received royalties from songs like 1906, which was essentially a Morgan composition with spoken lyrics tacked on by bandleader/vocalist Bob Markley. He replied that Ron had received a check for something like eight dollars shortly before his death, but that he had always felt that Markley had paid him fairly for his services. He then went on to say that Ron Morgan was more interested in making his mark than in getting any financial compensation. Attitudes like that are why I do this show. It's hard to imagine anybody recording for a major label today making a statement like that and meaning it.
Artist:    Doors
Title:    Five To One
Source:    CD: The Best Of The Doors (originally released on LP: Waiting For The Sun)
Writer(s):    The Doors
Label:    Elektra
Year:    1968
    Despite the fact that it was the Doors' only album to hit the top of the charts, Waiting For The Sun was actually a disappointment for many of the band's fans, who felt that the material lacked the edginess of the first two Doors LPs. One notable exception was the album's closing track, Five To One, which features one of Jim Morrison's most famous lines: "No one here gets out alive".

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.

Artist:    Mungo Jerry
Title:    Johnny B. Badde
Source:    Stereo 45 RPM single
Writer(s):    Ray Dorset
Label:    Janus
Year:    1970
    Mungo Jerry is not your typical rock band. Multi-instrumentalist Ray Dorset and and pianist Colin Earl were members of a group called the Good Earth that fell apart when their bassist quit to join another band. The Good Earth still had one booking to fulfill, the Oxford University Christmas Ball, in December 1968, so they recruited a new bassist and performed as a three-piece, playing a mixture of blues, skiffle and American-style folk and jug band music. The group, still known as the Good Earth, built up a following over the next year, eventually ending up with a lineup consisting of Dorset, Earl, Mike Cole, who played double bass, and Paul King, who played banjo and jug. The band soon got a contract with Pye Records and scored big with their first single, a song called In The Summertime that Dorset later said took about ten minutes to write. The song was an international smash, going to the #1 spot in sixteen countries (including the UK) and hitting #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. Their followup single, Johnny B. Badde, is notable for King's jug solo at the end of the song. Although the group, with an ever-changing lineup, never again had a hit as big as In The Summertime they continued to perform and make records for decades, with the most recent being Cool Jesus, which was released in 2012.

Artist:    Beatles
Title:    Hold Me Tight
Source:    Mono CD: With The Beatles (US LP: Meet The Beatles)
Writer(s):    Lennon/McCartney
Label:    Parlophone
Year:    1963
    In the early 1960s, virtually every pop album released contained a generous supply of what is known as "filler". Usually these were covers of songs made popular by other artists, most of which were fairly recent hits. Even the Beatles used filler on their early LPs, but some of those tunes were band originals such as Hold Me Tight. The song was so forgettable, however, that Paul McCartney himself, who wrote Hold Me Tight, reused the song title ten years later on his Red Rose Speedway album without even realizing what he had done.

Artist:    Infrared Light Orchestra
Title:    Kulu Se Quasar Suite
Source:    CD: Sumus Quo Sumus
Writer(s):    Draheim/McAvoy/Quasar/Ribakove
Label:    GTG
Year:    2018
    I was hoping to get Kim Draheim, leader of the Infrared Light Orchestra, to drop by and explain what this fourteen minute long track is about, but he wasn't available, so here's what I know: In 1972 Draheim and Gary Quasar were in a band called the Gurls, whose entire professional career consisted of performing one and a half songs before having the plug pulled on them by the sound man, precipitating a near-riot. What happened to Quasar after that is unknown to me, but apparently some of his music is incorporated into the Kulu Se Quasar Suite on the 2018 CD Sumus Quo Sumus. The track (whose title may have been inspired by Kulu Sé Mama, the last album released by John Coltrane during his lifetime), incorporates spoken word and electronic effects to build to a truly chaotic climax.

Artist:    Beyond From Within
Title:    Free Of Freedom
Source:    CD: Beyond From Within
Writer(s):    Steve Andrews
Label:    self-released
Year:    2015
    Beyond From Within is the brainchild of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Steve Andrews. Based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the band also includes producer Dino Pandolfo, who also provides bass, keyboards and backup vocals, and drummer Nick Spagnolo. Their self-titled (and self-released) album is full of quality original garage/psych tracks such as Free Of Freedom.

Artist:    Crawling Walls
Title:    Bittersweet Days
Source:    LP: Inner Limits
Writer(s):    Bob Fountain
Label:    Voxx
Year:    1985
    The first band to record at Albuquerque's Bottom Line Studios was the Crawling Walls, led by vocalist/keyboardist Bob Fountain (using a vintage Vox organ) and featuring guitarist Larry Otis, formerly of the Philisteens, along with bassist Nancy Martinez and drummer Richard Perez. One of the first 80s bands to truly emulate the classic 60s West Coast psychedelic sound (as defined by bands like the Seeds), the Crawling Walls released one LP, Inner Limits, in 1985 on the local Voxx label. The album was also reissued in France on the Lolita label, where it became a cult favorite. Bittersweet Days, which closes out the album, is the longest track on the LP, and the only one that exceeds the five minute mark.

Artist:     Monkees
Title:     Randy Scouse Git
Source:     CD: Headquarters
Writer:     Mickey Dolenz
Label:     Rhino (original label: Colgems)
Year:     1967
     The original concept for the Monkees TV series was that the band would be shown performing two new songs on each weekly episodes. This meant that, even for an initial 13-week order, 26 songs would have to be recorded in a very short amount of time. The only way to meet that deadline was for several teams of producers, songwriters and studio musicians to work independently of each other at the same time. The instrumental tracks were then submitted to musical director Don Kirschner, who brought in Mickey Dolenz, Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Michael Nesmith to record vocal tracks. Although some of the instrumental tracks, such as those produced by Nesmith, had Nesmith and Tork playing on them, most did not. Some backing tracks were even recorded in New York at the same time as the TV show was being taped in L.A. In a few cases, the Monkees themselves did not hear the songs until they were in the studio to record their vocal tracks. A dozen of these recordings were chosen for release on the first Monkees LP in 1966, including the hit single Last Train To Clarksville. When it became clear that the show was a hit and a full season's worth of episodes would be needed, Kirschner commissioned even more new songs (although by then Clarksville was being featured in nearly every episode, mitigating the need for new songs somewhat). Without the band's knowledge Kirschner issued a second album, More Of The Monkees, in early 1967, using several of the songs recorded specifically for the TV show. The Monkees themselves were furious, and the subsequent firestorm set off a chain of events that led to the removal of Kirschner from the entire Monkees project. The group then hired Turtles bassist Chip Douglas to work with the band to produce an album of songs that the Monkees themselves would both sing and play on. The album, Headquarters, spent one week at the top of the charts before giving way to the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. There were, however, no singles released from the album; at least not in the US. It turns out that the seemingly nonsensical title of the album's final track, Randy Scouse Git, was actually British slang for "horny guy from Liverpool", or something along those lines. The song was released as a single everywhere but the Western Hemisphere under the name Alternate Title and was a surprise worldwide hit.

Artist:    Rolling Stones
Title:    Gomper
Source:    LP: Their Satanic Majesties Request
Writer(s):    Jagger/Richards
Label:    London
Year:    1967
    Probably the most overtly psychedelic track ever recorded by the Rolling Stones, Gomper might best be described as a hippy love song with its references to nature, innocence and, of course, pyschedelic substances. Brian Jones makes one of his last significant contributions as a member of the band he founded, playing the dulcimer, as well as tablas, organ, pan flutes and various percussion instruments throughout the song.

Artist:    Byrds
Title:    Change Is Now
Source:    Mono CD: Where The Action Is: L.A. Nuggets 1965-68 (originally released as 45 RPM single)
Writer:    McGuinn/Hillman
Label:    Rhino (original label: Columbia)
Year:    1967
    1967 saw the departure of two of the Byrds' founders and most prolific songwriters: Gene Clark and David Crosby. The loss of Clark coincided with the emergence of Chris Hillman as a first-rate songwriter in his own right; the loss of Crosby later in the year, however, created an extra burden for Hillman and Roger McGuinn, who from that point on were the band's primary composers. Change Is Now was the band's first post-Crosby single, released in late 1967 and later included (in a stereo version) on their 1968 LP The Notorious Byrd Brothers.

Artist:    Janis Joplin
Title:    My Baby (alternate take)
Source:    45 RPM single B side
Writer(s):    Ragovoy/Schuman
Label:    Columbia/Legacy
Year:    Recorded 1970, released 2012
    By far the most polished of Janis Joplin's albums was Pearl, recorded in 1970 and released in January of 1971. Much of the credit for the album's sound has to go to Paul Rothchild, who had already made his reputation producing the Doors. Another factor was the choice of material to record. In addition to some of Joplin's originals such as Mercedes Benz and Move Over, the LP featured several songs from songwriter Jerry Ragovoy, who had co-written (with the legendary Bert Berns) Joplin's first big hit with Big Brother and the Holding Company, Piece Of My Heart. Working with another legendary songwriter, Doc Schuman, Ragovoy provided some of Joplin's most memorable songs on the album, including My Baby, a song that suited Joplin's vocal style perfectly, as can be heard on this early version of the song that was prepared for release as a single in 1970, but withdrawn at the last minute.

Artist:    Steppenwolf
Title:    Power Play
Source:    CD: Monster
Writer(s):    John Kay
Label:    MCA (original label: Dunhill)
Year:    1969
    1969's Monster album is generally considered the most political of Steppenwolf's albums. A listen to Power Play certainly lends credence to that viewpoint.

Artist:    Simon And Garfunkel
Title:    Bookends Theme/Save The Life Of My Child/America
Source:    LP: Bookends
Writer(s):    Paul Simon
Label:    Columbia/Sundazed
Year:    1967
    An early example of a concept album (or at least half an album) was Simon And Garfunkel's fourth LP, Bookends. The side starts and ends with the Bookends theme. In between they go through a sort of life cycle of tracks, from Save The Life Of My Child (featuring a synthesizer opening programmed by Robert Moog himself), into America, a song that is very much in the sprit of Jack Kerouak's On The Road. One of these days I'll play the rest of the side, which takes us right into the age that many of us who bought the original LP are now approaching (or in some cases have already gotten to).


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