Jefferson Airplane-Takes Off

JEFFERSON AIRPLANE-TAKES OFF
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE-TAKES OFF(1966)

 

The Jefferson Airplane is a psychedelic rock band that formed in San Francisco, California in 1965. They are considered the seminal band that helped shape the San Francisco Sound in the psychedelic era in the mid to late 1960’s. The band is considered one of the most influential groups of the era from San Francisco, rivaled only by The Grateful Dead.

Early Jefferson Airplane with Signe Toly Anderson.

The original, “classic” members of the group were Grace Slick, Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, Marty Balin, Paul Kantner, and Spencer Dryden. However, their debut record was recorded before Grace Slick joined the band. Signe Toly Anderson was on the first record, but left shortly after it’s release in 1966, and was replaced by Slick.

The Jefferson Airplane’s debut record, Takes Off, was released in August 1966. As stated before, Grace Slick was not on the album.

Takes Off is considered to be the beginnings of a genre of music that was to define the counterculture movement of the middle to late sixties and into the early seventies. It is an important work, with a fresh, new sound that would become known as the San Francisco Sound. It was not, in my opinion, a record that broke new ground musically, there was no great surprises here, just a well executed debut record that was very listenable and enjoyable. What was to become by the next record would be monumental in the history of rock music. But the debut was something new, but unextraordinary.

There are two notable cover songs on the record, Tobacco Road, and Let’s Get Together. Both songs are covered by other bands also, and are very popular in American culture. The Youngbloods had a big hit with their version of Let’s Get Together, titled Get Together in 1967. The Jefferson Airplane did a good job of covering both songs.

The song that kicks off  Jefferson Airplane’s recording career, and arguably the psychedelic movement in general, is Blues From An Airplane, the first song on Takes Off. It is a worthy track, and shows the musical proficiency of the band, and the formation of a new sound.

The second song on the record, Let Me In, was considered highly sexual for the times, and there are two versions, one censored, and one uncensored. By today’s standards, it wouldn’t be an issue. It is a great song, with some excellent guitar work in the middle of the track. Great early psychedelia.

Bringing Me Down is a classic psychedelic song with that psychedelic guitar style that would become so prevalent and recognisable in the genre.

It’s No Secret is my favorite song on the record, with Marty Balin’s spectacular vocals which make the song work so well. The guitar work in the middle of the track is classic psychedelia, a preview of what was to come.

Another one of the best songs on the debut is Come Up The Years, a track that starts out slow, with beautiful vocals and lyrics. It is a song about a man who is interested in a younger woman, and lamenting that she is not older. When I listen to this song, I get that feeling, as I so often do, that I wish I was a bit older, so I could experience that it was like to be around in the psychedelic era. The best music, from the greatest era, in my opinion.

Run Around is another song that was considered controversial, and has a censored and an uncensored version. It starts off with a twangy guitar intro, and great vocals. This is another highly enjoyable tune, classic sixties feel.

Don’t Slip Away is a good track, one of the weaker songs on the record, in my opinion, but nevertheless quite enjoyable. There are no bad songs on the record, and even the weaker one’s are very musically  sound, and all have great vocals.

Chauffeur Blues is a song that is lead by Signe Toly Anderson singing lead vocals, and is a straightforward blues piece. It is a good song, but I consider it to be one of the weaker songs on the record, considering that the majority of the rest of the album is excellent.

The last song on the record, And I Like It, is a bluesy piece that starts of with some jazzy drums, and is sung beautifully by Marty Balin. A good tune made great with the Balin vocals.

When listening to this record, there is some important musical history taking place. It is a great debut for one of the most influential bands in rock history. The Jefferson Airplane help launch a revolution, both musically and culturally, and are considered the cream of the crop in the world of psychedelic music.

Rating: A-

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quicksilver Messenger Service

QUICKSILVER MESSENGER SERVICE(1968)

 

 Quicksilver Messenger Service

 

Quicksilver Messenger Service was a psychedelic rock band that got their start in San Francisco, California in 1965. The band originally consisted of David Freiberg, Gary Duncan, Greg Elmore, and John Cipollina.

They are known for their classic psychedelic guitar sound, and their long jam songs, that lead to the comparison to their San Francisco band neighbors The Grateful Dead. Their jam songs were more polished and rehearsed than The Dead, who were more into improvisation.

Though Quicksilver Messenger Service never became as popular as fellow San Francisco area bands The Grateful Dead and The Jefferson Airplane, they did become very successful not only in San Francisco, but for psychedelic music lovers all over the world. They have many top 40 albums to their credit.

Quicksilver Messenger Service is the self titled debut album of the band that was released in 1968. It is a short record, just under thirty two minutes, but the final song on the album, The Fool, comes in at over twelve minutes. It is a masterful work, with awesome guitar work throughout the song, and in some spots, reminds me of The Doors classic tune The End.

The album starts out with a catchy cover song, Pride Of Man, that is one of my favorites on this short album. Many musicians and bands covered Pride Of Man, but Quiksilver’s version is considered one of the best.

Dino’s Song is classic San Francisco psychedelic rock, commonly known as the San Francisco Sound. This song represents this part of the genre that is quintessential San Francisco with echos of The Airplane as well as The Dead, and many other lesser known bands of the area. It is a great song, that is immediately recognisable as being West Coast San Francisco psychedelia.

The next song is Gold and Silver, a instrumental piece that has jazz elements to it, great jazz drums, as well as what could be considered smooth jazzy guitar work. All the while maintaining its strong psychedelic guitar feel in parts of the song.  This instrumental is very underrated in my opinion, and I feel this is one of the better instrumental pieces of the psychedelic era.

It’s Been Too Long is another psychedelic song with great guitar work, but this one has a little bit of a country feel to it. It shows the musical range of the band, from rock, to psychedelia, to jazz and country.

Much of the guitar work on the record has a bit of a twang to it, which gives the album as a whole a bit of a country feel to it. Not so much that it is a predominant part of the music,but it supports it. A great blend of sounds that gives the album a sophisticated, clean feel.

The last song on the album, The Fool, is a lengthy, twelve minute jam that is outstanding. There are times during the song where the guitarwork is is masterful, as stated before, but is worth repeating. It is one of the greatest jams every recorded in my opinion. When performing in concert, Quicksilver would extend this song into a longer jam. It is worth the price of the cd for this song alone. Outstanding record from beginning to end, some of the best music of the psychedelic era.

Rating: A


 

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy-Is Spreading/The Great Conspiracy

THE PEANUT BUTTER CONSPIRACY-IS SPREADING(1967)/THE GREAT CONSPIRACY(1968)

 

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy was a psychedelic pop and rock band that got their start in Los Angeles, California in 1966. They sounded much like The Mamas and the Papas, although they did develop the own signature sound.

The band is noted for having one of the first female vocalists in a rock band, Barbara Robison, also known as Sandi Robison, and sometimes as Sandi Peanut Butter.

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy never became very popular outside the region of Los Angeles, but for awhile they had a good following there.

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy 1966

This review is of a double album on one cd that features their first two studio recordings, “The Peanut Butter Conspiracy is Spreading” and “The Great Conspiracy”, as well as three bonus tracks. Both albums are a nice mix of psychedelic rock and pop, and are very enjoyable.

Their only hit on the charts was It’s A Happening Thing, the first song on their debut album and was directly related to the Flower Power movement of the sixties, and early seventies. It is a very catchy, upbeat tune that sounds somewhat like The Mamas and the Papas, only more psychedelic, and features the beautiful voice of Barbara Robison.

Another catchy song from the debut was Why Did I Get So High, and although at first listen I thought it was about getting high on drugs. A closer look at the lyrics though, makes me believe it is about love and heartache. It is a great, psychedelic, folksy tune.

Dark On You Now is another song off the first record that is classic psychedelia all the way. A great song to groove to on a hot summer day in Southern California in 1967, if only I was born to experience it first hand. One of the better songs I have encountered on my journey through listening to the awesome music of the sixties and early seventies.

The first track on the second album “The Great Conspiracy,” Turn On A Friend(To The Good Life) is a another excellent song, with great harmonies, as is many of the tunes on both records. More classic psychedelic pop, with a message.

Livin, Loving Life is a beautiful song showing just how wonderful a voice that Robison had. It cannot be understated that she had one of the most beautiful voices in rock.

With female vocalists like Janis Joplin and Grace Slick dominating the scene at the time, Barbara Robison is often overlooked. But she had in my opinion, an absolutely outstanding voice, specially suited for the psychedelic sixties.

Living Dream is another great song on the second album, very slow, and mellow, very psychedelic. Robison’s beautiful, haunting vocals are on display here, and it makes me wish she didn’t die so young. There was more music in her, but she was gone by 1988. I wonder if she would have recorded more had she lived.

It is funny how such a talented band, with wonderful music, doesn’t become more popular. Though they never received the full recognition they deserved outside of the LA area, they remain a band that should be listened too and enjoyed. They represent the psychedelic sounds of the sixties well, and will not be forgotten.

Rating: A


 

Love-Forever Changes

 

LOVE-FOREVER CHANGES

 

Love is a psychedelic band that originated in Los Angeles, California. They were popular in the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s. Though considered a psychedelic band, they drew musical inspiration from many types of genres, including folk, jazz, blues, hard rock, and even some flamenco. Love never was a big hit on the charts, however they are considered on of the great bands of the psychedelic era of the late sixties, early seventies.

Love was one of the first bands that were diverse, both racially and musically. They were first signed by Elektra Records, along with Elektra’s most popular band, The Doors. Jim Morrison of the Doors once wrote that Love was one of his favorite bands. I can see why.

Forever Changes, Love’s third album, is considered by many to be one of the top rock records of all time. Arthur Lee, Love’s lead singer, is highly respected in the music industry, with his voice sometimes being compared to Johnny Mathis.

Alone Again Or is the first track off of Forever Changes, and starts out with the acoustic guitar which leads into drums and behind the scenes flamenco guitar. There is a great flamenco horn solo in the middle of the song that really makes it pop. Horn arrangements are a recurring theme throughout the record, and this was one of Arthur Lee’s favorite parts of the record. He liked the use of horns throughout the album.

The next song, A House is Not a Hotel, is one of the more recognisable songs on the record, and has a great psychedelic guitar solo. Arthur Lee’s voice shines on this piece, and he has a distinct sound that at times really does mimic Johnny Mathis.

Andmoreagain is a beautiful song, slow, silky, and when Lee inserts “Thrum pum pum pum” at time during the tune, I always think of The Little Drummer Boy, but that’s just me.

Old Man is a slow, mellow, hauntingly beautiful psychedelic folksy song, and Lee’s vocals are superb. I never tire of hearing any of the songs on Forever Changes, and the music on this record never gets old, and is always fresh. I listen to it over and over and it always is stellar.

The Red Telephone is a rather pessimistic song, with Lee’s vocals on full display, and even a bit of a droning, repeating phrase toward the end of the tune, “They’re Locking Them Up Today, They’re Throwing Away The Key, I Wonder Who It’ll Be Tomorrow, You Or Me.”  I  almost got a hint of a pre-rap, rap, but on further listen, I decided I didn’t really believe that.

Maybe the People Would Be the Times or Between Clark and Hilldale is, in my opinion, a masterpiece, own of my favorite Love songs. It has a lot to it, the long awkward sounding title, some great horn arrangements, a bit of flamenco guitar, and Lee’s voice brings together one of the best songs of the psychedelic era.

Live and Let Live is, at first a humorous song, then gets more serious lyrically, and is another great song, as is the whole record from beginning to end.

Bummer in the Summer is probably my least favorite song on Forever Changes, and I still love it, which shows how much I dig the record.

The album ends on a high note with You Set The Scene. It closes out one of the top albums of all time, critically acclaimed, even though Love was never a big hit on the charts. It makes me wonder, how a group this good was never appreciated more, but like a fine wine, Forever Changes gets better every time I listen. A timeless record, and one that absolutely deserves many, many listens.

Rating: A+


 

 

 

Grace Slick & The Great Society-Collector’s Item

GRACE SLICK & THE GREAT SOCIETY-COLLECTOR’S ITEM(Reissue single cd 1971. Recorded 1965-1966)

 

 

The Great Society was a psychedelic band that got it’s start in San Francisco, California in 1965. Though the band was a unit for only around a year, they laid the groundwork for the psychedelic, counterculture movement that originated in San Francisco. The band had a very popular, and soon to be mega famous  lead singer, Grace Slick. She was at the head of the psychedelic era, and although famous in the San Francisco area at the time of  The Great Society, she would become an absolute star when she joined The Jefferson Airplane in 1966, around a year after The Great Society began.

The Great Society included Grace’s then husband Jerry Slick, as well as her brother in law, Darby, Jerry’s brother. They were inspired by The Beatles, and got their name from President Lyndon Johnson, who was President at the time, who’s policies of The Great Society was a popular phrase of the time.

Grace Slick & The Great Society Collector’s Item is a reissue of their previous two albums, Conspicuous Only In Its Absence and How It Was released as a double album and single cd. It is considered a precursor to the Psychedelic music scene known as The San Francisco Sound.  

Both of the Great Society’s only records were concerts performed at The Matrix in San Francisco. The sound quality is not bad and it catches the band playing some covers and originals, and Slick’s voice is beautiful. One can tell that she would be a rising star in psychedelic music. Every song, in my opinion is quality, both musically and vocally. This is one of the best records to listen to in order to get a great taste of what was to be forthcoming in the genre of psychedelic rock.

The first song on the record is a cover tune called Sally Go Round’ The Roses, originated by a group called the Jaynetts. The Great Society does an excellent cover of this song. It starts of the record nicely and shows the musicianship of the band, and the voice of Slick.

Didn’t Think So is another song that is mellow, and brings out the beauty in Slick’s voice. Someone To Love is the name of the original song performed by the band, and though normally associated with the Jefferson Airplane, is actually a Grace Slick original written by her brother in-law Darby, before she became the lead singer of the Airplane. It was the only song by The Great Society that charted. Of course, the Airplane would make it their own, change the name to Somebody To Love, and turn it into a bigger hit. Both versions are different, and personally, I like The Great Society’s version a bit better.

The Great Society played a cover of Bob Dylan’s Outlaw Blues on the record, and shows the range of Slick’s voice, from singing psychedelic rock, to the blues, without missing a beat. Her singing shines throughout the record, and would become unmistakable in rock music for years to come.

White Rabbit was another hit for the Jefferson Airplane that was first Slick’s song with The Great Society, and would become one of the Airplane’s finest. As with Somebody To Love, the Great Society’s version was quite different than that of the Airplane. And once again, I like the Society’s version better. This version is quite a bit longer than the Airplane’s hit, with a much longer, and in my opinion, better intro. Although, the radio version is more haunting sounding, just much shorter.

The last song on the record is Father, the longest song, and an awesome instrumental that features great guitarwork, sax, and though no vocals on this one, Grace Slick contributes in other ways. This is an excellent way to wind down the brief recording career of The Great Society. Though their career was very short with the lineup that the band had, they are considered important in the development of the San Francisco Sound, and psychedelic music in general. And the band propelled Grace Slick onto The Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, and then finally, Starship. She is considered one of the best female vocalists in rock music. A must have album for psychedelic music fans.

Rating: A


 

The Fugs First Album

THE FUGS FIRST ALBUM

 

The Fugs are a psychedelic folk, garage rock band formed in New York City in 1964. They were known for their lewd lyrical content, had a very comical spin to them, and were vehemently against the Vietnam war and wrote songs and protested against it throughout the sixties. Their name was a euphemism for the word f_ck, and some claim it was the first time an expletive word was used in recorded music. The main members in the Fugs were Tuli Kupferberg, Ed Sanders, and Ken Weaver, as well as many different incarnations throughout the years.

The Fugs first album was originally titled a gawdy The Village Fugs Sing Ballads of Contemporary Protest, Point of Views, and General Dissatisfaction. It was eventually shortened to The Village Fugs or The Fugs First Album. 

To be honest, when I first heard The Fugs First Album, I was not impressed at all. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t get through it. But like many people who try beer for the first time and hated it, such as myself, trying again and again, was able to ultimately come to appreciate them. They are an aquired taste. Many consider them to be the very first underground band.

The first song on the album, Slum Goddess, starts off well enough. It is a catchy tune and actually one of the better songs on the record. So my very first exposure to The Fugs was somewhat positive. By the second song, Ah, Sunflower, Weary of Time, which is a song based on a poem by William Blake, I was getting weary. This was not the kind of music I was accustomed to listening to. I didn’t really like the vocals.

The next song, Supergirl, was much better, both musically and vocally, and the lyrics were a bit out there, to say the least. An interesting song with semi poetic lyrics, and a funny bend to it, was probably one of my top two favorites on the record. It took some people by surprise to be sure, as this was some of their most wild and trashy lyrics. Though The Fugs may have sounded a bit odd, and looked a little rough around the edges, they were not a bunch of uneducated vagrants. Kupferberg was a poet, guitarist and composer, and Sanders owned a bookstore called Peace Eye, where the rehearsed their material. Though maybe what they lacked in musical talent at the time time, they made up for lyrically.

The Swinburne Stomp, I can truthfully admit, I find unlistenable, even now, and tend to skip over the song when listening to the record. An acquired taste that I never acquired with this tune.

I Couldn’t Get High is a good song, very entertaining both musically and vocally, if not sounding a bit drunk and stoned, which is what they were going for. They achieved a nice classic sounding garage rock tune with this one.

How Sweet I Roamed From Field To Field works well as a country sounding folk piece. A bit slow, but enjoyable, if you like that kind of down home country twang.

Carpe Diem is good enough musically, but vocally falls short in my opinion. My Baby Done Left Me is your song if you like like yodeling, and a play on the word sh_t. Not one of my favorites.

Boobs A Lot is hilarious, if not a bit obscene and quirky. I don’t think it a great song, however it puts a bit of humor at the end of the album. The album ends on a low note with Nothing, a song about a whole lot of, well, nothing. Sort of bleak and morbid.

The 1993 reissue has a lot more material if anyone is interested. Not great, not horrible, but much of the same as the album, but I am sure there are many people that will like it. At the end of the day, this is not a record that I would put on, but it is interesting, and in some respects, groundbreaking for the times in the mid sixties. Check it out and see what you think.

Rating: C


 

 

The Best Of Eric Burdon And The Animals 1966-1968

THE BEST OF ERIC BURDON AND THE ANIMALS 1966-1968

 

Eric Burdon, along with The Animals, was a British rock band who got their start in Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain in 1962. They actually had two distinct periods, along with different band members, first having their home base in Newcastle upon Tyne, and then after some success they moved to London. Their most recognisable song was released in 1964 and was a number one hit in both the United Kingdom and the United States, House of the Rising Sun. Eric Burdon was a deep voiced very recognisable vocalist through the 1960’s, and under the name Eric Burdon and the Animals, the grouped traveled from the United Kingdom to the United States, settling in San Francisco around the time that the psychedelic era got its start.

The Best of Eric Burdon and the Animals 1966-1969 is a compilation record of their most popular songs after they came to the United States in the mid sixties. It is a record filled with songs about the psychedelic era and some of its most defining moments, and tries to explain some of the situations in Burdon’s youth, that he is conveying to his listeners through his lyrics. It is a very entertaining record, and on of my favorites of the era.

The first song on the compilation is Don’t Bring Me Down, a soulful song that stresses that a man does not always live up to a woman’s expectations, and Burdon extolls a women to “please don’t bring me down.” It was a top ten record in the U.K. and just barely missed the top ten in the States in 1966.

Hey Gyp is a popular Donovan song, that The Animals covered on the compilation. There is a great rendition of the song being sung by Eric Burdon on the documentary, Rock City 1964-1973, that really brings the song to life. Just watching the brief video is a ride through how a sixties outdoor concert was performed, both featuring the band performing, as well as the reaction of the crowd that was attending. A great documentary well worth getting ahold of.

When I Was Young was a song written by Eric Burdon and his bandmates and was released in 1967. It is considered a song about the psychedelic era, but was also a song about Burdon’s life as a youngster, revealing certain milestones in his life, such as smoking his first cigarette, his first shot at love with a girl, and also mentions his father, who was a soldier. It also features the use of a sitar and a violin. The sitar was a much used instrument in the psychedelic era, and The Animals used it on a few of their songs.

The next song was called A Girl Named Sandoz, and interestingly, it is actually a song about the company who first invented LSD, a large part of the psychedelic movement, and the main drug of choice at the time.

San Franciscan Nights was a song that was written, in part, to honor the people of San Francisco, especially in the Dragnet snippet at the beginning of the tune, but it was also an anti Vietnam War song. It contrived images of being in San Francisco high on LSD, and questions the validity of the war. At one point, Eric Burdon hints that the song was about a night with Janis Joplin in San Francisco. Funny how many artists and musicians were somehow interrelated in the psychedelic sixties scene!

The next song, Good Times is about a man who looks back on his life and regrets the time he has wasted, and has chosen the path that ultimately leads him to not being what he could have been. The song, as a whole, has a relatively depressed feel to it.

Anything is a slow, psychedelic piece that is a celebration of life, friends and all good things, and it was one of Eric Burdon’s favorite songs that he wrote. It is a purely positive song, among other more negative and pessimistic one’s, and brings to the compilation a lighthearted and whimsical feel as we progress through it’s many messages.

Eric Burdon and the Animals played at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which was the first outdoor concert of the psychedelic movement, during the time known as the Summer of Love. The song, Monterey, is a celebration of the concert, and an explanation of some of the events that they encountered there. There were many famous, and would be famous musicians and bands there, and the Animals listed some of the acts that they were most impressed with in the lyrics of the song. Mentioned were, Jefferson Airplane, The  Who, The Byrds, The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and others, and it is nice recognition for some great bands that performed at Monterey Pop. This song also features Indian musical influences.

Sky Pilot is one of the Animals most popular songs, and is broken into two distinct parts due to it’s length. To me, it seems to be an anti war tune, with the beginning of the song alluding to a Sky Pilot, who is a military chaplain, lamenting his soldiers as they go off to war, and waiting around for their return. Some of the soldiers, upon returning, question the reasons that they were fighting for. The song features bagpipes, and has a long interlude in the middle. It is one of the Animals great songs.

The last song on the compilation, River Deep, Mountain High, is a song that the Animals covered originally performed by Tina Turner. It was one of Turner’s biggest hits, and was considered the best song produced by the legendary Phil Spector.

Eric Burdon and the Animals remain a very important piece of the psychedelic music scene. Their early career did not produce the same type of music, but they were popular in their own right then, while still in the United Kingdom. But it would be their move to San Francisco, when their careers really took off to produce some great psychedelic music. It is interesting to note, that perhaps their best identified song was House of the Rising Sun, which was more at the beginning of their career. Great band!

Rating: A


 

Cream-Disraeli Gears

CREAM-DISRAELI GEARS(1967)

 

 

Cream was a British rock band that was active between 1966-1969. They were considered by many to be the first super group, and referred to as a power trio. The band consisted of Eric Clapton(guitars, singer), Jack Bruce(bassist, singer) and Ginger Baker(drums). Cream played a mix of psychedelic rock, blues rock and hard rock. They were extremely popular in the psychedelic era in the middle to late sixties, and were considered very influential to other musicians, and made the use of the wah-wah pedal when playing guitars. Jimi Hendrix, as well as other musicians made the use of the wah-wah pedal popular around this time as well.

The album starts of with Strange Brew, one of the two radio hits off of Disraeli Gears, the other being Sunshine of Your Love. While the meaning behind the song lyrics is debated, to me this is a song about drugs, specifically, LSD, which was basically the drug of choice in the psychedelic era. Basically, the whole period is about the effects of LSD and how people came to terms with how it made them feel. This song is about that, but also comes with a warning, “Strange brew, kill what’s inside of you.” This, of course could be a warning about taking drugs in general, but in this time period, I think LSD was the drug in question.

The next song on Disraeli Gears, is one of the most recognisable songs in all of Creams repertoire, Sunshine of Your Love. This song has a guitar riff that has become one of the most beloved in rock music. The riff is unmistakable Cream, and even if people don’t know it’s Cream, many people recognise this distinct riff. Non other than Jimi Hendrix covered Sunshine of Your Love on his record Live at Winterland.  This Cream tune has made it on some music lists as being one of the top songs of all time.

Without reading too much into the meaning of Sunshine of Your Love, I think it is a straight up love song, with sexual undertones. It is beautifully written lyrically, but, of course, it means different things to different people. One of my favorites.

Blue Condition is a song written by drummer Ginger Baker, and it is a song about deep reflection. He seems to be saying to take your own path, and do what you want to do, but if where you find yourself makes you blue, reevaluate, and take a good look at where you are in life. In any case, it is up to you to make yourself happy. Kind of deep, but this is how I interpret the song.

Another great song starts off side two of the record, Tales of Brave Ulysses. It is a poem written by Martin Sharp and Eric Clapton. Sharp was the person who also designed the album cover for Cream’s next record Wheels of Fire. The poem is beautiful, and matches well with the music. The song runs very smooth, and is one of the best songs on the album in my opinion.

SWLABR is another song on the record, it stands for “She Was Like A Bearded Rainbow.” The weirdest and most obscure song on the album, it was a written by a poet named Pete Brown, and much like it’s title, isn’t really meant to mean much, just a silly psychedelic gem, with a great guitar riff.

Outside Woman Blues is another great song with some excellent drumming by Ginger Baker, and some advice from Eric Clapton, that “You can’t watch your wife and your outside women, too.”

The last song, Mother’s Lament, is the last song on the record, and it finishes it out on a wonderful note. It is old English drinking song, sung in a heavy British accent and a great piano piece at the end. An awesome ending to a great record.

Rating: A


Country Joe And The Fish-Electric Music For The Mind And Body

COUNTRY JOE AND THE FISH-ELECTRIC MUSIC FOR THE MIND AND BODY(1967)

 

Country Joe McDonald- Vocals, Guitar, Bells, Tambourine

Barry Melton- Vocals, Guitar

David Cohen- Guitar, Organ

Bruce Barthol- Bass, Harmonic

Gary “Chicken” Hirsh- Drums

 

Country Joe and the Fish were a band that got their start in Berkeley, California in 1965. They were considered an influential band in the beginning of the psychedelic and acid rock movement in the middle to late sixties. Electric Music for the Body and Mind was their debut record released in 1967, and was one of the first psychedelic albums released in the San Francisco Bay area. It is considered to be one of the most important records of the psychedelic era in music in the late sixties.

Country Joe and the Fish were known for their political and cultural songs that intended to be critical of the circumstances in the United States at the end of the sixties. Critical of government and policy, but also describing what life was like in the counterculture movement in the country at the time. Their music sometimes showed a total disdain for the Vietnam war, the United States Presidency, and other issues of the day. Electronic Music for the Body and Mind is not only their debut, but also contained their only charting single, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, and on this record also contained some of their most experimental songs. There are many arrangements consisting of organ along with the coupling of guitars which attributed to the sound that would become known as acid rock.

Three songs off the record, Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine, Section 43, and Grace, were regularly played on local radio stations in San Francisco, which even though were never national hits, were very popular in the Bay area.

 

Section 43 is one of my favorite songs on the album, an experimental, instrumental piece that was innovative, and set the groundwork for the sound that would be recognised as acid rock, with its screeching organ, which works well for the hippie experience of the times. It is the longest song on the record. Turn the lights off and turn the lava lamp on, it is the perfect song to catch the feel and the aura of the sixties. Great stuff!

Super Bird is a short song that takes shots at Lyndon Baines Johnson, the President of the United States at the time that the record was recorded. It is a political song expressing the bands displeasure with his policies and the way the country was heading, especially when it came to the handling of the Vietnam War.

 

The Masked Marauder is another instrumental, with excellent organ work, that is, to me, the most recognisable song on the record. Whenever I think of this record, this is the song that is the most satisfying listen, and remains with me long after I hear it. It has a great guitar solo in the middle of the song, and except for the La La La, which is the only lyric, it is one of my favorite instrumentals of the psychedelic era.

The last song on the record, Grace, is the second longest song on the record at just over 7 minutes, and is a song  dedicated to Grace Slick, lead singer of the Jefferson Airplane. This a great psychedelic record, excellent from beginning to end. If you want to hear rock music the way it was produced in the era of the late sixties, the sound musically represented, and the social commentary of the times, this is one of the best.

Rating: A