A Bit Like You And Me Radio

July 31, 2013

Johnny Mathis - What Will Mary Say (1963)

Born John Royce Mathis on September 30, 1935 in Gilmer, Texas, this American singer’s family moved to San Francisco, where Mathis was brought up singing and dancing from a young age. At the age of thirteen, he received professional singing lessons in exchange for doing chores around his instructor’s home. In high school, Mathis was a star athlete, performing as a high jumper, hurdler, and member of the basketball team. In 1954 he enrolled at the local San Francisco State University with the intention of becoming a physical education or English teacher. In 1955, Mathis was discovered by Helen Noga, a co-owner of the Black Hawk nightclub in San Francisco. Noga got Mathis a job singing at Ann Dee’s 440 Club, earning extra cash on the weekends. When she learned that famed jazz producer, George Avakian, was in town on vacation, she arranged for him to come listen to Mathis sing. Upon hearing the young Mathis, Avakian sent a telegram to Columbia Records stating, “Have found phenomenal 19-year-old boy who could go all the way. Send blank contracts.” Things weren’t that simple for Mathis, though. In 1956, Mathis was faced with a decision to make. At his University, he was asked to attend the Olympic trials for hurdling for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games being held in Melbourne, Australia. If he qualified, he would represent the US in for the 1956 Olympics. The trouble was, Mathis had a conflicting appointment in New York City around the same time as the trials. Consulting his father, Mathis eventually chose to pursue his singing career. His first album, Johnny Mathis, was published in late 1956 just mere months before he began his rise to international stardom.

Most popular just before rock began to dominate the 1960s, Johnny Mathis was known for his strong vocals. This adulterous song was Mathis’ first released single in 1963 and the second-highest charting release of his career. It reached number nine on the US pop charts and forty-nine in the UK. It was backed with the B-Side "Quiet Girl".

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Johnny Mathis - What Will Mary Say (1963)

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Lyrics:

I must be going
(Don’t go)
My heart is showing
(Don’t go)
I better hurry away
If I don’t leave, I’ll be sorry
What will my Mary say?

Your lips are thrilling
My arms are willing
I know that I shouldn’t stay
If I don’t leave, I’ll be sorry
What will my Mary say?

What would I do if she should meet me
And find me kissing you?
She’s always trusted me completely
Her poor heart would break in two

I must be going
(Don’t go)
My heart is showing
(Don’t go)
I better hurry away
If I don’t leave, I’ll be sorry
What will my Mary say?

If I don’t leave I’ll be sorry
What will my Mary say?

(Don’t go)
(Don’t go)

July 30, 2013

The Peanut Butter Conspiracy - Why Did I Get So High (1967)

John Merrill, Barbara “Sandi” Robison, Alan Brackett, Spencer Dryden, and Jim Cherniss first got together as a band in the mid-‘60s calling themselves The Young Swingers. Although they changed their name to The Ashes and released a few singles, the band was short-lived, disbanding when Dryden joined Jefferson Airplane and Robison took a leave of absence to give birth. In the meantime, Alan Brackett began playing with Lance Baker Fent and Jim Voigt, calling themselves The Crossing Guards. In mid-1966, Robison and Merill reunited with Brackett’s new outfit, and the new five-piece band called themselves The Peanut Butter Controversy. Drummer Jim Voigt had been the one to come up with the name, but according to Alan Brackett, the band “changed it to Conspiracy right away.”

The band’s first album, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy is Spreading, which this song appeared on, was recorded with Gary Usher at the forefront. With ties to The Beach Boys, it’s no wonder that Usher borrowed the talents of Glen Campbell (and James Burton) to improve the PBC’s album. The band, on the other hand, wasn’t pleased with the unwanted personnel additions, and would later disavow the album because of their contributions.

The song heard below, written by John Merrill and Alan Brackett*, appeared as the sixth track on the album. It never charted, but the album itself squeezed itself into the bottom of Billboard’s Top 200. It was never released as a single, most likely because the drug-related lyrics would have surely been banned instantaneously.

*[Update 05/21/2014: Alan Brackett was kind enough to stop by and clear up some of the details about this song. You can read them in the comments below. He also included a link to check out a new album of rare and unreleased material from The Peanut Butter Conspiracy. Definitely check it out in the comments below!]

[Update 01/08/2015: A submission from Alan Brackett has been added to the end of this article.]



A Special Edition post with Alan Brackett of The Peanut Butter Conspiracy!

These are exerpts from the new book I’m writing and cover a couple of songs I wrote that had drug overtones lyrically and, I guess musically, too.

“Why Did I Get So High” was inspired by The Fugs’ song “I Couldn’t Get High” that Frank Zappa played for us at our Frenchy’s gig in Hayward. I think they were very honest about what they said in their song, but they also didn’t seem to care about being commercial at all or getting airplay. We didn’t care that much, but we were signed to Columbia and I did know that they would not be ready for lyrics like that; so when I wrote “Why Did I Get So High,” I did it about love, with a double meaning. It was fun singing about getting high at gigs. And the audiences loved to sing along with that one; and I’m sure they knew the double meaning. It was all about having great- high- expectations and getting totally carried away, only to ultimately crash and burn. The very last word, “stoned,” instead of “high” is the give-away that the song is not just a cute little love song; and I thought we were lucky to get away with even saying that. Of course, the song didn’t get much airplay because the radio waves weren’t ready yet, either. Boy, have things changed. You can say pretty much anything these days it seems.

Musically, I based the song on classical structure with a different chord for almost every word, instead of the melody, and words floating over chords that are holding for a bar or more. John’s song, “You Took Too Much,” was filled with lines like “you tripped out on the trees” and “you’re trippin’ all the time.” So, I was not alone; that’s for sure.

The opening song from Great Conspiracy was “Turn On A Friend” to which Columbia added the next line in the song to the title in parenthesis (To The Good Life). I knew something like that would happen, and that’s why I wrote the song with that line after “turn on a friend” in the lyrics. Like “Why Did I Get So High” in the first album, I wanted to use double-meaning because I saw it as a way of getting away with saying what I wanted to say. The lyrics were all positive, about helping a friend to have a good trip through their life.

Musically, I wrote the song around some big open chords on the guitar and bass. The half step up from the A in the third chord gives an Eastern sound along with blues chords in the rest of the song. On the double-time instrumental break, Mikael Kollandar played some fast-fingered raga style runs that added to the Eastern flavor. This song was released as a single prior to the album in October of 1967.

Paranoid about the lyric content of the song, Columbia made Billy send out postcards to the DJs and promotion people.


A huge thanks to Alan Brackett for sharing excerpts from his book. It was very kind.

And now that you've enjoyed this exclusive story, why not check out what other exclusive stories we've received?



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The Peanut Butter Conspiracy - Why Did I Get So High (1967)

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Lyrics:

Why did I get so high
Just to fall from the sky?
Why did I get so high
Just to see our love die?
Oh, why did I get so high?

There was a time
I thought you were mine
And the world was new
Filled with thoughts of you

In this state of mind
My love was blind
And the world closed in
On my heart, on my mind
And my love, oh no

Why did I get so high
Just to fall from the sky?
Why did I get so high
Just to see our love die?

Now I'm gone, I can't go on
'cause my heart is dead
And so is my head
But I live on to spite the world
'cause there was a time
I thought you were mine
And the world was new
Filled with thoughts of you

Why did I get so high
Just to fall from the sky?
Why did I get so high
Just to see our love die?
Oh, why did I get so high?

Why did I get so stoned?

July 29, 2013

Brian Hyland - Sealed with a Kiss (1962)

Born November 12, 1943, in Queens, New York, Brian Hyland’s first musical group, The Delfis, was started when it was fourteen. Although the band was never signed, Hyland managed to get signed as a solo artist for Kapp Records in the late ‘50s. He first came into the national spotlight by reaching number one on the charts with the 1960 novelty song “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.” Hyland next signed with ABC Records and had continuing success as a teen idol with the song heard below and numerous other charting pop songs. By the time of the British Invasion, Hyland has begun incorporating a country sound into his songs. Continuing to head in this direction ultimately cost Hyland any continued success, as his popularity dissipated over the course of the ‘60s. He was able to reach the charts a handful more of times, but never charted higher than number twenty. His last charting songs, “Gypsy Woman” and “Lonely Teardrops,” both cover songs, were released in 1971 and produced by fellow early-‘60s star, Del Shannon.

This song, written by Peter Udell and Gary Geld, was first recorded in 1960 by The Four Voices, but never charted. It was recorded by Brian Hyland in 1962 and reached number three in both the United States and the United Kingdom. The song would later be covered, to varying degrees of success, by Gary Lewis and the Playboys (1968), Bobby Vinton (1972), and Jason Donovan (1989), among many others.

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Brian Hyland - Sealed with a Kiss (1962)

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Lyrics:

Though we got to say goodbye for the summer
Darling, I promise you this
I’ll send you all my love every day in a letter
Sealed with a kiss

Yes, it’s gonna be a cold, lonely summer
But I’ll fill the emptiness
I’ll send you all my dreams every day in a letter
Sealed with a kiss

I’ll see you in the sunlight
I’ll hear your voice everywhere
I’ll run to tenderly hold you
But darling, you won’t be there

I don’t want to say goodbye for the summer
Knowing the love we’ll miss
Oh, let us make a pledge to meet in September
And seal it with a kiss

Yes, it’s gonna be a cold, lonely summer
But I’ll fill the emptiness
I’ll send you all my love every day in a letter
Sealed with a kiss
Sealed with a kiss
Sealed with a kiss

July 26, 2013

Los Shakers - Break It All (1966)

While the British Invasion was taking America by storm, there was a lesser-known influence of British bands being made in Latin America, as well. The Uruguayan Invasion, similar to the British Invasion, was an influx of British-inspired Uruguayan bands making their mark in Argentina. Among the top Uruguayan acts of the period were Los Mockers, fashioned after The Rolling Stones, and this band, fashioned after The Beatles.

Formed in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1963, this band was a huge hit in Argentina. Appearance-wise, they fashioned matching Beatles-suits and sported Beatles haircuts. The band sang entirely in English and primarily sounded like a lot of the British hits from the mid-‘60s. They were originally known as The Shakers, but quickly changed their name to that seen above after the release of their first single (“My Bonnie”) in 1965. The band’s last album, La Conferencia Secreta del Toto’s Bar, released in 1968, was not promoted or supported by their label, EMI, because of its harsh, psychedelic sound. The label didn’t approve of the band’s new direction. Resulting from the lack of push, the album bombed and the group split up, not reuniting until 2005.

This song appeared on the band’s 1966 Break It All album, which was the first release by the band that was commercially available in North America. As with most of the band’s songs, this track was written by band members and brothers, Hugo and Osvaldo Fattoruso. Osvaldo passed away from cancer on July 29, 2012 at the age of sixty-four.

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Los Shakers - Break It All (1966)

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Lyrics:

We want you to come
We want you to hear
We want you to dance
Dance all night long

But when the music start
Don’t stand there like a fool
And break it all
You listen me
Break it all

If you’re getting tired
If you’re getting sad
Cannot shake with that
Break plans tonight

But when the music start
Don’t stand there like a fool
And break it all
You listen me
Break it all

If you’re alone
Or nobody shake with you
Oh, please don’t mind
And shake, oh yeah

Now, we know you’re fine
Do the shake, do the shake
Oh yeah
And break it all
You listen me
Break it all

We want you to come
We want you to hear
We want you to dance
Dance all night long

But when the music start
Don’t stand there like a fool
And break it all
You listen me
Break it all

If you’re alone
Or nobody shake with you
Oh, please don’t mind
And shake, oh yeah

Now, we know you’re fine
Do the shake, do the shake
Oh yeah
And break it all
You listen me
Break it all

We want you to come
We want you to hear
We want you to dance
Dance all night long

But when the music start
Don’t stand there like a fool
And break it all
You listen me
Break it all

And break it all
You listen me
Break it all

And break it all
You listen me
Break all

July 25, 2013

Zoot Money - Soma (1968)

Born George Bruno Money on July 17, 1942, this vocalist and keyboardist comes from Bournemouth, England where his earliest musical beginnings saw him playing the French horn and singing in a choir. During the mid-1950s, Money was exposed to Jerry Lee Lewis and Ray Charles, took up the keyboard, and never looked back. In the early ‘60s, Money switched from the keyboard to the Hammond organ and started the Big Roll Band in 1961. Interestingly, one of Money’s bandmates in the Big Roll Band was Andy Summers, a future member of the ‘80s band The Police. Around this time, Money began calling himself “Zoot,” after the jazz saxophonist Zoot Sims, who had left an impression on Money after he saw him in concert. In 1967, the Big Roll Band had changed their name to Dantalian’s Chariot and began to get gigs opening for bands such as Pink Floyd, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and the Soft Machine. Unfortunately by April 1968, the band split up and Money went forward with solo work, television appearances, and film acting.

After the dissolution of Dantalian’s Chariot, Money released a solo album, Transition, in 1968. The album attempted to transition Money from his usual jazz and R&B sound into a more modern psychedelic sound. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out very well. Not having been familiar with chart success anyhow, this album didn’t make much of an impression. The only notable track, I believe, was the song heard below. Written by future Police-member Andy Summers, this instrumental track was inspired by the South Asian Indian themes popular in the ‘60s by featuring a sitar and raga motif.

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Zoot Money - Soma (1968)

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Lyrics:

(instrumental)

July 24, 2013

The Asylum Choir - Welcome to Hollywood (1968)

In 1967, studio musicians Leon Russell and Marc Benno got together and created this band. They recorded two albums together. The first, Look Inside the Asylum Choir, was released on Smash Records in 1968, and only reached number 201 on the US charts.. Their second and last album, Asylum Choir II, was recorded February through April 1969, but due to contract disputes, didn't get released until November 1971 after the band had already broken up. By the time of that second album’s release, Leon Russell had gone back to being a session musician, making a very strong name for himself working with famous names such as George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Elton John, Eric Clapton, and numerous others. This solo stardom brought an interest in his earlier work when it was finally released and Asylum Choir II reached number 70 on the charts.

When the band’s first album was initially released in 1968, the cover art was a prominent picture of a roll of toilet paper against a tiled bathroom wall. Creating a minor controversy, Smash records decided that they ought to replace the image, and a much more innocuous cover, featuring Russell and Benno against a psychedelic background, replaced it. The song heard below was featured as the opening track of their debut album, mocking the seedier side of Hollwood, California. If you enjoy it, check out the album’s seventh track, which I almost featured instead, titled “Thieves In The Choir”.

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The Asylum Choir - Welcome to Hollywood (1968)

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Lyrics:

Drive the golden sunset drip
And the golden sunset children skip
Along the path that’s called The Strip
And they’re looking for a bird to flip
And a hole to hide from the tourists’ eyes watching

Tourist car come into town
And the black policeman’s cars go down
Inspecting all the players’ rounds
The places where the jokers found
And waiting for his chance to be the dealer

(Welcome to Hollywood)
(You Midwest sons and daughters)
Oh, welcome to Hollywood
Say, man, can you spare a quarter?

Vested eyes so calmly heard
Astounded by the city assured
That come so quickly off a herd
The golden sunset children fled
With ways to still be young and not be crying

The network showed its Color War
I watched the shorthead heroes stor’
Red crimson on green army corps
And his last scene is too bizarre
To think that he won’t get a check from AFTRA

(Welcome to Hollywood)
(You Midwest sons and daughters)
Oh, welcome to Hollywood
Say, man, can you spare a quarter?

I’m feelin’ good in Hollywood
I know where in Hollywood
Oh, I’m Hollywood, now, now
Oh, Hollywood
Oh, Hollywood

(Hollywood, yes I’m talkin’ ‘bout Hollywood)
Oh, I’m feelin’ fine
(Hollywood, I’m talkin’ ‘bout Hollywood)
(Hollywood, yes I’m talkin’ ‘bout Hollywood)
(Hollywood, I’m talkin’ ‘bout Hollywood)
(Hollywood, yes I’m talkin’ ‘bout Hollywood)
(Hollywood, I’m talkin’ ‘bout Hollywood)…

July 23, 2013

Vanilla Fudge - You Keep Me Hangin' On (1967)

Mark Stein and Tim Bogert were both in the local Long Island, New York band called Rick Martin & The Showmen. Influenced by the blue-eyed soul of The Rascals, the pair decided to splinter off in 1966 and form their own group, called The Pigeons. Joined by Vince Martell and Carmine Appice, the new band changed their name in 1966 to that which is read above, reasoning that they were mixing “vanilla” psychedelic music made popular by bands such as The Doors, with “fudge” blues music made popular by black artists. Playing locally, the band was discovered by Phillip Basile, a local club owner who also allegedly was a member of the Lucchese crime family. Their debut, self-titled album reached number six in the US charts and was mostly composed of cover songs originally made famous by bands such as The Beatles, The Supremes, The Zombies, and others. In late 1968 and early 1969, the band toured the United States with Iron Butterfly, Country Joe & the Fish, and a very young/new Led Zeppelin. Although Vanilla Fudge was the official headliner of the tour, it was Zeppelin who instantly stole the show and intimidated Iron Butterfly and Country Joe from completing the tour with them. Although this band’s subsequent albums continuously charted, they failed to reach the same success as their debut release. In early 1970, the band broke up for the first time. Stein was the sole remaining member and attempted to continue the band, unsuccessfully, with replacement band members. Having officially folded altogether in 1970, the original members would reunite numerous times in the ‘80s until permanently reforming in 1999, minus Tim Bogert.

Written by Lamont Dozier and brothers Brian and Eddie Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland), this song was originally recorded in 1966 by The Supremes for the Motown label. This band’s version of the song was recorded in 1967 and can be heard in two different versions. The first version, the single version, was released at a length just under three minutes and was the band’s first single. The other version, the album version heard below, appeared on the band’s debut album, Vanilla Fudge, in 1967, and came in at around seven minutes in length. The single reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100, five places shy of The Supremes' number one when they had first released it.

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Vanilla Fudge - You Keep Me Hangin' On (1967)

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Lyrics:

One, two, three, four

Set me free, why don’t ya babe?
Get out my life, why don’t ya babe?
You really don’t want me
You just keep me hangin’ on
You really don’t need me
You just keep me hangin’ on

Why do you keep comin’ around
Playing a’with my heart?
Why don’t ya get out of my life
And let me try to make a new start?
Let me get over you
The way you’ve gotten over me

Set me free, why don’t ya babe?
Get out my life, why don’t ya now?
You really don’t want me
You just keep me hangin’ on
You really don’t need me
You just keep me hangin’ on

You sayin’ that we broke up
That you just wanna be friends
But how can we still be friends
When seeing you only breaks my heart again?
There ain’t nothin’ I can do about it

Ya know I need love
(Set me free, why don’t ya babe?)
Talkin’ ‘bout love
(Get out my life, why don’t ya babe?)
You really don’t want me
You just keep me hangin’ on
You really don’t need me
You just keep me hangin’ on

Get out my life, why don’t ya babe?
Get out my life, why don’t ya babe?
Get out my life, why don’t ya babe?
Get out my life, why don’t ya babe?

(Come on to me!)

July 22, 2013

The New Christy Minstrels - Today (1964)

Formed in 1961 by Kansas native Randy Sparks, this American folk band was at the forefront of the folk revival movement taking place in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Sparks had initially been a solo performer in the 1950s before forming The Randy Sparks Trio with is wife Jackie Miller in 1960. Wanting a larger group, Sparks merged his outfit with The Inn Group, The Fairmount Singers, and four solo artists to create a fourteen-member lineup. They named themselves after Christy’s Minstrels, a blackface group of performers founded by Edwin Pearce Christy in 1843. The Fairmount Singers splintered apart from the rest of the band before recording their first album, and thus began the ever-changing lineup of members that has now included nearly three hundred total members. Although some members never got the opportunity to record or perform with the band, there were notable names to have been part of the group in varying degrees: Jim McGuinn and Gene Clarke (of The Byrds), Barry McGuire, Jerry Yester (of The Lovin’ Spoonful), Kenny Rogers and Mike Settle (of The First Edition), Larry Ramos (of The Association), and many others.

The band is notable for having never conformed to the “activist” folk music of the 1960s. Randy Sparks believed that folk music should bring about pleasant feelings and help people forget about their problems, not worry them. As the most popular folk music of the time was primarily politically driven, this band slowly lost their relevance as the sixties progressed.

This song was released on the band’s 1964 album, titled Today and Other Songs from ‘Advance to the Rear’. The album was initially intended to be a simple soundtrack to the 1964 film Advance to the Rear, but when the song heard below was released in the spring of 1964, it became so popular that they wanted to name their upcoming album after it. Not able to abandon their soundtrack association with the film, the album was given the aforementioned name. The film was notable for inspiring the television show F-Troop, and the album was notable for featuring this particular song, written and composed by The New Christy Minstrels’ (NCM’s) leader Randy Sparks.

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The New Christy Minstrels - Today (1964)

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Lyrics:

Today, while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘ere I forget all the joy that is mine today

I'll be a dandy and I'll be a rover
You'll know who I am by the song that I sing
I'll feast at your table, I'll sleep in your clover
Who cares what the ‘morrow shall bring?

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine

I can't be contented with yesterday's glory
I can't live on promises winter to spring
(Winter to spring)
Today is my moment and now is my story
I'll laugh and I'll cry and I'll sing

Today while the blossoms still cling to the vine
I'll taste your strawberries, I'll drink your sweet wine
A million tomorrows shall all pass away
‘ere I forget all the joy that is mine today

July 19, 2013

Pink Floyd - Pigs on the Wing (8-Track Version) (1977)

Pink Floyd’s tenth studio album, Animals, was recorded in London, 1976 at the band’s newly constructed recording studio, Britannia Row Studios. Akin to George Orwell’s Animal Farm, the album was a collection of songs named after animals satirizing different social classes in 1970s England. The categories people were lumped into included pigs, dogs, and sheep; or, those in power, those who do the bidding, and those who sit idly by, respectively. The album was also meant to steer in a slightly new direction for the band, as they had recently become the victim of many jokes in the newly thriving punk rock movement. Considered “dinosaur rock” by younger people, Pink Floyd wanted to create an album a little harsher sounding than their previous works. Having been certified four times platinum, the album was a huge success on both sides of the Atlantic.

Besides the animal-related songs which made up the majority of the album, Animals also began and ended with the front and back halves of a love song written by Roger Waters about his new wife, Carolyne Christie, the ex-wife of Grateful Dead manager Rock Scully. Christie had gained Waters affections by being one of the few, if not only, people who could win an argument with Waters. As it was arranged, royalties for the album were given to the songwriters based on the total number of songs written and not their total length. Since this “song” was split apart on the album as two completely separate tracks, it created a bigger piece of the royalty pie for their author, Roger Waters. This didn’t sit well with the band’s David Gilmour, who had contributed a seventeen minute song, “Dogs.” This, among other frictions during the recording of Animals, proved to be the starting point for the strife that would eventually split the band apart.

At one point during the recording of the album, Roger Waters and Nick Mason accidentally erased a guitar solo by David Gilmour, recorded as the link between “Pigs on the Wing (Part I)” and “Pigs on the Wing (Part II),” which was still being treated as one song. Thinking they needed to replace it, the band asked non-Pink Floyd-member Snowy White to record a replacement guitar solo. Ultimately, it was decided that the song would be split apart for the beginning and ending of the album, as it’s now known. Because of this separation, the guitar solo became superfluous, omitted, and never appeared on the final version of the vinyl release. However, for unknown reasons, the album’s 8-track release not only kept the songs together, appearing as the opening track, but also kept the guitar solo by Snowy White. Below, you will hear the alternate 8-track version of the songs, back to back as one, with the inclusion of Snowy White’s rare guitar solo.

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Pink Floyd - Pigs on the Wing (8-Track Version) (1977)

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Lyrics:

If you didn't care
What happened to me
And I didn't care
For you
We would zig zag our way
Through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain
Wondering which of the buggers to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing

You know that I care
What happens to you
And I know that you care
For me, too
So, I don't feel alone
Or the weight of the stone
Now that I've found somewhere safe
To bury my bone
And any fool knows a dog needs a home
A shelter from pigs on the wing

July 18, 2013

John Wonderling - Man of Straw (1968)

Johnny Wonderling was of French ancestry, born and raised in Queens, New York. In 1968, he wrote “Midway Down” (recorded and released by The Creation in April 1968) and released a version of the song in September 1968 on Loma Records, a sublabel of Warner Bros. His single was the last single to be released on Loma just before their absorption into the Warner Bros. Records label. Although “Midway Down” and its flip-side, heard below, were great songs, they weren’t promoted by the closing recording sublabel. Contributing to his own failure, Wonderling took an additional five years to record enough material to release a full-length album. By that time, 1973, his psychedelic music was antiquated and his album, Daybreaks, failed to make any impact on pop culture or the public. Wonderling remained in New York, living in Woodstock. In the late 2000s, he passed away in Paris, France while away on his honeymoon.

This song was the B-Side to Wonderling’s “Midway Down,” the last single to be released on Loma Records. It was written by John Wonderling, Carey Allane (real name Carey Budnick), and Ed Goldfluss. Released in September 1968, the song never charted.

Update (08-11-2015): Ed Goldfluss was kind enough to stop by and leave a correction of the lyrics in the comments. And who better to know than him? He also pointed out that he goes by "Ed," rather than "Eddie," which has been reflected in the narrative above. Thanks, Ed!

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John Wonderling - Man of Straw (1968)

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Lyrics:

When the scarecrow in the garden died
The jury decided it was suicide
And you cried

Standing in the pouring rain, drowning
So hard to wash away the blame born inside

A chorus of summer crows
Tells you that’s the way it goes
For a man made of straw
Ha ha ha!

Then the other corn refused to grow
The gardener- he really didn’t know or care
Just why

Standing there with hoe in hand
Wondering why he couldn’t understand
Poor guy

A nearby mantis, praying
Saying, “That’s the way it goes”
“For a man made of straw”
Ha ha ha!

And what’s more than love
Should care now that he's gone
And what’s more than love
Should care now that he's gone

When the scarecrow in the garden died
The jury decided it was suicide
And you cried

But the scarecrow in the garden tried
The only human thing he ever did
Was to die

A procession of professional mourners
Proclaiming, “That’s the way it goes”
“For a man made of straw”
Ha ha ha!

And what’s more than love
Should care now that he's gone
And what's more than enough
Sure to come now that he's gone

July 17, 2013

Lothar and the Hand People - What Grows on Your Head (1969)

First assembled in Denver, Colorado in 1965, this psychedelic and experimental band found their calling when they moved to New York together in 1966. Known for their strange space-like sound effects, the band created songs that transcended from folk and rock to psychedelic and experimental. They were known for their heavy use of a theremin, a synthesizer which seemed “futuristic” at the time and can be heard in The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations." They were so in love with the noises that the theremin created, they decided to name it and chose the name “Lothar.” Lead by their synthesizer, Lothar, the band referred to themselves as “the Hand People,” or the ones who had to use their hands to create music. In the band’s short existence, they were able to open for The Byrds, the Grateful Dead, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and Canned Heat. They even had a jam session with Jimi Hendrix.

The band released a total of two albums, 1968’s Presenting…Lothar & the Hand People and 1969’s follow-up, Space Hymn. The song below comes from the band’s second and last album, commenting on society’s outlook on hippies and people with long hair. It’s possible that they were inspired by the recently released “Hair” by The Cowsills, but with little information on the group available, one can’t be too sure what drove them to write this catchy song.

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Lothar and the Hand People - What Grows on Your Head (1969)

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Lyrics:

It doesn’t matter

Don’t wanna cut my hair
It’s gonna grow down to my knees
My teacher at school’s not there
My mom and my dad don’t care
Don’t know what it means to be free
With your long hair blowing in the breeze
Free

Well, me and the guys
We’re running away
To live in a cave
Alone with our hair

It gets in my mouth when I eat
I don’t like to walk the street
You know I can’t stand the heat
The people who laugh at me
They’re jealous because I’m free
With my long hair waiving to the trees
Free

Oh, one of these days
You’ll wake up and see
An army of guys
An army of hair

I don’t wanna cut my hair
It’s gonna grow down to my knees
My teacher at school’s not there
My mom and my dad don’t care
Don’t know what it means to be free
With your long hair blowing in the breeze
Free

Me and the guys
We’re running away
To live in a cave
Alone with our hair

Hair

July 16, 2013

The Dixie Cups - People Say (1964)

This singing trio was originally composed of the Hawkins sisters, Barbara Ann and Rosa Lee, as well as their cousin Joan Marie Johnson. Having sung together since elementary school, the trio was trying to make a name for themselves in their hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, performing as The Meltones. When they performed at a local talent show, they were discovered by Joe Jones, a singer who had recorded a few hits of his own. Impressed with the girls’ vocals, he brought them to New York and presented them to a pair of producers and songwriters, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Convinced that the act had star potential, a new label, Red Bird Records, was formed around the girls, attracting songwriters Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich.

Barry and Greenwich brought with them a song they had written with Phil Spector, titled “Chapel of Love.” Having been recorded but not released by The Ronettes and The Crystals, the girls of this trio recorded the song in early 1964 and released it to nationwide success. They were almost known as Little Miss and the Muffets, but they chose a group name that was more associated with their Southern roots. The song reached the number one spot in the charts, knocking off The Beatles’ “Love Me Do,” and thus becoming the first American act to reach number one amongst the British Invasion. “Chapel of Love” remained in the top spot for three weeks.

Determined to continue the success of “Chapel of Love,” the girls continued to release songs in 1964 and 1965, including the hit song heard below, “You Should Have Seen the Way He Looked At Me,” “Little Bell,” “Iko Iko,” and others. This particular track was backed with the B-Side “Girls Can Tell” and reached number twelve in 1964.

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The Dixie Cups - People Say (1964)

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Lyrics:

Don’t you ever leave me sad and blue
Don’t you ever tell me we are through
Don’t you ever hurt me; if you do
Everything they’re saying will be true

People say it’s just a summer romance
People say our love won’t last for long
They’re so sure we will part
But I know deep in my heart
That they are wrong
(I don’t care what the people say)
So wrong
(I don’t really care what the-)

People say it’s just the way the stars shine
And it really isn’t love at all
But each time that we kiss
I just know we’ll be like this
Summer, winter, and fall

(I don’t care what the people say)
(I don’t really care what the people say)

Well, don’t you ever leave me sad and blue
Don’t you ever tell me we are through
Don’t you ever hurt me; if you do
Everything they’re saying will be true

And people say it’s just a summer romance
But I know our love is here to stay
Let’s go strolling by the sea
‘cause it doesn’t bother me
What the people say

(I don’t care what the people say)
What the people say
(I don’t really care about the people)

(I don’t care what the people say)
What the people say
(I don’t really care about the people)
Yeah, yeah, yeah

(I don’t care what the people say)
What the people say
(I don’t really care about the people)
Yeah, yeah, yeah

(I don’t care what the people say)
What the people say
(I don’t really)…

July 15, 2013

Carolyn Hester - I'll Fly Away (1961)

Carolyn Hester was born on January 28th, 1937. In high school, she sang “The Kerry Dance” in a play and impressed her physical education teacher, who then introduced her to the female folk singer Susan Reed. Enthralled with folk music, she taught herself to play guitar and moved to New York in 1955 at the age of eighteen. She recorded her first album, Scarlet Ribbons, in 1957 for Coral Records and became associated with the first wave of the “folk revival” movement that included Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Tom Paxton, and many others. In 1961, she had the opportunity to join a folk trio which already included Peter Yarrow and Paul Stookey, but she declined. The pair eventually chose Mary Travers and the now-trio became the popular Peter, Paul, & Mary. When it came to solo female folk artists, Hester and Joan Baez were at the top. Although Baez may have had the more successful career, Hester has claimed that she and Joan never had a personal nor professional rivalry. According to her, they didn’t even know one another all that well. Although the reign of her popularity began to slow down as early as the mid-sixties, Carolyn Hester never stopped working. Even in recent years, Hester has been continuing to perform with her daughters, Amy and Karla Blume. Her most recent album, We Dream Forever, was released in 2010.

In 1961, Hester was getting ready to record her third album, later to be titled Carolyn Hester (on the Columbia label), and started accumulating musicians. From her first album, she brought the same guitarist, Bruce Langhorne. She also brought a noted bassist, Bill Lee, whose son Spike Lee would later become a famous filmmaker. Finally, Hester gave the harp position to an up and coming talent she had met, Bob Dylan. You’d think she’d have given Dylan the role of harmonica, but that spot was reserved for the person who had played harmonica for her on her first album, her father.

The song heard below is a hymn written in 1929 by Albert E. Brumley. Often heard at funerals, it is one of the most recorded gospel songs in history and was created with inspiration from a non-religious ballad. The version heard below was the opening track on Hester’s Carolyn Hester (Columbia) album, which featured 100% traditional songs such as this one. The harmonica on this track was played by Bob Dylan who during the sessions met John Hammond, the man who would eventually sign him to Columbia Records, starting his ascent to super-stardom. For indirectly arranging this meeting, Carolyn Hester has always received a lot of credit for bringing Dylan into the national spotlight.

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Carolyn Hester - I'll Fly Away (1961)

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Lyrics:

One bright morning when this world is over
I'll fly away
To that land on God’s celestial shore
I'll fly away
Fly Away

Oh, Lordy, I’ll fly away in the morning
I'll fly away
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away
Fly away

Just one more weary day and then
I’ll fly away
To that land where joy’s will never end
I’ll fly away
Fly away

Oh, Lordy, I’ll fly away in the morning
I'll fly away
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away
Fly away

One bright morning when my time is nigh
I'll fly away
Like a bird, o’er these prison walls, I’ll fly
I'll fly away
Fly Away

Oh, Lordy, I’ll fly away in the morning
I'll fly away
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away
Fly away

Oh, Lordy, I’ll fly away in the morning
I'll fly away
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by
I'll fly away
Fly away

July 12, 2013

The Five Day Week Straw People - Postman (1968)

This British band was composed of two session musicians, Mick Hawksworth and Jack Collins (born Jack McCulloch), and ex-member of The Attack John Du Cann for the sole purpose of recording a concept album written by David Montague and Guy Mascolo. Never expected to tour or last long, the three members were assembled in 1967 having never worked together. Collins, the drummer, showed up at the record session having never even heard any demos of the songs they were to record. That recording session, by the way, took place in a London classroom and lasted in total only four hours. It’s quite impressive what the trio was able to put together given their limitations. After finishing the album, the pseudo-bandmates decided to continue on as a hard rock band and named themselves Andromeda. Their one album as The Five Day Week Straw People was the only material ever released under that name, as they had ended the band the same year it started, 1967.

This song appeared as the fourth track on that album, which was self-titled and appeared on the tiny Saga label. As with the rest of the album, the song was written by David Montague and Guy Mascolo and featured a theme focusing on the daily life in London by the “straw people,” or, the working class. It featured lead vocals and lead guitar by John Du Cann, bass by Mick Hawksworth, and drums by Jack Collins. The album was recorded and finalized in 1967, but not released until 1968.

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The Five Day Week Straw People - Postman (1968)

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Lyrics:

I hope the postman brings a letter to me
I hope the postman brings a letter from Marie

Even though she’s far away
In my heart, she’ll always stay
I hope the postman brings a letter to me

Every day, every day, so patiently
Every day a letter from Marie

Even though she’s far away
In my heart, she’ll always stay
I hope the postman brings a letter to me

Even though she’s far away
In my heart, she’ll always stay
I hope the postman brings a letter to me

Oh, oh, postman
Please fetch me a letter

Oh, please postman
Don’t you forget her

And just because she’s far away
Want to hear from her every day
I hope the postman brings a letter to me

July 11, 2013

Del Shannon - Runaway (1961)

Born Charles Weedon Westover on December 30, 1934, this Michigan native began his musical talents by playing the ukulele at a young age. Influenced by country and western artists such as Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, Westover joined a band called The Cool Flames in Germany, after having been drafted into the Army in 1954. Upon his discharge, Westover returned to Michigan and began work as a truck driver and salesman while part-timing in band called the Moonlight Ramblers. By 1958, the band’s frontman had parted ways and Westover and taken his spot. He renamed the band The Big Little Show Band and began calling himself Charlie Johnson. In July 1960, Westover (Charlie Johnson) and fellow bandmate Max Crook were signed by Bigtop Records and persuaded to change their stage names. Westover combined the names of Shannon Kavanagh and the Cadillac Coupe de Ville, his favorite car, and became Del Shannon. Max Crook renamed himself Maximilian. Relocating to New York City, Del Shannon soon recorded his signature song, heard below, and reached the top of the charts around the world. He followed up his break-out hit with a bunch of less-successful singles until fading out of the spotlight almost entirely. By 1970, Shannon’s lack of success was numbed by a heavy dependency on alcohol. It wasn’t until the mid-'70s that he put down the bottle and began working with artists such as Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne. Although his 1981 release “Sea of Love” didn’t reach the same level of success as he had experienced in the past, it reached a respectable number thirty-three on the US charts. In 1988, Roy Orbison of The Traveling Wilburys passed away. It was rumored at the time that Shannon was going to be brought into the group as his replacement, having previously worked with its members, Petty and Lynne. For unknown reasons, it never happened. Sadly, in 1990, at the age of fifty-five, Del Shannon took his own life with a rifle at his home in Santa Clarita, California. In tribute, The Traveling Wilburys recorded their own version of the song heard below.

When arriving in New York City, Del Shannon’s first attempt at recording a hit was unsuccessful. At the suggestion of DJ Ollie McLaughlin, the duo rewrote and re-recorded one of their earlier songs, heard here, first known as “Little Runaway.” The song features a Musitron, an early example of a synthesizer created entirely by Crook. Upon its release in February 1961, the song was an instant hit. Shannon appearing on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand on April 10 of the same year boosted the song into the national spotlight and brought it straight to number one. It also reached number one in the UK and Australia. Besides being covered by The Traveling Wilburys (in 1990) and Elvis (in 1969), the song was also mentioned in Tom Petty’s famous tune “Runnin’ Down a Dream” in 1989.

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Del Shannon - Runaway (1961)

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Lyrics:

As I walk along, I wonder
What went wrong with our love
A love that was so strong

And as I still walk on, I think of
The things we've done together
While our hearts were young

I'm walkin' in the rain
Tears are fallin' and I feel the pain
Wishin' you were here by me
To end this misery

And I wonder
I wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder
Why
Why, why, why, why, why
She ran away
And I wonder
Where she will stay
My little runaway
Run, run, run, run, runaway

I'm walkin' in the rain
Tears are fallin' and I feel the pain
Wishin' you were here by me
To end this misery

And I wonder
I wah-wah-wah-wah-wonder
Why
Why, why, why, why, why
She ran away
And I wonder
Where she will stay
My little runaway
Run, run, run, run, runaway
Run, run, run, run, runaway
Run, run, run, run, runaway…

July 10, 2013

Bohemian Vendetta - Enough (1968)

Initially known as The Bohemians when it was formed in Long Island, New York in 1966, this band was composed of Nick Manzi, Chuck Monica, Randy Pollock, Brian Cooke, and Victor Muglia. They released one self-titled album on Mainstream Records in 1968 which sold very poorly. Nick Manzi, Brian Cooke, and Victor Muglia backed the artist Faine Jade on his 1968 album, Introspection, but it’s unclear whether that backing role occurred before or after their band’s own album. Some accounts claim that the only reason Bohemian Vendetta was able to record their own album was because they had proved themselves as musicians by backing Jade. Others claim that the band took the role of backing Jade after their own album sold poorly.

Appearing on their only album, this song accompanies other originals as well as a few cover songs, including “The House of the Rising Sun” and “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.” If you like this track, check out “Irresistible,” “Half the Time,” and “Images.”

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Bohemian Vendetta - Enough (1968)

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Lyrics:

Oh, standin’ here beside myself
Wonderin’ what to do
I’m tired of starin’ at empty walls
Thinkin’ only of you

But what do you care now, baby
What happens to me?
You live in your own world, baby
As blind as can be

(Enough)
I’ve had it up to here
(Enough)
Can true love disappear?
(Enough)
I’m sick of all your lies
(Enough)
There’s love-light in your eyes

Lonely days and lonely nights
Draw me closer to frustration
I can’t accept my state of mind
You wreck my imagination

I trusted you so much, baby
What good did it do?
The secret is out now, baby
And the blame is on you

(Enough)
I’ve had it up to here
(Enough)
Can true love disappear?
(Enough)
I’m sick of all your lies
(Enough)
There’s love-light in your eyes

(Enough)
I’ve had it up to here
(Enough)
Can true love disappear?
(Enough)
I’m sick of all your lies
(Enough)
There’s love-light in your eyes

(Enough)
I’ve had it up to here
(Enough)
Can true love disappear?
(Enough)
I’m sick of all your lies
(Enough)
There’s love-light in your eyes

(Enough)
Oh, I’ve had it up to here, yeah yeah
(Enough)
Can true love disappear?
(Enough)
I’m sick of all your lies
(Enough)
There’s love-light in your eyes…

July 09, 2013

The Mystic Moods Orchestra - Maria Elena (1967)

Brad Miller’s passion in life was recording sounds as accurately as possible. In the 1950s, he recorded some of the USA’s last steam locomotives, as well as thunderstorms, crowds of people, and other various sounds he thought were unique or pleasant. In an effort to sell his work, Miller created Mobile Fidelity and experienced a moderate level of success. One night, in the mid-‘60s, a disc-jockey in the San Francisco, California area took one of Miller’s recordings and thought it would be interesting to play it on top of some easy listening music. Listeners loved it. The DJ told Miller about his discovery, and soon, Miller was working with musical arranger and composer Don Ralke to create their own version of the DJ’s idea. What resulted was the first Mystic Moods Orchestra album, One Stormy Night, in 1965. Usually, original music tracks such as the ones on One Stormy Night continued throughout the ‘60s until the orchestra moved to the Warner Bros. label in the ‘70s. Then, rather than original music, the sounds of nature and people were generally put over contemporary pop instrumentals. Around this same time, the albums began to feature erotic pictures of couples on the cover, marketing them to adults as “mood music.” Unfortunately for Miller, the societal switch from vinyl albums to CDs didn’t work out in his favor. Miller himself passed away in 1998 and his business, which had been struggling for years, collapsed the following year.

This track comes from the Mystic Moods Orchestra’s fourth album, titled Mexican Trip. Released in 1967, each song on the album was laid on top of sounds of the ocean, children playing, trains, people cheering, etc. in the usual Mystic Mood fashion. This song in particular appears as the album’s seventh track. The original song was written in 1932 by Lorenzo Barcelata, who dedicated the song to the wife of Mexican President Emilio Portes Gil, María Elena. Although the song had accompanying words available in both Spanish and English, this particular version replaced the words with sounds of the ocean.

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The Mystic Moods Orchestra - Maria Elena (1967)

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Lyrics:

(instrumental)

July 08, 2013

Crispian St. Peters - The Pied Piper (1966)

Born Robin Peter Smith on April 5, 1939 in Kent, England, this singer and songwriter quit school at the age of fifteen to become an assistant cinema projectionist. Around England, he was a member of various bands including The Hard Travellers, The Country Gentlemen, Beat Formula Three, and Peter & The Wolves. Although his first live performance came through The Hard Travellers in 1956, it wasn’t until Peter & The Wolves in 1964 that he laid down his first recorded track. Soon after, Smith’s manager convinced him to go solo and got him signed with Decca in 1965. He also convinced him to change his stage name and year of birth. First going by Crispin Blacke, he ultimately settled on Crispian St. Peters and the phony birth year of 1944 to appeal to younger audiences. St. Peters’ first two singles with Decca were duds, but he found success in 1966 with the Sylvia Tyson-penned song “You Were on My Mind,” which was originally recorded by Ian & Sylvia when it was written in 1964. After the song reached number two in the UK and his fourth single, heard below, also became a hit, St. Peters indirectly ruined his own career. When asked about his skills as a songwriter, St. Peters gave a tongue-in-cheek answer claiming to be better than Dave Berry, Tom Jones, Elvis Presley, and The Beatles. Unfortunately for St. Peters, the joke didn’t translate well on paper and he received harsh criticisms from fans and music journalists alike. Although he would chart once more in 1966 with a cover of Phil Ochs’ “Changes,” St. Peters’ career waned and he became more remembered for his “outrageous claims” than his music. After being dropped from Decca in 1970, St. Peters carried his musical career onward by writing and arranging for other artists, while also releasing less successful music on smaller labels. He passed away on June 8, 2010 at the age of seventy-one.

This song was co-written and first recorded in 1965 by Steve Duboff and the promoter of 1969’s Woodstock Festival, Artie Kornfeld. Today’s featured artist recorded the song and released it in the summer of 1966, reaching number five in the UK, four in the US, and one in Canada. The popularity of the song in the United States brought attention to St. Peters’ earlier work, resulting in “You Were on My Mind” being re-released and reaching number thirty-six in 1967.

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Crispian St. Peters - The Pied Piper (1966)

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Lyrics:

You, with your masquerading
And you, always contemplating
What to do
In case heaven has found you
Can’t you see that it’s all around you?
So follow me

Hey, come on, babe
Follow me
I’m the Pied Piper
Follow me
I’m the Pied Piper
And I’ll show you where it’s at

Come on, babe
Can’t you see?
I’m the Pied Piper
Trust in me
I’m the Pied Piper
And I’ll show you where it’s at

Girl, don’t be scared to move
Hey babe, what are you tryin’ to prove?
It ain’t true
That your life has kicked you
It’s your mind
And that’s all that’s trickin’ you
So step in line

Hey, come on, babe
Follow me
I’m the Pied Piper
Follow me
I’m the Pied Piper
And I’ll show you where it’s at

Come on, babe
Can’t you see?
I’m the Pied Piper
Trust in me
I’m the Pied Piper
And I’ll show you where it’s at

Hey, come on, babe
Follow me
I’m the Pied Piper
Follow me
I’m the Pied Piper
And I’ll show you where it’s at

Come on, babe
Can’t you see?
I’m the Pied Piper
Trust in me
I’m the Pied Piper
And I’ll show you where it’s at

Come on, babe
Follow me
Come on, babe
Trust in me
Come on, babe
Can’t you see?
Come on, babe
Follow me
I’m the Pied Piper

July 05, 2013

Van Dyke Parks - The Attic (1968)

Born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on January 3, 1943, Van Dyke Parks began his career as a child actor starring in movies and television shows alongside the likes of Grace Kelly, Ezio Pinza, Chet Allen, and Jackie Gleason. After dropping out of college, Parks moved around the country, from Los Angeles to New England, joining and forming folk groups along the way. With his brother Carson Parks in L.A., he formed The Steeltown Two, which later became The Steeltown Three, and eventually The Greenwood County Singers. In New England, he joined up with an outfit called The Brandywine Singers. By 1964, Parks was signed to MGM Records and released a couple of failed singles produced by the famed Tom Wilson. By 1965, Parks had made a name for himself as an accomplished session musician, as well as befriending other talents such as Randy Newman, Harry Nilsson, Brian Wilson, and Terry Melcher. In fact, Parks became such an accomplished songwriter and musician, he was asked by David Crosby to join The Byrds and, later, to join Crosby, Stills & Nash. Parks declined both offers. He did notably once perform on stage with Frank Zappa’s Mother of Invention, but parted ways with the group because he didn’t enjoy being “screamed at” while on stage. By February 1966, Parks friendship with Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys became deep enough to where Parks was invited to write songs with Brian for his upcoming project, Smile, the ill-fated sequel to Pet Sounds. Unfortunately, creative differences between Parks and Mike Love of The Beach Boys put a rift in the album. This combined with Parks’ disapproval of Brian Wilson’s severe drug use during the sessions led Parks to abandon the unfinished project. Wilson, whose mental health had been deteriorating, soon abandoned the project as well, and the album was shelved for over three decades.

Wanting to continue in the same direction he felt he was moving, Parks decided to record a solo album. The result was the January 1968 release of his first solo work, Song Cycle. Warner Bros. Records was so astonished at the poor sales of what they considered a masterpiece that they took out full page ads in newspapers and magazines stating that they (Warner Bros.) “lost $35,509 on ‘the album of the year’.” The advertisement went on to say that the few people who purchased the record must have worn it out by now from playing it so much. They made the offer that if anyone mailed in a copy of their worn out record, they would receive two back in the mail so that they could educate a friend. Parks didn’t approve of the tactic, but nevertheless it did not increase sales. The song heard below is one of the highlights of Parks’ Song Cycle album, which has gathered a bit of a cult following over the years.

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Van Dyke Parks - The Attic (1968)

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Lyrics:

I was there
Upon a four poster there
Mind tousled I came to bear
Some thoughts from the past
Amid a dash of influenza

And then I came to see
In baggage the memories
Of truncated souvenirs
The war years
High moon
I said high moon
Lighted high moon
Eye to my moon

Far beyond
The blue mist enveloped lawn
The blanketed night comes on
The champagne is dead and gone
And the forest around
Sensitive sound
Forest primeval

Through the panes
Cloud buttermilk war remains
And twisted cross war refrains
Lunatic so high moon
I said high moon
Lighted high moon
Eye to my moon

Your age will most probably carry away
The letters enveloped in carrion
Vague unpleasantries of the war
May your son's progenitorship of the state
Haphazardly help him to carry on
God send your son safe home to you

High moon
Your eye to my moon

Very high moon
Very high moon
Very high moon…

July 03, 2013

The Moods - Rum Drunk (1966)

Not to be confused with bands in Texas or New York of the same name, this band came from Melbourne, Australia. They released at least two singles (four songs), but I am only familiar with their second release, featuring the song heard below and backed with the B-Side “Say Hello to Me.” The band members were in their mid-teens and consisted of Kevin Fraser (lead vocals), John Livi (lead guitar & songwriting), Peter Noss (bass), Mick Hamilton (rhythm guitar) and Carl Savona (drums).

This song, written by John Livi, was released on the band’s second single as the A-Side. What’s interesting is that the entire song revolves around the idea of using rum to soothe the singers woes. Livi, the song’s author, was only fifteen years old when he wrote it.

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The Moods - Rum Drunk (1966)

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Lyrics:

I’m a boy
Lord, I’m good
I’ve got no one
No one ‘cept you

I was brought up
Brought up in the slums
Now I’ve come back
With nothin’ but rum

Got no money to pay my rent
Haven’t got one whole cent
My only hope is to get on the run
And bring with me my little bottle of rum

Alone, the people pass me by
But when they say I’m no good, it’s no lie
And though I might just lay down
And say I want to die
My precious little bottle of rum
Never passes me by

I’m a boy
Who’s down on my luck
Had a girl
For one whole month
My only hope is to get on the run
And bring with me my little bottle of rum

Alone, the people pass me by
And when they say I’m no good, it’s no lie
And though I might just lay down
And say I want to die
My precious little bottle of rum
Never passes me by

I’m a boy
Who’s down on my luck
Had a girl
For one whole month
My only hope is to get on the run
And bring with me my little bottle of rum

July 02, 2013

Nick Drake - Which Will (1972)

Nick Drake was born June 19, 1948 in Rangoon, Burma, but was raised and lived in Berkshire, England. His mother taught him to play piano and write songs, ultimately influencing his style and voice. As for schooling, Drake attended the same school in Wiltshire, England which his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all attended. While enrolled, Drake ran track and set a school record for the 100-yard dash, a record that stood for decades before being broken. He went entirely unnoticed by others, with old classmates often claiming they knew very little about him. Around 1964 or 1965, he started a band known as The Perfumed Gardeners. By 1967, Drake was continuing his education in France, traveling to Morocco with friends in his free time to indulge in marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs. Eventually, Drake enrolled at Cambridge University, but had more interest in drugs and music than in making friends or his academics. He began performing songs locally at coffee houses and clubs, but failed to impress his audience, whom he never interacted or made eye contact with. Luckily for Drake, he was discovered by Ashley Hutchings (of Fairport Convention) who thought there was a talent in Drake. This connection led to Drake landing a record deal.

In 1968, as a professional twenty year old singer-songwriter, Drake thought he had found his big break and dropped out of Cambridge nine months before graduation. From 1969 until 1972, he put out three albums. The first album, Five Leaves Left, was a collection of baroque folk that failed to sell well; so, in an effort to “go mainstream,” Drake’s second album, Bryter Layter, featured more instrumentation and pop production. Unfortunately, this album, too, sold less than a few thousand copies and Drake became even more withdrawn from those around him. Drake decided to record his third album entirely by himself with just his acoustic guitar, sans one piano overdub. Drake's record company didn't even know about the album, titled Pink Moon, until it had already been recorded. Unfortunately, the album sold worse than his first two and Drake, further depressed with his lack of success, quit the music business.

In the years to come, Drake was described by family and friends as extremely distant. He had been visiting a psychiatrist, would disappear for days at a time, had difficulty sleeping, and suffered a mental breakdown, hospitalizing him for five weeks. Finally, in November 1974, Nick Drake’s mother found her son in his bed, next to a bottle of antidepressants, dead. As cruel fate would have it, Drake's work eventually reached the popularity he sought in the 1980s, posthumously. He was cited as a major influence to members of R.E.M. and The Cure, with the latter having chosen their band name from one of Drake’s song’s lyrics. All three of Drake’s albums are now on Rolling Stone magazine’s “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list.

Written and composed by Nick Drake, this song was included on Drake’s last album, Pink Moon. With the exception of the title song which featured some piano work by Drake, the entire album was composed entirely of Nick Drake’s voice and acoustic guitar playing. The album was recorded in two separate two-hour sessions, each at midnight, in October 1971. The album itself was released in February 1972 and has been described as Nick Drake’s purest work.

album art

Nick Drake - Which Will (1972)

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Lyrics:

Which will you go for?
Which will you love?
Which will you choose from-
From the stars above?
Which will you answer?
Which will you call?
Which will you take for-
For your one and all?
And tell me now
Which will you love the best?

Which do you dance for?
Which makes you shine?
Which will you choose now
If you won't choose mine?
Which will you hope for?
Which can it be?
Which will you take now
If you won't take me?
And tell me now
Which will you love the best?

July 01, 2013

The Morning Glories - Love-In (1967)

Based on the west coast of the USA, this band only ever released one single, or, two songs. They featured Jimmy Griffin, Robb Royer, who were also the band’s songwriters, and other unknown musicians. Although the music released by the band was heavy in the sunshine pop-genre, it was unfortunately very short-lived. Having lasted only around one year, the group split when Griffin and Royer brought their musicianship and songwriting talents to their next joint band, Bread. Uniting with David Gates in 1968 to form the band Bread, Griffin and Royer would go on to reach great success as a “soft rock” outfit in the ‘70s. Although Bread came and went, Royer and Griffin continued to write songs together until 2005, when Jimmy Griffin passed away.

This song has writing credits attributed to Jimmy Griffin, “TS Farthingsworth XIV,” and “le Blanc.” Although there is no way to verify that Farthingsworth or le Blanc are pseudonyms, the ridiculousness of at least “Farthingsworth” seems that they would be. Given that Griffin and Royer usually wrote songs together, it raises the question if Royer felt the need to hide behind a pseudonym for the writing credits of this song. Perhaps le Blanc was another member of the band?

In any case, the song was released in 1967 and featured the B-Side “You’re So Young.” It never charted, but it did find new life when released on the 2004 compilation album Come to the Sunshine: Pop Nuggets from the WEA Vaults.

Update 01/22/2015: John Linquist, in the comments, informed us that the "TS Farthingsworth XIV" was actually "T.X. Farthingsworth XIV," and a pseudonym for Robb Royer. Also, the "le Blanc" was Eddie LeBlanc, who would go on to become an author under the name Tim Hallinan. For more, see John's comment below this post.

album art

The Morning Glories - Love-In (1967)

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Lyrics:

Come along with me
And you’ll see
Such a fine display
Of paisley fantasy
Just like Piccadilly Square

Try to find your shades
Weave your braids
Paint a flower on ya
Come along with me
And we’ll go directly there

Just before we go
You should know
What’s expected of you
Lying on the grass
We can talk to the trees

Mellow-yellow dreams
Make it seem
Like a carousel
Revolving slowly
Let me show you
If you go

I’ll take you to the love-in
We’ll happen at the love-in
At the love-in

Let me show you
It’ll blow you
If you go
I’ll take you to the-

Sitting in the weeds
Wearing beads
Pass the pipe around
And share it with your friends
Who were strangers before

If I had my way
Every day
It would be just like the love-in

Sitting in the weeds
Wearing beads
Pass the pipe around
And share it with your friends
Who were strangers before

If I had my way
Every day
It would be just like the love-in

Love-in
(Loving you)
Love-in
(Loving you)

Love-in
Let me take you to the love-in
We’ll happen at the love-in

Love-in
Let me take you to the love-in
We’ll happen at the love-in…