A Bit Like You And Me Radio

August 30, 2013

Country Joe McDonald - The 'Fish' Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag [Live] (1969)

Note: This is our first post to feature “obscene” language. Read and listen at your own judgment.

Country Joe McDonald, born Joseph Allen McDonald on January 1st, 1942, had been named “Joseph” by his parents after the Soviet Union’s then-leader, Joseph Stalin. McDonalds parents had been devout communists in their youth, but renounced their beliefs later in life. In 1965, McDonald and his friend Barry Melton began writing and performing songs that protested the Vietnam War. They began to call themselves “Country Joe and the Fish.” “Country Joe” was a reference to Joseph Stalin’s colloquial nickname, whereas “the fish” was taken from a statement made by Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, who stated that a true revolutionary “moves through the peasantry as the fish does through water.” Although their group would see the addition and subtraction of different members over the years, McDonald and Melton were always at its core.

Country Joe and the Fish were at Woodstock during the festival of 1969, but were not scheduled to play until the festival’s third day. As you may remember from our previous post, on the very first day of the festival, the very first act was Ritchie Havens. Havens had gone out on stage because Sweetwater, who had been scheduled first, were bickering amongst themselves and couldn’t make it to the stage on time. When Havens had finished his set, Sweetwater still wasn’t ready to hit the stage. Looking for someone to fill up the time between acts, the organizers of Woodstock located Country Joe wandering around near the stage. Even though he wasn’t with his band, they asked him to perform solo to entertain the audience. Country Joe, terrified of the enormous crowd, made up an excuse that he couldn’t play because he didn’t have a guitar with him. They found a Yamaha acoustic guitar lying around and gave it to him. He persisted that he couldn’t play because he didn’t have a strap for the guitar. They tied a rope to it and pushed him on stage. Joe was left without a choice and performed nine songs, all by himself, on a guitar that wasn’t his.

(It should be noted that accounts of what day Country Joe played solo vary. Country Joe himself claims the above to be true, but other historians claim he played solo on Day 2 of Woodstock and not Day 1. Without any official documentation regarding scheduling as it actually happened, we may never know the unopposed truth.)

The ninth and final song of Country Joe’s solo set is heard below. It’s opened, as it usually was, with a variation of “The ‘Fish’ Cheer.” Written by Country Joe, the original version of this song appeared on Country Joe and the Fish’s second album, I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die from 1967. Although the sarcastic and critical anti-Vietnam lyrics prevented the song from being heard on the radio, the song was very popular amongst the masses of anti-Vietnam youths. In this live Woodstock version of the song, it’s opened with “The ‘Fuck’ Cheer,” a call-and-response interaction with the audience, which had evolved from “The ‘Fish’ Cheer.” Asking the audience to call out letters and then what they spelled, “The ‘Fish’ Cheer” evolved to “The ‘Fuck’ Cheer” after a student demonstration at the University of California, Berkeley (in 1964/1965) successfully fought for the students’ right to use free speech. Country Joe and the Fish often used this cheer to highlight their right to free speech, but were also often fined by venues and cities for its use.

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Country Joe McDonald - The 'Fish' Cheer / I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag [Live] (1969)

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Lyrics:

Give me an “F”!
(“F”!)
Give me a “U”!
(“U”!)
Give me a “C”!
(“C”!)
Give me a “K”!
(“K”!)
What’s that spell?
(“Fuck”!)
What’s that spell?
(“Fuck”!)
What’s that spell?
(“Fuck”!)
What’s that spell?
(“Fuck”!)
What’s that spell?
(“Fuck”!)


Well, come on all of you big, strong men
Uncle Sam needs your help again
He got himself in a terrible jam
Way down yonder in Vietnam
Put down your books and pick up a gun
We're gonna have a whole lot of fun

And it’s one, two, three
What are we fightin’ for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
The next stop is Vietnam
And it’s five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates
Well, there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We're all gonna die

Now, come on Wall Street, don't be slow
Why, man, this is War A-Go-Go
There’s plenty good money to be made
Supplyin' the army with the tools of the trade
Just hope and pray that when they drop the bomb
They drop it on the Viet Cong

And it’s one, two, three
What are we fightin’ for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
The next stop is Vietnam
And it’s five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates
Well, there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We're all gonna die

Now, come on generals, let’s move fast
Your big chance is here at last
Night you go out and get those reds
‘cause the only good Commie is one that’s dead
You know that peace can only be won
When you blow ‘em all to Kingdom come

Sing it!

One, two, three
What are we fightin’ for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
Louder!
(The next stop is) Vietnam
And it’s five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates
Well, there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We're all gonna die

Listen, people. I don’t know how you expect to ever stop the war if you can’t sing any better than that. There’s about 300,000 of you fuckers out there. I want you to start singing! Come on!

And it’s one, two, three
What are we fightin’ for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
The next stop is Vietnam
And it’s five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates
Well, there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We're all gonna die

Now, come on mothers throughout the land
Pack your boys off to Vietnam
Come on fathers, don't hesitate
Send your sons off before it’s too late
Be the first one on your block
To have your boy come home in a box

Alright!

And it’s one, two, three
What are we fightin’ for?
Don't ask me, I don't give a damn
The next stop is Vietnam
And it’s five, six, seven
Open up the pearly gates
Well, there ain’t no time to wonder why
Whoopee! We're all gonna die

Alright!

August 29, 2013

The Magic Mixture - It's Alright By Me (1968)

This band, originally called Maton’s Magic Mixture, was formed in 1968 in London. It was composed of Jim “Terry” Thomas, Stan Curtis, Melvyn Hacker, and Jack Collins (“Jack McCulloch”). Hacker had gotten Thomas into music, and they’re probably the co-founders of this particular band. The band was offered to make their first record on the low-budget label Saga Records in 1968. Although they accepted, they were disappointed to find out that they had signed all of their rights away to the music the moment they got paid for it. And they were only paid one hundred fifty pounds each. The album, titled This is the Magic Mixture, would be the group’s first and last album. They played a few live shows, but when their lead singer Jim Thomas quit, the band folded behind him.

Jim Thomas would soon start calling himself Terry Thomas and create the British rock band Charlie in 1971, as well as produce and write songs for Bad Company and Foreigner in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. Jack Collins would go on to perform with The Five Day Week Straw People, which eventually evolved into Andromeda.

This song, the opening track to the second side of This is the Magic Mixture, was written by band member Jim Thomas (as were all of the other songs on the album). Unfortunately, because Saga Records decided against putting any money behind producing the album, this song and all the others slipped into instant obscurity. It took years before the album was ever released in the United States, but failed to make an impact there, as well.

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The Magic Mixture - It's Alright By Me (1968)

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Lyrics:

You say you seek the brightness of another kind of life
You must leave the drabness behind
‘cause life is so boring; it’s tiring and dull
And there’s so much more you must find

Well that’s alright by me
Yes, it’s alright by me
You know it’s alright by me

You seek the colors of the rainbow
And the pastel shades of night
And you’re troubled to define just this
You want to let the grass caress you
As the night wind sweeps along
Then to feel the cool ray’s kiss

Well that’s alright by me
Yes, it’s alright by me
Oh, it’s alright by me

Can you imagine life with no pain?
A barring existence
A sun with no rain

Well that’s alright by me
Yes, it’s alright by me
Yes, it’s alright by me

Can you imagine life with no pain?
A barring existence
A sun with no rain

So, go if you want to and leave all behind
Your friends, your home, and yourself
But don’t forget reality is always on your side
And to come back when you find yourself

Well it’s alright by me
Yes, it’s alright by me
Oh, it’s alright by me

August 23, 2013

Chamaeleon Church - Spring This Year (1968)

When the Boston-based band called the Lost broke up in 1967, their singer/guitarist Ted Myers met Tony Schueren through some friends he had in the Ultimate Spinach band. Beginning to work together, they recruited another ex-Lost member, Kyle Garrahan, to play bass. Myers, who was still under contract to a New York City producer named Alan Lorber, met Chevy Chase while recording in New York. Chase was added to the band’s lineup as their drummer, and Alan Lorber agreed to produce them. They called themselves Chamaeleon Church (sometimes spelled Chamæleon Church) and would on release one album, self-titled, on the MGM label. The band was short-lived, however, and they broke up in 1969, having never made any sort of commercial success. The band’s biggest association with fame would be that their drummer, Chevy Chase, would go on to be an international star as an actor, comedian, and original cast member of Saturday Night Live.

Released on the band’s only album, Chamaeleon Church, in 1968, this song was written by the band’s Ted Myers. It’s the only track on the album where you can hear Chevy Chase’s voice. Chase is heard in the background, emulating the voice of a circus barker.

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Chamaeleon Church - Spring This Year (1968)

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Lyrics:

Spring this year
Has put my dreams behind me
Nothing to know now
And no place to go now

Like a fool
I let my pride overrule me
Windows I sit by and
Watch the spring slip by now

When you’re looking for something
That you know has no meaning
And you don’t want to find it
‘cause it might bring you down
So you go in a circle
With no end or beginning
If you’re seeking perfection
It’s the wrong way around

Spring this year
Is filled with false guarantees here
Flowers may sprout now
But I’m still left out now

Spring, I fear
Has made me look kind of foolish
Just goes to show me
How terribly lonely I am

When you’re looking for something
That you know has no meaning
And you don’t want to find it
‘cause it might bring you down
So you go in a circle
With no end or beginning
If you’re seeking perfection
It’s the wrong way around

Spring is here
But I can hardly feel it
I see the sunlight
But my heart is air-tight

I could spend the days out somewhere tripping
But why look for love when it will just hang me out again?

August 22, 2013

Boyce and Hart - I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight (1968)

In the late '50s, Tommy Boyce (born Sidney Thomas Boyce, 1939) was rejected numerous times when trying to start a career as a singer in Los Angeles. Thinking he maybe ought to focus his talents elsewhere, he took the advice of his father and decided to focus on his songwriting. He wrote a song called “Be My Guest” and waited in a hotel for six hours waiting to give it to the man staying there, Fats Domino. He was able to persuade Domino to promise to give the song a listen, and Domino liked it enough to record it in October 1959. With his foot in the door, Boyce eventually met Bobby Hart (born Robert Luke Harshman, 1939) in 1959. The duo began writing songs together and finally got their break in 1964, writing “Lazy Elsie Molly” for Chubby Checker. Developing a bit of a reputation, the duo would go on to write successful songs for Jay and the Americans (“Come a Little Bit Closer”), Paul Revere and the Raiders (“(I’m Not Your) Steppin’ Stone”), The Leaves (“Words”), and The Monkees (“(Theme from) The Monkees,” “Last Train to Clarksville,” and many others).

The duo was responsible for most of The Monkees’ earliest songs, often being the musicians heard playing on their earliest albums. While Boyce and Hart were using studio time to create Monkees songs, they were also working on songs to build their own career. The song heard below was written by Boyce and Hart, produced by Boyce and Hart, and featured vocals from both of them. It was recorded in 1968, released as a single, and was later featured on the duo’s second album, I Wonder What She’s Doing Tonite?. The song reached number seven on the Cash Box charts and number eight on the Billboard Hot 100. It was by no means the most popular song they wrote, but it was the most popular song they released under their own name.

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Boyce and Hart - I Wonder What She's Doing Tonight (1968)

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Lyrics:

If I had told her that I loved her
She would have stayed ‘til who knows when
But I guess she couldn't understand it
When I said, “I want to be your friend”
Because a friend would never doubt you
Or ever put you uptight
And now I wonder
What she's doing tonight

Oh yes, I wonder
What she's doing tonight
Oh, I wonder what she's doing tonight

We were so close, but we should've been closer
And it's making me feel so sad
But I tell myself I didn't lose her
Because you can't lose a friend you never had
(Come on now)
Because a friend won't say it's over
And go out just for spite
And now I wonder
What she's doing tonight

Oh yes, I wonder
What she's doing tonight
Oh, I wonder what she's doing tonight

(Alright, Bobby, let's go)

Because a friend will always be there
If you're wrong or if you're right
And now I wonder
What she's doing tonight

Oh yes, I wonder
What she's doing tonight
Oh, I wonder what she's doing tonight

Tonight
Tonight

August 21, 2013

The Lovin' Spoonful - Younger Generation (1967)

For the story of the birth of this band (and an exclusive story from icon John Sebastian), you’ll want to check out our previous post to feature The Lovin' Spoonful.

After numerous successful albums and popularity, 1967 saw a shift in the lineup of The Lovin’ Spoonful. The group’s lead guitarist and co-founder Zal Yanovsky had been arrested on a marijuana-related drug charges. Having been born in Canada and now living in the United States, Yanovsky was forced to either give up his drug dealer’s name or face deportation. After Yanovsky rolled over on his drug dealer to save his own skin, he was ostracized by the local San Francisco music community. Ironically, this led him to choose quitting The Lovin’ Spoonful and moving back to Canada.

The song heard below comes from the band’s sixth album, Everything Playing, which was the band’s first album without Yanovsky. Yanovsky’s permanent replacement was Jerry Yester, formerly of the Modern Folk Quartet. The album would also be the last to feature John Sebastian, as the following year Sebastian would part ways to forge his own solo career. As with most of the songs on the album, the song below was written by John Sebastian. It was definitely one of the highlights on Everything Playing.

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The Lovin' Spoonful - Younger Generation (1967)

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Lyrics:

Why must every generation think their folks are square?
And no matter where their heads are, they know moms ain’t there
‘cause I swore when I was small that I’d remember when
I knew what’s wrong with them that I was smaller than

Determined to remember all the cardinal rules
Like sun showers are legal grounds for cutting school
I know I have forgotten maybe one or two
And I hope that I recall them all before the baby’s due
And I know he’ll have a question or two

Like, “Hey, pop, can I go ride my zoom?”
“It goes two hundred miles an hour suspended on balloons”
And, “Can I put a droplet of this new stuff on my tongue?”
“And imagine frothing dragons while you sit and wreck your lungs?”
And I must be permissive, understanding of the younger generation

And then, I’ll know that all I’ve learned, my kid assumes
And all my deepest worries must be his cartoons
And still, I’ll try to tell him all the things I’ve done
Relating to what he can do when he becomes a man
And still, he’ll stick his fingers in the fan

And, Hey, pop, my girlfriend’s only three
She’s got her own videophone and she’s taking LSD
And now that we’re best friends she wants to give a bit to me
But what’s the matter, daddy? How come you’re turning green?
Can it be that you can’t live up to your dreams?

August 20, 2013

The Fleetwoods - Come Softly to Me [Undubbed] (1958)

Gary Troxel and Gretchen Christopher were waiting to be picked up after school during their senior year of high school. The duo began to pass the time by singing and humming together. Gretchen thought the vocals they were toying around with would go great with some music she had written, so she convinced Troxel to join her in combining the two. The duo was pleased enough with the result that they asked Gretchen’s singing partner, Barbara Ellis, to join them in their newly formed vocal group. Originally calling themselves Two Girls and a Guy, the trio named their song “Come Softly” and recorded the vocals over a five month period (June – November 1958). Since the trio was singing a capella, they kept time by having Gary jingle his car keys. Once the vocals were perfected, the group’s co-producers flew the tapes to Los Angeles and had acoustic and bass guitars overdubbed. The song, renamed “Come Softly to Me” was officially released by the renamed group, The Fleetwoods, in February 1959. It stayed on the charts for sixteen weeks, with four weeks at number one.

Later that very same year, the group released “Mr. Blue,” which also went to number one. This feat made the trio the very first group in the world to have multiple number one hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in a single year. They were also they first ever mixed-gender group to achieve more than one number one hit. All in all, the trio had eleven hit songs in their short career. Gary Troxel’s involvement with the group waned, as he had been obligated to join the U.S. Navy’s Naval Reserve in 1956. That, combined with the nation’s growing desire for British pop, saw the vocal group split up in 1963.

The song heard below is the finalized vocals of “Come Softly to Me” that were sent by the group to Los Angeles for overdubbing. The version heard here does not include the overdub of the Latin-influenced acoustic guitar playing (by Bonnie Guitar) nor the bass guitar. The only non-voice element heard is the jingling of Gary Troxel’s keys to help the singers keep time.

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The Fleetwoods - Come Softly to Me [Undubbed] (1958)

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Lyrics:

Oh, I was busy kissing Gary.
Tee-hee.
Take three.


(Come softly, darling)
(Come softly, darling)
(Come softly, darling)
(Come softly, darling)

(Come softly, darling)
(Come to me, stay)
(You're my obsession)
(Forever and a day)

I want- want you to know
I love- I love you so
Please hold- hold me so tight
All through- all through the night

(Speak softly, darling)
(Hear what I say)
(I love you always)
(Always, always)

I've waited- waited so long
For your kisses and your love
Please come- come to me
From up- from up above

(Come softly, darling)
I want- want you to know
(Come softly, darling)
I love- I love you so
(Come softly, darling)
I need, need you so much
(Come softly, darling)
Wanna feel your warm, warm touch

August 16, 2013

The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season) (1965)

As mentioned a few days ago, The Jet Set had come up with their band name from band member Jim McGuinn’s love of aeronautics. When they signed with Columbia Records on November 10, 1964 and desired a new name, they kept with the aerial motif and chose The Birds. Almost instantaneously, however, the band started spelling it as The “Byrds,” fashioning the misspelling after The Beatles’ misspelling of their name. The band wasted no time recording and releasing material. They released their debut album, Mr. Tambourine Man on June 21, 1965 and quickly followed it up with Turn! Turn! Turn! on December 6th of the same year. These were the peak years for the band and consequently the pinnacle of the folk rock movement. Unfortunately, the original lineup of McGuinn, Clark, Crosby, Clarke, and Hillman was not to last. By early 1966, Gene Clark parted ways with the group due to conflicts with band members and, probably more importantly, his fear of flying. In late 1967, David Crosby and Michael Clarke also departed from the band. And then in 1968, original member Chris Hillman parted ways. Although replacement members would continuously fill the empty slots, the only original member left by 1969 was Jim McGuinn (who by then had changed his first name to “Roger,” citing a rebirth due to his involvement in the Subud religion). It wouldn’t be until 1973 that all five original members reunited to create one final album. That album, titled Byrds, failed to become a commercial success and was the last album put out by the band to date.

Featured on their aforementioned Turn! Turn! Turn! album from late 1965, this song is often strongly associated with the 1960s. Originally, the song was written and performed by Pete Seeger in the late 1950s, who had adapted the lyrics from the Book of Eccelesiastes from the King James Version of the Bible. Since King Solomon is said to have written that book, it’s often noted that King Solomon (born in 1011 BC) wrote the words to a top charting pop song, The Byrds’ version in 1965.

Jim McGuinn was initially inspired to learn Pete Seeger’s version of the song when he was working with Judy Collins on her 1963 album, Judy Collins 3. Then, in July 1965 while he and The Byrds were touring the American Midwest, Jim’s future wife Dolores requested that he play the song on the bus. Having lived and breathed folk rock for his band's new sound, McGuinn naturally began to play an adapted folk rock version of the song.

Upon The Byrds’ initial release of the song as a single on October 29, 1965, the song went straight to number one. Its message of peace and tolerance struck a chord with the American public, who was witnessing the increased involvement of their country in Vietnam. The song continued the band’s international stardom and solidified them as one of the greatest folk rock bands of all time.

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The Byrds - Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season) (1965)

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Lyrics:

To everything- turn, turn, turn
There is a season- turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything- turn, turn, turn
There is a season- turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything- turn, turn, turn
There is a season- turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything- turn, turn, turn
There is a season- turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late

August 15, 2013

The Beefeaters - Please Let Me Love You (1964)

As mentioned in yesterday's post, the roots of the iconic folk rock band, The Byrds, can be traced back to the solo folk days of its original members playing around coffeehouses in Los Angeles, California during the early '60s. When they first came together, Jim McGuinn, Gene Clark, and David Crosby chose the name The Jet Set. It was mentioned that David Crosby brought The Jet Set in to record at World Pacific Studios in Los Angeles, California. As mentioned, the band recorded a lot of demo material, but only one single, released under the name The Beefeaters. That single, “Please Let Me Love You” / “Don’t Be Long” was put out under the name “The Beefeaters” because the group wanted to cash in on the British Invasion and use a name that “sounded British.” The single, which was released on Elektra Records in October 1964, featured session musicians Ray Pohlman and Earl Palmer, members of the “Wrecking Crew” session musicians.

The song was released in October 1964, but failed to chart. It was written by Gene Clark, Jim McGuinn, and Harvey Gerst (a friend of McGuinn's from his early solo folk years). The song’s flip-side, “Don’t Be Long,” was later rewritten, rerecorded, and renamed “It Won’t Be Wrong” by the band (then going by the moniker The Byrds) for their Turn! Turn! Turn! album in 1965.

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The Beefeaters - Please Let Me Love You (1964)

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Lyrics:

Please let me love you a while
Let me live in the warmth of your smile
Let them see you with me
Let them wish they could be
As lucky as me
To have you here
To hold you oh-so near
Oh yeah, oh yeah

Please let me love you today
Let me give you my heart right away
And we’ll walk in the sun
And we’ll tell everyone
Our new love has begun
Just you and me
Always
Oh yeah, oh yeah

And when I hold you, I feel- feel so high
And when I kiss you I could fly

Please let me love you a while
Let me live in the warmth of your smile
Let them see you with me
Let them wish they could be
As lucky as me
To have you here
To hold you oh-so near
Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah

August 14, 2013

The Jet Set - The Only Girl I Adore [Demo] (1964)

Jim McGuinn had been performing acoustic versions of The Beatles’ songs in coffeehouses around Los Angeles, California when he was approached by Gene Clark to form a duo in the style of Peter & Gordon. After performing together around town for a while, according to Clark, one night he and McGuinn went into a stairway at The Folk Den (later renamed The Troubadour) to find some good acoustics for playing their guitars. As they began picking away and harmonizing, David Crosby approached them out of nowhere, “singing away” uninvited. The duo had now become a trio and they named themselves The Jet Set after McGuinn’s love for aeronautics.

Crosby’s admittance into the group proved valuable, as he had been recording demos at World Pacific Studios with Jim Dickson. Dickson heard Crosby’s new trio and was impressed enough to allot The Jet Set with their own studio recording time. Although they recorded dozens of demo songs, they only ever released one single, using an entirely different name (The Beefeaters). To put it simply, the band never released any singles under The Jet Set name. The song heard below, written by Jim McGuinn and Gene Clark, was recorded by the band at World Pacific Studios sometime during their studio time in mid- through November 1964. As an unreleased demo, the song had no impact on the music world.

The Jet Set soon expanded their lineup with drummer Michael Clarke and bassist Chris Hillman. On November 10, 1964 the band stopped recording at World Pacific Studios, as they had signed a record deal with Columbia Records under their newly adopted name, The Byrds. As a result of their immense popularity in the years to come, this song as well as all of the other demos by The Jet Set were released by The Byrds on an album titled Preflyte.

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The Jet Set - The Only Girl I Adore [Demo] (1964)

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Lyrics:

Don’t you know-
What you are-
What you are, darling, to me?
You’re the first evening star
And the only star I see

You’re my life through the day
And you’re so much- so much more
Don’t you know
You’re the only girl I adore?
Yeah, yeah

Don’t you know-
What I could mean-
What I could mean, darling, to you?
I could be your everything
And the only love for you

And I could be the only one
To hold you ever more
Don’t you know
You’re the only girl I adore?
Yeah, yeah

So won’t you hold me?
You know how I feel
We’re right for each other
Our love- our love can be real
Can be real

I think you know
What I mean
What I’m trying, dear, to say
You’re the finest girl I’ve seen
And I want you right away

I think you know you’re the love
That I’ve been looking for
Don’t you know
You’re the only girl I adore?
Yeah, yeah
I adore
Yeah, yeah
I adore
Yeah, yeah
Oh

August 12, 2013

Grapefruit - Round Going Round (1968)

Brothers Alexander (b. 1938), George (b. 1946), Malcolm (b. 1953), and Angus Young (b. 1955) were all born in Glasgow, Scotland. In 1963, the family moved to Sydney, Australia with only Alexander choosing to stay behind. In 1964, George Young co-founded The Easybeats. In 1967, Alexander Young co-founded this band, originally known as The Grapefruit, which was named after Grapefruit, a book by Yoko Ono. Alexander Young, who had now been calling himself George Alexander, and his bandmates (Mick Fowler, John Perry, Geoff & Pete Swettenham, and Bob Wale) were signed by The BeatlesApple Records. The individual members of The Beatles themselves expressed a great interest in the band, personally introducing them to the media at a press conference that was also attended by Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, and Cilla Black. Despite the grand opening, the group only stuck together for two years, releasing two mediocre albums. John Perry’s biggest career highlight was probably that he got to sing backup on The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.” Although some of Grapefruit’s singles managed to make it onto the charts, nothing too impressive had been achieved. As for Alexander and George Young’s younger brothers, Malcolm and Angus, they went on to form the highly successful band AC/DC in 1973.

Written by George Alexander (Alexander Young), the song heard below was released as a single in early 1968 and also appeared on the band’s first album, Around Grapefruit.

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Grapefruit - Round Going Round (1968)

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Lyrics:

I know she needs me
I know my baby needs me
I know she wants to stay

Round going round
I can see her in my dreams
And every day, every night
She was everywhere, it seems

Now I’ve found the perfect dream is gonna stay
Hey, hey, hey
For she promised all her loving for tomorrow today
Seven days a week she’ll have for me
Seven days a week I’ll want ‘cause
I need my baby
I need my baby

Round going round
In a multi-colored haze
Now I can fly ‘round the world
I can see the Milky Way

And a cold December turns to early May
Hey, hey, hey
For she promised all her loving for tomorrow today
Seven days a week, she’ll have for me
Seven days a week I’ll want ‘cause
I need my baby
I need my baby

I know she needs me
I know my baby needs me
I know she wants to stay

Round going round
Will tomorrow ever come?
I just can’t wait for the day, love
To see the morning sun

When she’s giving me her loving every way
Hey, hey, hey
For she promised all her loving for tomorrow…

August 09, 2013

Jay and the Americans - Come a Little Bit Closer (1964)

Born David Blatt November 2, 1938, the second man to be called “Jay” and sing lead for Jay and the Americans, had originally been in a doo-wop group called The Empires. In those early years, Blatt adopted the stage name “David Black” and used it when The Empires recorded their lone single, 1962’s “Time and a Place” / “Punch Your Nose.” In 1963, The Empires’ guitarist Marty Sanders was invited to join Jay and the Americans. At nearly the same time, Jay and the Americans’ original lead singer, Jay Traynor, decided to quit the band, having been disappointed with their recent failure to chart. The band’s new guitarist, Sanders, suggested David Black as a replacement. Black accepted the invitation, but had to be persuaded to adopt the name “Jay” to fit with the name of the band. David Blatt, who had chosen the stage name David Black, had now become Jay Black.

Together, Jay Black and his new band released over a dozen singles and a dozen albums in the coming decade. They charted numerous times throughout the 1960s and avoided splitting up until 1973. In ’73, Jay Black was the only member of the group wanting to continue the band, so when all other members went their separate ways, he recruited a rotating lineup of musicians to continue the “Jay and the Americans” name. Among the many temporary musicians to have backed Jay Black were Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, the future co-founders of Steely Dan. The original members of the band (featuring Jay Black and not Jay Traynor) didn’t reunite again until the 1990s. These days, Jay Black performs under “Jay Black and the Alley Cats,” having sold the “Jay and the Americans” name to his former bandmates in order to pay off a severe debt to the IRS, brought on by a gambling addiction.

This song, released as a single in 1964, was the band’s highest charting single. It reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100, number four on Cashbox, and number one on RPM’s singles chart. The song was written by iconic songwriting team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart, becoming the writing duo’s first top-ten hit of many. If you enjoy the lyrics of this song, listen to Buddy Holly’s “Smokey Joe’s Café.” The stories in the lyrics are somewhat similar, leading one to wonder if Boyce and Hart were inspired by the Buddy Holly song.

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Jay and the Americans - Come a Little Bit Closer (1964)

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Lyrics:

In a little café
Just the other side of the border
She was just sitting there giving me looks
That made my mouth water
So I started walking her way
She belonged to Bad Man Jose
And I knew, yes, I knew I should leave
When I heard her say, yeah

“Come a little bit closer”
“You’re my kind of man”
“So big and so strong”
“Come a little bit closer”
“I’m all alone”
“And the night is so long”

So we started to dance
In my arms, she felt so inviting
That I just couldn’t resist
Just one little kiss, so exciting
Then I heard the guitar player say
“Vamoose! Jose’s on his way”
Then I knew, yes, I knew I should run
But then I heard her say, yeah

“Come a little bit closer”
“You’re my kind of man”
“So big and so strong”
“Come a little bit closer”
“I’m all alone”
“And the night is so long”

Then the music stopped
When I looked, the café was empty
Then I heard Jose say
“Man, you know you’re in trouble plenty”
So I dropped my drink from my hand
And through the window I ran
And as I rode away
I could hear her say to Jose, yeah

“Come a little bit closer”
“You’re my kind of man”
“So big and so strong”
“Come a little bit closer”
“I’m all alone”
“And the night is so long”

August 08, 2013

The Split Level - Children Are Bored On Sunday (1968)

When Dave Guard left The Kingston Trio in April 1961, he quickly put together his next folk singing outfit, the Whiskeyhill Singers. In July 1962, Liz Seneff (Elizabeth Seneff-Corrigan) joined the Whiskeyhill Singers to replace a departing Judy Henske. Unfortunately for Seneff, Guard was interested in moving to Sydney, Australia and the band was dissolved in October 1962, just months after she had joined. Seneff recorded a solo album, Now Listen to Liz in 1963 on the Gateway label. Although she would predominately be known as a solo artist for the rest of her life, there was one other short-lived band that she had been a part of: The Split Level.

Formed in either 1967 or 1968, The Split Level was composed of Liz Seneff (vocals, tambourine), Michael Lobel (guitar, flute), Lenny Roberts (vocals, guitar), and Al Dana (vocals, bass, sitar). They only recorded one album, which is sometimes referred to as being self-titled and other times referred to by a quote seen on the back of the sleeve, “Divided We Stand.” The album is full of pop melodies lightly mixed with sunshine psychedelia, Indian-inspired raga, and Latin-sounding Gregorian chants.

This song, which appeared as the album’s fourth track, was written by Louis Charles Auguste Claude Trenet, more popularly known as Charles Trenet, a prolific French singer and songwriter. The song was adapted by band member Michael Lobel and released in 1968 on Dot Records.

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The Split Level - Children Are Bored On Sunday (1968)

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Lyrics:

French Lyrics English Lyrics

Poor me, poor me
Sundays bore me
How I wish the week were here

Sundays are the dullest days
Enough to drive a fellow crazy
Children in their Sunday best
Protest against this day of rest
So boring
Snoring
Is too wild to leave a child to do

Les enfants s'ennuient le dimanche
Le dimanche, les enfants s'ennuient
En knickerbockers ou en robes blanches
Le dimanche, les enfants s'ennuient

Vienne vienne
La semaine
Lundi mardi jeudi
Car la rue est toujours pleine
De lumière et de bruit

Sundays, Sundays
They make me moan
Wish they’d leave us kids alone

Dull relationships on vacations
Always seem to phone
They arrive with, "sakes
alive how you and sis have grown."
Sunday's one day they should leave us kids alone

Les enfants s'ennuient le dimanche
Le dimanche, les enfants s'ennuient
En knickerbockers ou en robes blanches
Le dimanche, les enfants s'ennuient

Sunday’s wrong for what we long for
Mondays have what we seek
That is what we sing this song for
Kids are strong for the week

Kids are strong for the week

Poor me, poor me
Sundays bore me
How I wish the week were here

Sundays are the dullest days
Enough to drive a fellow crazy
Children in their Sunday best
Protest against this day of rest
So boring
Snoring
Is too wild to leave a child to do

Children are bored on Sunday
On Sunday, the kids are bored
In knickerbockers or white dresses
On Sunday, the kids are bored

Next comes
The week
Monday Tuesday Thursday
Because the street is always full
Lights and sounds

Sundays, Sundays
They make me moan
Wish they'd leave us kids alone

Dull relationships on vacations
Always seem to phone
They arrive with, "sakes
alive how you and sis have grown."
Sunday's one day they should leave us kids alone

Children are bored on Sunday
On Sunday, the kids are bored
In knickerbockers or white dresses
On Sunday, the kids are bored

Sunday's wrong for what we long for
Mondays have what we seek
That is what we sing this song for
Kids are strong for the week

Kids are strong for the week

August 07, 2013

String Driven Thing - July Morning (1968)

Formed in 1967, this Scottish band originated in Glasgow and consisted of husband and wife Chris and Pauline Adams, with (at least for a short period) guitarist John Mannion. In their early years, the trio found local success in their native Scotland which lasted through the early ‘70s. In those early formative years they also released one self-titled album in 1968, which quickly sank into obscurity. Although their creative output began to fizzle shortly thereafter, the band found new life when Graham Smith and Colin Wilson brought in their electric violin and bass, respectively. Sans Mannion, the new band released another self-titled album in 1972 and backed it by touring the UK and Europe with other Charisma Records bands (most notable of which was Phil CollinsGenesis). In the years that came, albums were recorded, members came and went, and the band continuously toured. Their peak was probably around 1973 and they officially disbanded in 1975. Fans were happy to see them get back together no less than four times. They are currently together and performing live.

Before the band was signed with Charisma Records, they were briefly on the Concord label. As alluded to above, the only members of the band during those earliest years were the married Adams couple and John Mannion. This song was released on the only album released in that time, the self-titled String Driven Thing from 1968. It can be a bit confusing, since the band released another self-titled album a few years later in 1972. That “second” self-titled album is generally regarded as their “first album” since they had added additional band members and were with a new record company. If you enjoy this song, definitely listen to "Say What You Like" and "One of the Lonely People" from the same album.

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String Driven Thing - July Morning (1968)

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Lyrics:

I came out without a coat
‘cause the morning shone so bright
And looking down the road I saw the sea
And it looked so blue and green
And its sand was oh, so white
And I suddenly saw
How good the world can be

On a July- July morning
On a July- July morning
On a July- July morning in the sun

Living in a dirty town
Had bad things on my mind
And made me think that everything were grey
And it took a thousand miles
And a whole new way of life to make me see
How good the world can be

On a July- July morning
On a July- July morning
On a July- July morning in the sun

I was asleep, didn’t realize
I was asleep, had closed my eyes
To the wonders that there are
In the village you can find when you see
How good the world can be

On a July- July morning
On a July- July morning
On a July- July morning in the sun

On a July- July morning
On a July- July morning
On a July- July morning in the sun

August 06, 2013

The Who - Sparks (1969)

Primarily written by band member Pete Townshend, The Who’s double-sided Tommy album was one of the first rock albums in history to be considered a “rock opera.” The album’s songs systematically tell the story of Tommy, a kid who is psychosomatically deaf, dumb, and blind due to something he witnessed at a young age. The album’s time-frame spans multiple years, from Tommy as a child to his adult life. The album was banned by the BBC and many US radio stations for its subject matter, specifically revolving around a handicapped child who is abused by family members and goes on to become a spiritual leader. Just a few months after its release in 1969, the entire album was played by The Who for the crowd at Woodstock. Almost as if it were on cue, the sun began to rise at Woodstock over the horizon just as Roger Daltrey began to sing, “See Me, Feel Me.” The album has sold more than twenty million copies, been turned into a Broadway musical, an orchestral production, and a feature film. It was the band’s first major album success, to be followed by Who’s Next, Quadrophenia, The Who by Numbers, and Who Are You.

Written by Pete Townshend, this instrumental track was one of the numerous highlights on the Tommy album. The song has a notable appearance in the film Almost Famous from 2000, when the main character first becomes exposed to rock music when listening to this particular track.

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The Who - Sparks (1969)

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Lyrics:

(instrumental)

August 05, 2013

Hardin and York - Drinking My Wine (1969)

Having been in The Spencer Davis Group together, Eddie Hardin and Pete York split from Spencer’s band to create a two-person band in 1969. Hardin, an organist and pianist, mixed with York’s drumming to create one of the most unique duo/instrument combinations of the era. Although Hardin’s left hand usually created the bass sound, the band’s three albums were often accompanied by more than just the pair’s instruments of choice. You would often hear guitars, brass, female backup vocals, or wind instruments on any of their three albums: 1969’s Tomorrow Today, 1970’s The World’s Smallest Big Band, and 1971’s For the World. The duo wasn’t able to find much of an audience in the US or UK, but were quite popular in the rest of Europe, especially in Germany. In 1971, York started the Pete York Percussion Band and Hardin co-created Hardin/Fenwick/Newman. Although they kept up their dual enrollment for a while, they eventually disbanded in 1973 when the Spencer Davis Group came beckoning for a reunion.

With their jazz-influenced blend of the blues and hard rock, it was hard not to compare the duo to Traffic. Steve Winwood, co-creator of Traffic, had been in the Spencer Davis Group with Hardin and York, so it’s certainly conceivable to see where Hardin & York were inspired to find their sound. The song heard below, written by Eddie Hardin and featured on their debut 1969 album, Tomorrow Today, was featured as the album’s fourth track. That album’s cover, which lacked Hardin and York’s name, was an award-winner in New York for artistic originality.

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Hardin and York - Drinking My Wine (1969)

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Lyrics:

Sitting here drinking my wine
Wastes so much of my time
Pass another empty day
Sitting on my new friend’s way

When it comes to you
I drink some out of your shoe
And I don’t know, but i feel like
Some of these might happen to me, too

Sitting alone in the park
Feeling afraid of the dark
Everyone’s eyes set firmly on me
Why can’t they set me free?

When it comes to you
I drink some out of your shoe
And I don’t know, but i feel like
Some of these might happen to me, too

Sitting here drinking my wine
Wastes so much of my time
Pass another empty day
Sitting on my new friend’s way

When it comes to you
I drink some out of your shoe
And I don’t know, but i feel like
Some of these might happen to me, too

Sitting alone in the park
Feeling afraid of the dark
Everyone’s eyes set firmly on me
Why can’t they set me free?

When it comes to you
I drink some out of your shoe
And I don’t know, but i feel like
Some of these might happen to me, too

August 02, 2013

The Ronettes - Be My Baby (1963)

Composed of sisters Veronica and Estelle Bennett and their cousin, Nedra Talley, these three girls first began singing together at their grandmother’s house when they were just teenagers. Originally accompanied by the Bennett’s other cousins, Diane, Elaine, and the only male, Ira, the six relatives landed a gig at amateur night at the Apollo in the late ‘50s. When it came time to perform, Ira, who was supposed to be the lead singer, froze. Veronica, now going by her nickname Ronnie, rushed to the rescue and belted out the lead of Frankie Lymon’s “Why Do Fools Fall In Love.” After that night, Ira, Diane, and Elaine left the group. Ronnie, with her sister and cousin, continued on as Ronnie and the Relatives, signing to Colpix Records in 1961. When their first two singles failed to chart, the girls found themselves at the front door of a club, the Peppermint Lounge, trying to get in despite being underage. After receiving some tips from the girls’ mothers about how to look and act older, the doorman mistook the trio as dancers scheduled to perform on stage with Joey Dee and the Starliters. The girls were brought on stage, danced, and Ronnie was even handed the microphone to sing a song. Soon, Ronnie and the Relatives were making regular appearances at the Peppermint Lounge and renamed themselves The Ronettes.

Released in August 1963, this song was written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich. It was the first song to be released on Spector’s label, Philles Records, and reached number two in the US and four in the UK. The technique used to record the song was Phil Spector’s “wall of sound,” a technique that involved recording multiple instruments in unison for supreme clarity on AM radio and jukeboxes. Among the many musicians and vocalists heard on the track are Sonny and Cher, Darlene Love, and The Wrecking Crew. The song is said to have had a huge impact on The Beach BoysBrian Wilson (who wrote "Don't Worry Baby" as a response-song), The Beatles, and nearly everyone else of the '60s pop era. It has been covered countless times by famous artists and is one of the most enduring songs of the 1960s.

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The Ronettes - Be My Baby (1963)

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Lyrics:

The night we met
I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance
I’d never let you go
So, won’t you say you love me?
I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ‘em turn their heads
Every place we go

So won’t you, please
(Be my- be my baby)
Be my little baby?
(My one and only baby)
Say you’ll be my darling
(Be my- be my baby)
Be my baby now
(My one and only baby)

I’ll make you happy, baby
Just wait and see
For every kiss you give me
I’ll give you three
Oh, since the day I saw you
I have been waiting for you
You know I will adore you
‘til eternity

So won’t you please
(Be my- be my baby)
Be my little baby?
(My one and only baby)
Say you’ll be my darling
(Be my- be my baby)
Be my baby now
(My one and only baby)

So, come on, and please
(Be my- be my baby)
Be my little baby
(My one and only baby)
Say you’ll be my darling
(Be my- be my baby)
Be my baby now
(My one and only baby)

(Be my- be my baby)
Be my little baby
(My one and only baby)
(Be my- be my baby)
(My one and only baby)

(Be my- be my baby)
(My one and only baby)
(Be my…)

August 01, 2013

The Kare Takers - Have You Seen My Baby? (1967)

This band was made up of five local high school kids from Youngstown, Ohio. Most of the band’s members were in the tenth grade, or around fifteen years old, when they recorded their first and only single heard below. It was recorded on the WAM record label, which was a local outfit that charged a bargain fee for studio time and getting records pressed.

Backed with the B-Side “My Jane,” this song was released on the WAM label in either 1966 or 1967, with various claims. The lyrics and music were written by George Fecko, a member of the band who had been born November 20, 1948 (which makes him a bit older than most members of the band) and passed away in June 1982, at the age of thirty-three.

Update (11/21/2016): According to some sources in the comments below, George Fecko was indeed a member of the band. The narrative above has been edited to remove any confusion about his relation to the group.

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The Kare Takers - Have You Seen My Baby? (1967)

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Lyrics:

Have you seen my baby?
Have you seen my girl?
Ever since she left me
My heart’s been in a whirl

She said she’d be mine
‘til the end of time
But time hasn’t ended yet
And she ran out on me

Oh, why did I have to lose
When I was so far ahead?
If she don’t come back to me
Please have some sympathy
On me

Have you seen my baby?
Have you seen my girl?
Ever since she left me
It’s been the end of the world
For me

She’s out runnin’ ‘round
With every man in town
Since she put me down
Way down on the ground

Oh, why did I have to lose
When I was so far ahead?
If she don’t come back to me
Please have some sympathy
On me

Have you seen my baby?
Have you seen my baby?
Have you seen my baby?