Friday, July 24, 2020

McQ's Best Of 1969 Vol 6 - Psychedelic Fade

By 1969, the music world's infatuation with the psychedelic soundscape that had emerged just three years earlier was quickly fading in mainstream prominence, abandoned/reshaped as artists moved on to the newer, more enticing musical pastures of country rock, progressive rock, big brass soul raves, and heavy metal.

But some first wave artists, most notably The Jefferson Airplane, cult favorite LA regional act Love, and the Beatles (when their eclectic mood struck them) stuck to their guns, and were joined by a cadre of late-to-the-party second wavers, most not at the level of the genre's first wave, but some - especially Santana, the Peter Frampton-fronted Humble Pie, and the instrumentally exciting if lyrically silly Spirit - still delivering first rate takes on genre in their own right. 

All of them and many more are collect here in our look back at some of the best from 1969's psychedelic hanger-ons. 

Here's the Spotify link. Enjoy!

Set 1 (Righteous Reefer Warriors)

1. Desperation - Humble Pie (6:28)
2. Come Together - The Beatles (4:20)
3. We Can Be Together - Jefferson Airplane (5:48)
4. Hair - The Cowsills (3:30)
5. I'm With You - Love (2:46)
6. Badge - Cream (2:45)
7. Dark Eyed Woman - Spirit (3:07)
8. Barabajagal - Donovan w/ The Jeff Beck Group (3:20)
9. China Cat Sunflower - Grateful Dead (3:42)
10. Cold Turkey - John Lennon (5:03)
11. Belda-Beast - Iron Butterfly (5:47)
12. The Devil Came From Kansas - Procul Harum (4:35)
13. Jingo - Santana (4:21)
14. White Bird - It's A Beautiful Day (8:20)
15. Stand Out - Love (3:01)
16. Hey Frederick - Jefferson Airplane (8:33)
17. Theme From An Imaginary Western - Jack Bruce (3:28)

Set 2 (Twilight Flashbacks)

18. I Don't Know That You Don't Know My Name - Ten Years After (2:06)
19. Get Back - The Beatles (3:12)
20. Children Of The Sun - The Misunderstood (2:40)
21. Singing Cowboy - Love (4:42)
22. Turn My Life Down - Jefferson Airplane (2:58)
23. Gypsy Women - Tim Buckley (12:19)
24. Living - Alice Cooper (3:12)
25. Book Of Moses - Alexander 'Skip' Spence (2:42)
26. Space Cowboy - Steve Miller Band (4:56)
27. Nothing - Love (4:49)
28. 1984 - Spirt (3:37)
29. Bang! - Humble Pie (3:24)
30. Hangman Hang My Shell On A Tree - Spooky Tooth (5:50)
31. The Star Spangled Banner (Woodstock Performance) - Jimi Hendrix (3:47)


32. I Want You (She's So Heavy) - The Beatles (7:47)
33. Wooden Ships - Crosby, Stills & Nash (5:26)
34. Spirit In The Sky - Norman Greenbaum (4:00)
35. Give Peace A Chance - The Plastic Ono Band (4:50)

Meet the Brothers and Sisters of the Psychedelic Fade Family:

Humble Pie: Humble Pie, one of the many supergroups to form late in the decade that would go on to have considerable success in the early 70s, broke out in 1969 with the release of their debut album As Safe As Yesterday Is (Mild Recommend) and their separately released hit single Natural Born Bugie. Centered around the singing/songwriting talents of The Small Faces' Steve Marriott, but also featuring Herd's Peter Frampton and Spooky Tooth bassist Greg Ridley, the band initially strove to hit a somewhat heavier take on the loose, eclectic feel of Traffic's fantastic self-titled '68 release, and for the most part they succeed, though not to the memorable level of that Traffic classic. Still, it's a likable album throughout. Highlights include Stick Shift, Buttermilk Boy, the races Bang? and a killer cover of Steppenwolf's Desperation with which we open this mix here. 

The Beatles: We're tapping three of The Beatles many amazing 1969 tunes for this psych-leaning mix.  The first two are the obvious psychedelic no brainers from Abbey Road (Highest Recommend, McQ's #5 album in 1969), Come Together, one of the edgiest hits of the band's career, and the so heavy I Want You (She's So Heavy), a song so heavy they had to put "so heavy" in the title. 

Then, closing out our Beatles selections is the premier A-side to one of the Beatles' greatest (but not the greatest) double A-sided singles, Paul McCartney's smooth-rolling Get Back

Jefferson Airplane: More coming soon!

The Cowsills: A popular, Rhode Island-based, all-sibling vocal act of the time, the Cowsills came upon Hair via Rob Reiner, who fed-exed them a copy of the musical's soundtrack, thinking it would be funny for the squeaky clean bubblegum act to do a hippied-out performance of the song for a television show he was producing on counter-culture style The Wonderful World Of Pizzazz. The group obliged to an extent, replacing all biblical references from the song, but their cover would go on to become a huge hit, peaking at number two in the charts, ironically blocked from the top spot by another cover from the musical, The Fifth Dimension's Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In which opens our Vol 8 - Grade A Schmaltz mix. 

Love: Following the release of Love's '67 psych pop masterpiece, Forever Changes, the original incarnation of the band fell apart.  Secondary songwriter/ Alone Again Or penner Bryan McLean departed on his own accord, most likely to pursue his pending solo deal, and Lee then summarily fired the rest of the band, who all subsequently quit the biz and/or fell on very hard times. In their stead Lee brought in a new trio of more blues-rock oriented musicians, and Love's harder-rocking and less-appealing second phase was born.  The new lineup released two album's in 1969, neither holistically successful but both peppered with impressive highlights. First out of the gate was Four Sail (Mild Recommend), which finds Lee straddling the old and new directions of the band, with every harder charging, jammier effort like August or Singing Cowboy balanced out by a near equal number of breezier tracks in the original lineup vein like the marvelous I'm With You and almost as good Nothing.

Second '69 outing Out There (Mild Recommend) veers more completely to the band's new-found jammier stance, and is highlighted by the tight single Stand Out and the 11 minute psych freak-out Love Is More Than Words Or Better Late Than Never

Cream: Deciding to call it quits 1969 after just three years, Cream decided to go out with a proper farewell for their fans, committing to one last tour, and releasing on last, very slender album Goodbye (Mild Recommend). As with their previous, much larger release Wheels Of Fire, Goodbye's material was split between live performances on Side 1, and three originals, one by each band member, on Side 2. And while there are no live cuts nearly as impressive as Wheels' Crossroads, the originals are all quite strong, especially the fantastic Clapton/George Harrison collaboration Badge included here. 

Spirit: More coming soon!

Donovan: More coming soon!

Grateful Dead: More coming soon!

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band: More coming soon!

Iron Butterfly: More coming soon!

Procul Harum: More coming soon!

Santana: More coming soon!

It's A Beautiful Day: More coming soon!

Jack Bruce: More coming soon!

Ten Years After: More coming soon!

The Misunderstood: More coming soon!

Tim Buckley: More coming soon!

Alice Cooper: As with the 1969 debuts of David Bowie and Elton John, Alice Cooper's Pretties For You (Mild Recommend) is the work of a soon to be fantastic band that hasn't yet found their niche between proto-metal, psych-pop, and glam. Most of the album is fairly forgettable, if energetic, but a few songs, especially The Beatlesque Living include here and the rocker Reflected, rise above the chaff.

Alexander 'Skip' Spence: More coming soon!

The Steve Miller Band: We already touched on The Steve Miller Band's third release Brave New World in our Vol 3 - B.B.'s Badass Bluesdown, but since the album is a nifty straddle of the psychedelic, blues and emerging country-rock aesthetics of the era, we thought it would be good to represent TSMB's more psych-oriented numbers on this mix as well with one of their all-time most popular songs - Space Cowboy!

Spooky Tooth: Another very talented but now sadly little remembered late 60s/early 70s bands to emerge as the psychedelic movement was morphing into progressive rock and metal, Carlisle England's Spooky Tooth successful delivered in all three genres, but with an emphasis on heaviness at all times. We'll get to that maximal heavy factor on their second and best album, 1969's Spooky Two, on our upcoming proto-punk/proto-metal mix Vol 14 - Hindenburgs Rising, but for this mix here, wanted to give the band's folksier, more psychedelic side its due with the fine Hangman, Hang My Shell On A Tree.

Jimi Hendrix: More coming soon!

Crosby, Stills & Nash: More coming soon!

Norman Greenbaum: Though he's viewed by most as a one-hit wonder today, Massachusetts' Norman Greenbaum actually landed several albums on the Billboard charts in the early 70s, but there's no denying that the awesome, generically spiritual psych-rocker Spirit In The Sky, which sits in the penultimate position on this mix, is the song for which he will always be remembered. 

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