Tag: 1967

Jefferson Airplane – After Bathing at Baxter’s

ARTIST: Jefferson Airplane 220px-After_bathing_at_baxters

TITLE: After Bathing at Baxter’s



SINGLES: The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil (#42), Watch Her Ride (#61)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Martha, Won’t You Try/Saturday Afternoon

LINEUP: Marty Balin, Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Spencer Dryden

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Airplane decided to go full-tilt psychedelic, and the album has a lot of trippy elements to it, man.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: I don’t think this was Marty Balin’s group anymore, but he had to have gone along with it. His voice, as harmony singer mostly, is all over the place, and his “Young Girl Sunday Blues” is one of the highlights.

Starting with the outstanding yet challenging “The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil” and ending with Kantner’s statement “Won’t You Try / Saturday Afternoon”, the Airplane moves the listener through a truly acid-drenched trip, complete with experimental sounds, anti-war statements, hippie imagery, and general electrical tom-foolery.

Their status, after one successful album, was such that they got to do what they wanted, and how they wanted. While the freedom was welcome by the band (after RCA put the screws to them on their first album), it’s lack of direction meant fewer sales and less radio play on AM stations.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The album title was code for “tripping on acid”.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. Alternate cuts and mixes.

 GRADE B+: The weird for weird-sake cuts drag it down.

Jefferson Airplane – Surrealistic Pillow

ARTIST: Jefferson Airplane

TITLE: Surrealistic Pillow220px-Jeffair



SINGLES: My Best Friend (#103), Somebody to Love (#5), White Rabbit (#8)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Today, Plastic Fantastic Lover

LINEUP: Marty Balin, Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Jorma Kaukonen, Jack Casady, Spencer Dryden

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Changing drummers (a big plus) and female singers (who brought a couple of songs from her old band that you may have heard of), the Airplane make a psychedelic folkie LP that puts them on the map.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This was still mostly Marty Balin’s group. His folkie instincts came through on some of the cuts (especially at the end of side 1), but it’s not all in his voice, nor his songs. Former drummer Skip Spence has a track, as well as mysterious ‘friend’ Tom Mastin. Kantner and Kaukonen each have a solo credit, and then there’s the two songs the new singer Grace Slick brought them. I think you know them.

“Somebody to Love”, written by Slick’s brother in law, and “White Rabbit” were songs that Slick’s former band, the Great Society, had in their repertoire, to very minor success. The Airplane versions were turned up and turned on, and along with tracks like “She Has Funny Cars”, “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Second” and “Plastic Fantastic Lover”, the Airplane really took off.

The really slow ballad and a couple of the folkie tracks detract from the psychedelic onslaught, somewhat to the album’s detriment. But it’s still a good snapshot of a group ascending to its apex, quickly.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Jerry Garcia played on this album, unless he didn’t, and he arranged many of the tracks, unless he was just a ‘sage counsel’. I think people were too stoned to really remember.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes. B-sides and cuts left off for…reasons I guess.

 GRADE A-: They flew pretty high here, and became the ‘voice’ of hippies and San Francisco.

The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour

ARTIST: The Beatles 220px-TheBeatlesMagicalMysteryTouralbumcover

TITLE: Magical Mystery Tour


CHART ACTION: #1 US, #31 UK (as an import)

SINGLES: the EP hit #2 in the UK. Penny Lane (#1 UK, #1 UK), Strawberry Fields Forever (#8 US), All You Need is Love (#1 US, #1 UK), Hello Goodbye (#1 US, #1 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I Am the Walrus, Fool on the Hill, Baby You’re A Rich Man

LINEUP: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr. Session players added things.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The soundtrack to the first real commercial oopsy by the Beatles sold well, but it was saved by singles found on the second side of the album. (No such luck in the UK at first release).

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: In the UK, the six songs for the TV special Magical Mystery Tour were released as a double EP set. In the US, where that wouldn’t fly, they added five tracks from recent singles onto the B-side. Thank goodness for that.

Not to say that the movie songs are horrible, but they seem like leftovers or derivatives (especially the title track, “Flying” and “Your Mother Should Know”). The best tracks, “Blue Jay Way” and the all-timer “I Am the Walrus” were the last true gasps of the psychedelic experimentation that the Beatles performed. 220px-MagicalMysteryTourDoubleEPcover

The single tracks on the B-side included the brilliant double-sided hit “Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever” (the best value of any 45 ever, perhaps), and the almost as great “Hello, Goodbye”. That made the album a definite value for the US market, especially since the TV special  never was released here until much, much later.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: John and the Beatles just wanted the stand-alone soundtrack released in the US, but they didn’t have control over that.


 GRADE B+: An A+ second side for sure, but a B first side and I’m downgrading a bit as well for the patched together LP.

The Rascals – Collection

ARTIST: The (Young) Rascals 220px-Young_Rascals_Collections

TITLE: Collections



SINGLES: Come on Up (#43), I’ve Been Lonely Too Long (#16)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They cover a few tracks you know – the best known by them is Too Many Fish in the Sea

LINEUP: Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati, Gene Cornish, Dino Danelli

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: For their second album, the (Young) Rascals write more of their songs, with mixed results – mostly from the covers.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Recorded over seven months in 1966 (in between tour dates), the Rascals (still Young Rascals at this time) moved on from garage rock towards a more soulful blend of tracks. They’re dominated by the organ of Felix Cavaliere, who also wrote the strongest tracks by the band.

Because the sessions were spread out (two singles released in 1966 – one of those actually appearing on the next album), the sound of the album doesn’t flow well. A couple tracks (“No Love to Give, a song written by guitarist Gene Cornish) were downright regrettable. Their cover of “Mickey’s Monkey” is fun, but the real gem is “Come On Up”, a raving rocker that’s their last gasp as a true garage band,

There are tracks in here that are going to be exiled, but the best are good to fantastic. Such is the album game in the 60’s.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The single “You Better Run” was released in May of 1966, but wasn’t on this album though the B-side (“Love Is a Beautiful Thing”) is.


 GRADE C+: This has some real clunkers, so pick the good ones and exile the rest.

Big Brother and the Holding Company – Big Brother and the Holding Company Featuring Janis Joplin

ARTIST: Big Brother and the Holding Company   

TITLE: Big Brother and the Holding Company Featuring Janis Joplin


CHART ACTION: #60, #28 R&B

SINGLES: Bye Bye Baby (#118), Down on Me (#43), Blindman (#110), Coo Coo (#84)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Doubtful that you have, really.

LINEUP: Janis Joplin, Peter Albin, Sam Andrew, David Getz, James Gurley

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A rushed debut recorded before they (and Janis Joplin) hit it big at Monterrey. Eh.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Say what you want about Janis Joplin (me, I think she’s overrated, but that’s just me again), she deserved better than this band and this album.

There are flashes on goodness here. “Intruder” is first rate, and “Down on Me” would become a staple for her in her career. But the band here falters in both material (the originals, and even Joplin’s originals are meh), and performance (they really should have just picked songs that highlighted Janis). It’s also very skimpy – 23 minutes on first release.

If she didn’t wow the audiences wherever they played live, and then had a cult build around her, this would be a forgotten footnote.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They recorded two tracks in Chicago, then ten others in three days in LA. It sounds rushed for sure.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Originally 10 tracks on Mainstream – when Columbia picked it up they added two sides of a single and ramped the running time to 28:03! Score!

GRADE C-: For diehards. For the diehards of the diehards.

Cat Stevens – Matthew & Son

ARTIST: Cat Stevens                         220px-Matthew_and_Son_cover

TITLE: Matthew & Son



SINGLES: I Love My Dog (#118 US, #28 UK), Matthew & Son (#115 US, #2 UK)


LINEUP: Cat Stevens, John Paul Jones, Nicky Hopkins, other session players

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A young singer and songwriter releases and album with a surprise hit or two in the UK.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is more of a pop oriented album than his more famous work, but that doesn’t mean its  just trifly throwaways.

Cat Stevens was just 18 when he started to record this album with some sessions that became singles and slowly worked on the album as time allowed. When it was released, it was better than you’d expect. The original for “Here Comes My Baby” is surprisingly strong with interesting percussion and the two hits are definitely keepers.

His voice is pretty unmistakable, even in his teenage years. The downfall is some of the tracks are a bit over-orchestrated and Stevens struggles to find his voice in the midst of the orchestrations. Still it’s pretty darn decent as these things go.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: In the US, they cut it from 14 tracks to 12, of course.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes a later single “I’m Gonna Get Me a Gun” (#6 UK)

 GRADE B: A baroque-pop album with little filler but a tad too much orchestration at times.

The Yardbirds – Little Games

ARTIST: The Yardbirds                       220px-Ylittlegames

TITLE:  Little Games



SINGLES: Little Games (#51)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Drinking Muddy Water

LINEUP: Keith Relf, Jimmy Page, Chris Dreja, Jim McCarty with session help.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: They fired Jeff Beck but had Jimmy Page. They hired Mickey Most as producer. The latter was a big mistake and basically ended the band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Mickey Most was a long-time producer in the UK and created some classic hit singles, but when he was brought together with the Yardbirds it was a mismatch.

The record company wanted hit singles, but the band had moved, on stage, to more of a blues-rock improvisational vibe, utilizing the strengths of Jimmy Page. They lost Paul Samwell-Smith, who was the musical director of the group, and that no doubt hurt them in the studio.

The singles (which only one appeared on the album) were by outside writers and not at all in the style of the band, and the other cuts were rushed through the entire process in just three days since Most thought albums were a waste. There’s not really much to recommend here, which is sad. The title track was OK, and a couple of tracks have good guitar and melodies, but it’s really short and incomplete.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This wasn’t even released in the UK after the single “Little Games” stiffed.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A couple. There’s one with outtakes, and demos, and one with the last singles appended (“Ha Has Said the Clown” (#45), “Ten Little Indians” (#96), “Goodnight Sweet Josephine” (#127). 

GRADE: C-: Only a couple will escape the exiling. This is just a sad way for the Yardbirds to leave the stage.

Cream – Disraeli Gears

ARTIST: Cream         220px-DisraeliGears

TITLE:  Disraeli Gears



SINGLES: Strange Brew (#17 UK), Sunshine of Your Love (#6 US, #25 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Tales of Brave Ulysees

LINEUP: Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The powerful blues-rock trio moves a foot into the psychedelic world, and creates a song that’s an absolute monster to this day.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Jack Bruce bass riff, coupled and carried forward by Eric Clapton, propelled “Sunshine of Your Love” and to this day, that simple riff is universally known and loved.

That track anchored this second album from the combustible power trio, which definitely varied their sonic attack and added tinges of psychedelia (“Tales of Brave Ulysses”) into their blues, and allowed for experimental arrangements like “Dance the Night Away”, “Blue Condition”, and “We’re Going Wrong”, and flat out rockers like “SWABLR”. Clapton’s wah-wah guitar is the sound of the record, though Bruce and Baker contribute their prowess as well.

The experimental pieces are hit-and-miss (Ginger Baker’s vocals are, well, an acquired taste), yet this is Cream’s best and most consistent album, and probably Clapton’s best and most consistent aside from Derek and the Dominos.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The titles was a malapropism when a roadie tried to say ‘derailleur gears’.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Outtakes and BBC sessions. 

GRADE: A: It’s one of the best examples of blues melding with psychedelics.

The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

ARTIST: The Beatles   Sgt._Pepper's_Lonely_Hearts_Club_Band

TITLE: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band



SINGLES: None, really, but it didn’t matter

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A Day in the Life is probably the most famous song here, but you know most of the others.

LINEUP: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr with George Martin and Geoff Emerick putting together the soundscapes.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: At the time, supposedly revolutionary and the kickstarter to the ‘summer of love’, but in reality it was just a more focused version of psychedelic experiments the Beatles and others had been doing.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: There have been books written about this record, and not just fluff pieces. It is probably the most known popular music album in history. Yet, it’s overrated as a whole yet parts of it are woefully underrated and ignored.

There’s fluff and saccharine (“She’s Leaving Home”, “When I’m 64”), and some of the songs aren’t as strong as others since they had constrained themselves to a concept of sorts. The pacing isn’t quite there thanks to those interruptions of treacle. Yet, some tracks are definitely brilliant, and others (“Within You, Without You”, “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite”) deserve more acclaim than they sometimes get.

While other bands had certainly attempted some of these ideas, themes, and sounds before, only the Beatles, with George Martin and Geoff Emerick, put together something as cohesive as they could. It definitely is a landmark in popular music – just not the best album of that year nor of the Beatles’ career.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: It only hit #7 in France…what gives?

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, they have now released a remastered version with some outtakes that are familiar to those who have other Beatles anthology collections. 

GRADE: A: There are a couple songs I loathe, and I think the conceit of the concept doesn’t work as well in terms of flow. Quibbles, I suppose, when all is said and done.

Aretha Franklin – Aretha Arrives

ARTIST: Aretha Franklin         220px-Aretha_Arrives

TITLE: Aretha Arrives



SINGLES: Baby I Love You (#4 US #1 R&B, #39 UK), (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction (#37 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Most all of the album are covers of known songs.

LINEUP: Aretha Franklin and session aces

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A rushed second Atlantic album fails to capitalize on Aretha’s excellent first Atlantic soul album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Not even allowing her to recover from an injured elbow, Atlantic put Franklin back in the studio to record a followup to her landmark soul record. The magic that was there earlier just wasn’t there.

Aretha’s in good voice, of course, but the material at times seems unsuited, or uninspired. It moved copies, but it’s not memorable. It’s just…there.

She’d rebound, of course, and become the consistent performer that we know today. Still, it Atlantic made a mistake in rushing this.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Because of her injury she couldn’t play the piano except for the slower numbers.


GRADE: C: It’s not streaming by itself, but it’s really not worth the effort.