December 30, 2011

My End Of The Year Mix - 2011

I have a somewhat new tradition to inflict an end-of-year (not necessarily Christmas or holiday-themed) mix disc upon my friends for the holidays; this is the most recent - as was my previous mix disc, it's almost all late 60's garage/psych. I hope they like it, or at least can patiently endure it. As for the rest of you, here are youtube videos of the songs (or in some cases, the nearest available substitutes) so you can all enjoy.

(Update - just posted the previous year's mix too)

Sleeve of the Beatles' '67 Xmas record

1. Christmastime is Here Again - The Beatles
The 1967 edition of their annual holiday recording for the members of their fan club.  Their love of the Goon Show is evident.

2. The Day the Train Never Came - The Consortium
Also known as the West Coast Consortium, they were signed to Pye records.  This is the b-side of their '69 single "When the Day Breaks." They kept afloat into the 1980's before splitting.

3.  Dogs, Part 2 - The Who
B-side of "Pinball Wizard."

4.  Rodeo - Powder
Powder was a Mod-worshiping power-pop trio from the San Francisco area featuring brothers Thomas and Richard Frost.  Backed Sonny and Cher in their early tours.
(no video for the song on Youtube, but here is another great Powder song, "Gladly", posted by Richard Frost himself.)

5.  Hey Grandma (mono single mix) - Moby Grape
SF quintet groomed and vetted for Jefferson Airplane-style super-stardom, and their debut album (of which this is the first track) is much-loved.  But over-hype, drug addiction, mental illness and legal troubles hobbled them.  (Here's a rare clip of them performing the song live)

6.  Tinker Taylor - Terry Reid
Terry is most (in)famous for turning down Jimmy Page's offer to front the soon-to-be-formed Led Zeppelin.  "But I know this kid who sounds a lot like me named Robert Plant," he is purported to have said, and the rest is history.

7.  Once Before - Barry and the Remains
Rockin' Boston-area 60's quartet who opened for the Beatles on their '65 tour.  Saw them in NYC in '01, and they still kicked ass.

8.  Sum Up Broke - International Submarine Band
Gene Parsons fronted this band before he turned the Byrds 'country' on their "Sweetheart of the Rodeo" album.

9.  NSU (BBC live) - Cream
Blows the studio version out of the water.  (Here's another live version from the same era)

10.  I Won't Be The Same Without Her - The Warner Brothers
Obscure Chicago-area band doing a Carole King/Gerry Goffin tune on the Dunwich label.  The Monkees did it on their '69 album "Instant Replay" though it was recorded a couple years beforehand - I prefer the Warner Brothers' version.

11.  You Know What I Mean, The Turtles
Two minutes, three octaves, and one guitar unfolds into a full orchestra.  A knockout punch of psychedelic pop. 

12.  Dark-Eyed Woman - Spirit
Jazzy poppy psychedelia with a Latin touch.  Their big hit was "I Got A Line On You," and their signature visual element was their bald-headed middle-aged drummer Ed Cassidy (stepfather of the guitarist, the late Randy California), still active well into his 80's

13.  Desiree - The Left Banke
Baroque 'n' Roll from the band that gave us "Walk Away Renee."  Rumor has it that Steven Tyler sings backup on their later recordings. 

14.  Tu Veux Ou Tu Veux Pas - Brigitte Bardot
"Either You Want To Or You Don't" (or, Either You Want Me Or You Don't) - the French bombshell lover of Serge Gainsbourg presents her rather blasé ultimatum.

15.  Let Her Dance - Bobby Fuller Four
Bobby Fuller was a protegee of Buddy Holly and had a huge hit with "I Fought The Law" before dying mysteriously.  I love the intricate rhythms here.

16.  Only You (BBC live) - Fleetwood Mac
Danny Kirwan takes the mic for this one from the Peter Green era.  (Different live version)

17.  Splash 1 (Now I'm Home) - 13th Floor Elevators
Austin TX band fronted by the notoriously acid-damaged Roky Ericson. He got his stuff together lately and is recording again.

18.  Lord Knows I've Tried - Delbert McClinton
Somehow this Texas legend toured with the Beatles in their early days, taught harmonica to John Lennon, and apparently cut "This Boy" before they did.  This song haunts me, can't put my finger on it.  (Can't find it on Youtube, but here's a sample)

19.  Love in the City - The Turtles
Ray Davies of the Kinks produced this, one of my favorite tracks by the Turtles.  Love the la-la-la fadeout.

20.  Lady Friend - The Byrds
This song justifies David Crosby's existence on the planet.

21.  See My Way - Blodwyn Pig
Jethro Tull's original guitarist Mick Abrahams wasn't content to share the spotlight with Ian Anderson and left after their debut album to front this quartet.  Jack Lancaster's sax - and the bolero break near the end - kicks ass. (Live version from Beat Club)

22.  Follow Me - The Action
Mod cult heroes went largely unknown in their day, but their unreleased album sessions are brilliant.

23.  Legend of a Mind (BBC live) - Moody Blues
The Moody Blues, back in the day, could really deliver the goods onstage.  How to make a mellotron rock. (Alternate live version, not quite as good) (and here's another)

24.  Ding Dong, Ding Dong - George Harrison
A lovely but forgotten single from the early 70's - really, apart from Auld Lang Syne, how many New Years songs are there? Ring out the old, ring in the new...

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