Sixties – My favourite TV from the late sixties.

Sixties – My favourite TV from the late sixties.

51GKc+4W1pL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU02_

I wrote up my memories of the sixties in this book. It really catalogues what was going on from my perspective.

I don’t have a great deal of time for TV and I’ve never been avid about too much. When I left home to go to college in 1968 we did not have a TV at all and I did not miss it one bit.

The four programmes I had time for were:

The Prisoner – a series starring Patrick McGoohan. It was a surreal programme set in the most amazing background of Portmerion with its futuristic architecture. It was loosely concerned with a secret agent who tried to resign and a village that he was held prisoner in, guarded by a huge bubble called Rover. He could trust no one and could not escape as they tried to reintegrate him to society. In fact it was an allegory on the pervasive techniques of the establishment. Very rebellious. Roy Harper used it as inspiration for his fabulous McGoohan’s Blues.

Marty Feldman – who had a hour directly after the Prisoner of the zaniest comedy. He was very funny and socially motivated. Unfortunately, after appearing in a couple of Films (The Young Frankenstein being one) he died.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus – always coming from Left-field in the tradition of the Goons.

Not only…. But also Peter Cook and Dudley Moore – another zany and wild comedy act that poked fun at everything.

That’s all I can think of that I got into. Probably some of you can jog my memory on a few more.

Advertisements

Air – The Incredible String Band

Such a beautiful, uplifting song!

I do love the Incredible String Band. They were full of such vitality and positivity. It was such a shame how they broke up into such disharmony and rancour.

“Air” – Incredible String Band

Breathing, all creatures are
Brighter then than brightest star
You are by far

You come right inside of me
Close as you can be
You kiss my blood and the blood kiss me

Breathing, all creatures are
Brighter then than brightest star
You are by far

You come right inside of me
Close as you can be
You kiss my blood and the blood kiss me

The Acid Rock Scene of 1966-1967 – An extract from Rock Routes – a book on Rock Music by Opher Goodwin

Everything you ever wanted to know about Rock Music –

The Acid Rock Scene of 1966-1967

By 1966 the Hippie sub-culture of Haight-Ashbury had become more than a minor cult. It had begun to attract in huge numbers of followers and grown into a thriving community with idealistic aspirations and a peaceful message that was both simple and revolutionary and about to engulf the whole globe with its message of ‘Peace and Love’. Its bands were Country Joe & the Fish, Jefferson Airplane, It’s a Beautiful Day, Big Brother and the Holding Company (with Janis Joplin), Quicksilver Messenger Service, Blue Cheer and the Grateful Dead. A similar scene, with a slightly harder vibe, had grown up in Los Angeles involving Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa’s Mother’s of Invention, the Byrds, the Doors, Steppenwolf, and Love. While these scenes were largely autonomous there was a degree of interchange.

This came to be known as Acid Rock.

It was on the brink of exploding both on to the national charts and to rule the Underground Rock Scene.

The first thing you noticed about this style of music was the completely different sound created by the guitars. They soared, shrill with piercing energy. The second difference was in the lyrical content which was full of drug references, peace philosophy, politics and anti-war statements.

At the same time the British Underground was getting under way and the two scenes became intertwined, feeding off each other and vying to get further out. As the bands travelled, toured and intermingled they learnt from each other and despite their very different cultural and musical backgrounds began to get more and more closely aligned. They dug each other and were turned on by each other.

 

San Francisco

 

In San Francisco the top bands started getting recording contracts with the major record companies. The record companies had realised that there was a new scene to exploit and wanted in on the action. Unlike with earlier problems with groups like the Charlatans they began, mainly because nobody understood what to do with them, to be given a far greater freedom of expression in the studio. This enabled them to experiment and developed their sound even more. One of the first was Jefferson Airplane who featured Grace Slick on vocals. They played a Folksy Acid Rock on albums like Jefferson Airplane Takes Off, Surrealistic Pillow, After Bathing at Baxters, Crown of Creation, Bless its Little Pointed Head and Volunteers. Their double sided single ‘White Rabbit/Somebody to Love’ became massive. ‘White Rabbit’, with its Lewis Carrol allusions, was a classic LSD trip inspired song. The band reflected the current counter-culture philosophy and aligned itself fully with the culture it had emanated from. They performed at all major Haight-Ashbury events performing many free concerts in the Golden Gate Park. With their long hair, flowing multicoloured robes and ground-breaking light shows they set the scene.

Another big favourite was Country Joe and the Fish. They evolved out of the Instant Action Jug Band and were more overtly political right from the start with their ‘I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die Rag’, ‘Tricky Dickie’, ‘Superbird’, ‘The bomb song’, ‘Who am I’ and ‘Untitled protest’. Their act was also infused with druggie songs such as ‘Grace’ (about Grace Slick), ‘Janis’ (Janis Joplin), ‘Bass Strings’, ‘Magoo’, ‘The Marijuana chant’ and ‘The Acid Commercial’. They released three groundbreaking albums – ‘Electric Music for the body and mind’, ‘I feel like I’m fixin’ to die’ and ‘Together’ before running out of steam.

Big Brother & the Holding Company were one of the earliest bands on the scene but were pushed into the background as Janis Joplin, the lead singer, was given more prominence. They made early recordings without her and later ones after she’d gone that showed that they were a lot more than a mere backing band. Yet it was the album ‘Cheap Thrills’ with its cartoon cover featuring Janis singing numbers like Big Mama Thornton’s ‘Ball and Chain’ and the incredible ‘Piece of my heart’ that was their apotheosis.  Janis went on to have a tragically short solo career recording ‘Dem ol’ Kosmic Blues Again Mama’ and hits with numbers like ‘Me and Bobby McGhee’.

The Grateful Dead were legends before their time. They actually blended R&B and Country in their early incarnations and started as Mother McCrees Uptown Jug Champions before morphing into the R&B Warlocks and meeting up with Kesey for the Acid Tests. They epitomised the San Francisco philosophy, living in a house on the Haight in what was a commune, consuming shit-loads of drugs and devising a stage act with the state of the art light show, long improvised numbers complete with Jerry Garcia’s oscillating feedback. They gathered a fanatical following but somehow failed to capture the complete magic of their stage act on record; their best being ‘The Grateful Dead’, ‘Live Dead’ and ‘Anthem of the Sun’.

Blue Cheer was a heavy unit named after a brand of LSD produced by Owsley. They were part of the heavy, psyched out power trio style that spawned Heavy Metal. Their extremely heavy version of Eddie Cochran’s ‘Summertime Blues’ was the highlight of their first album Vincebus Eruptum.

The Quicksilver Messenger Service produced long psychedelic improvised versions of R&B numbers like Bo Diddley’s ‘Mona’ and the wonderful ‘Who do you love’. Their apotheosis was the album ‘Happy Trails’. After that they suffered a number of drug busts and the band fell apart.

Moby Grape was created by Skip Spence who was the Jefferson Airplane’s original drummer and was launched on a major hype. They had a huge party complete with the handing out of gimmicks and decals to signal the release of their album and simultaneous release of all ten tracks as 5 singles. All five flopped and they suffered a loss of street cred from which they never recovered.

 

Los Angeles

 

The LA music scene was centred on the Sunset Strip with a number of small clubs like London Fog, Ciros and the Whiskey a Go Go. The alternative community would travel in from centres like Venice in order to sample the wares of these Acid Rock Bands.

One of the earliest bands on the scene were Captain Beefheart and His Magic and. The Captain – Don Van Vliet – had been to school with Frank Zappa. They’d formed a leather-jacketed R&B/Doo-Wop band in the late 1950s which had terrorised everyone and got nowhere.

He changed his name to Captain Beefheart (from a musical play he put together with Frank Zappa) put together the Magic Band and had a minor hit with Bo Diddley’s ‘Diddy Wah Diddy’ in 1965. Their early style was very Blues based but was also extremely original and his stage act at that time can be heard on the Mirrorman album which was released in 1969. Beefheart’s voice was said to be the most powerful in Rock with its huge range. The first album featured Ry Cooder on guitar and was called Safe as Milk. They followed up with Strictly Personal with its much debated psychedelic phasing and released the incredible Trout Mask Replica produced by Frank Zappa – probably the most innovative album of all time. Beefheart claimed that the music came out of the dessert and that none of the musicians could play and that he’d taught them from scratch so that they could play this new type of music. He claimed that experienced musicians could not be trained to play this way. All of the band were given new names – Zoot Horn Rollo, Rockette Morton, Drumbo, Winged Eel Fingerling, Mascara Snake and Antennae Jimmy Semens. Trout Mask Replica was the result of the band being isolated in a big house and practicing endlessly for hour after hour. Don was not weird. He only called in a tree surgeon because he was concerned that the music might be having a detrimental effect on the trees around the house who might get frightened of the loud music. He also claimed to have written all the songs on the double album in one day. When sarcastically asked why it had taken him so long he replied that he wrote them on the piano and he’d never played a piano before. The band was one of the most brilliant, weird and exciting live acts. The standard of brilliance lasted right through to 1980, despite Don’s reputation as being impossible to work with and a changing set of musicians. Don then went off to have a second career as an artist.

The Mothers of Invention were another early band and the brain-child of Frank Zappa. One of his early incarnations was a band he formed in 1964 called Soul Giants. He was always messing about with sound in his home-made studio but following a run-in with the Vice Squad over the manufacture of a sex tape that earned him three years of probation and furnished him with the Suzy Creamcheese idea. The Mothers, as they were originally called before the record company added the ‘Of Invention’ in order to avoid any suggestion of offensiveness, were an outrageous group of individuals who used theatre, satire, and strong political overtones flouting all conventions in the process. Uniquely their roots were not so much in R&B but a strange mixture of 1950s Doo-Wop, avante-garde experimental classical and sleazy Jazz. Their first two albums were ‘Freak-Out’ and ‘Absolutely Free’ and featured a variety of tracks such as ‘Who are the Bain Police?’ and the satirical ‘Brown Shoes don’t make it’. Their outstanding masterpiece was ‘We’re only in it for the money’ which was a gatefold take-off of Srgt Peppers featuring the band in drag. It sent up the whole hippie phenomenon with ‘Hey Punk’ and had numerous other highly original tracks along with a unique cut up presentation.

The Byrds started out based at Ciros on the Strip and broke nationally with their FolkRock electrical presentations of Dylan numbers in 1965. By 1966 they were entrenched in the counter-culture with a series of psychedelic albums like Fifth Dimension, Younger than Yesterday and Notorious Byrd Brothers and druggie singles like ‘8 miles high’. They were an important precursor to the whole West Coast sound as well as stimulating Dylan to turn electric. They then went on to unfortunately add Gram Parson’s to their line-up to pave the way for Country Rock putting an end to their psychedelic brilliance. The Notorious Byrd Brothers was their apotheosis.

Love formed in LA in 1965 out of a Garage Punk Band called Grass Roots and were the first of the new Acid Rock Bands to get themselves signed up to a major company – the highly rated Elektra. They were a strange mixture of aggressive Punk sound and light almost folksy melodies. They released four brilliant albums – Love, Da Capo, Forever Changes and Four Sail and achieved moderate commercial success. The song writing of Bryan Maclean and Arthur Lee created a range of incredible songs that ranged from punchy hard hitting to mellow and beautiful. Their album ‘Forever Changes’ is consistently voted one of the best of all time. They were torn apart by heroin addiction and Arthur went on to serve a long jail sentence for fire-arm offences.

The Doors were formed after a chance meeting between Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek on Venice beach in 1965. Jim was studying film at UCLA and Ray already had a band called Rick and the ravens. Ray was greatly impressed with Jim’s poetry and philosophy and they put the band together. The name – the Doors – was taken from Aldous Huxley’s ‘Doors of Perception’ which in turn was borrowed from William Blake’s poem ‘The Marriage of Heaven & Hell’. Jim had this idea that you could break through this mirage of reality into a greater reality. He certainly tried his hardest to test the limits of his mind with acid, hash and alcohol.

Their music was a fusion of Jazz, Rock and Blues featuring Robbie Kreiger’s unique slide guitar sound while Manzarek not only did the swirly organ bits but also provided the intricate bass lines. Robbie Densmore was an extremely inventive drummer who provided a range of interesting rhythms, including Latin American. The result of marrying Jim’s poetry to this was an extremely varied style. They could produce driving Rock and heavy Blues as well as long extended psychedelic stuff all very listenable and commercially successful while containing an edge that kept them at the forefront of the counter-culture. They were extreme and dangerous if a little unpredictable.

They quickly gained a residency at the London Fog on the Sunset Strip and quickly moved on to take over the Whiskey A Go Go. They built up a strong following who were enthralled with their performances while driving the management bananas in fear of getting themselves closed down because of Jim’s use of expletives and extreme content and behaviour. Jim was often very stoned or drunk and tried to push things further ad further creating his Greek Adonis stage act to elongated freaked out Blues numbers and Jim’s poetic interpretations of his own epic stuff such as ‘The End’, ‘Break on through to the other side’ and ‘When the Music’s over’.

The lyrics Jim produced were extremely erotic and Jim’s stage act was often spellbinding. The band had a strong political sense that came through strongly on numbers like ‘Unknown Soldier’ and ‘Five to one’.

They became signed to the prestigious Elektra label and released a number of excellent albums and singles – ‘The Doors’, ‘Strange Days’, ‘Waiting for the sun’, ‘The Soft Parade’ and ‘Morrison Hotel’. Jim got himself charged with lewd behaviour and incitement to riot after seemingly exposing himself on stage. His subsequent death in Paris was shrouded in mystery. He is supposed to have died in the bath from alcohol or drugs or heart failure or even electrocution from an electric fire that was accidentally knocked into the water. We’ll never know because a doctor quickly filled out the death certificate without carrying out a post mortem and he was buried the next day before anyone actually saw the body. It sparked tales of Jim, having become disillusioned with the life of a Rock Star, engineering the whole thing and taking himself off to Africa in complete anonymity.

The Doors were probably the most successful of all the Acid Rock Bands.

Buffalo Springfield was also formed in Los Angeles in 1965 when Folk musicians Stephen Stills, Neil Young, and Ritchie Furay met up and decided to form a band. Legend has it that Stills and Furay were stuck in a traffic jam on an LA Freeway and saw Neil’s hearse up ahead and jumped out of their ca to run over to him and get him to join. Neil had come down from Canada to Los Angeles to find them but had been unable to make contact and had decided to head back to Canada. They took their name from the manufacturer of a steamroller that was working in the road outside where they were staying. Buffalo Springfield were launched on to the LA Scene. They were immediately successful and got signed up to release 3 albums before friction between Stills and Young broke them up. Their most successful songs were ‘For what it’s worth’, ‘Broken arrow’, Expecting to fly’, ‘Bluebird’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll woman’ and ‘Mr Soul’.

The death of Buffalo Springfield signalled the birth of Crosby, Stills and Nash. This happened when Stills got together with David Crosby from the Byrds and Graham Nash from the Hollies at John Sebastian’s house. They started jamming around and found that their harmonies really gelled. Graham had come across to the West Coast after getting fed up with the Hollies commercial trivia and leapt at the opportunity to get his teeth into something more substantial. This new ‘supergroup’ made its debut at the infamous Woodstock festival.

CSN had two sides; the first was acoustic and the second was electric. For the electric style they opted to bring Neil Young into the fold to form Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. They reflected the times with their ‘Wooden ships’ and version of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’. With Neil Young they came up with strong songs like ‘Ohio’ and ‘Chicago’.

 

Artist Stand out tracks
Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band Abba Zabba

Grow Fins

Yellow brick road

Safe as milk

Electricity

Drop out boogie

Zig Zag wanderer

Ah feel like ahcid

Safe as milk

Trust us

On tomorrow

Gimme that harp boy

Moonlight on Vermont

Dachau Blues

Ella Guru

The blimp

Steal softly through snow

She’s too much for my mirror

Veteran’s day poppy

Hobo chang ba

Smithsonian Institute Blues

Jefferson Airplane Somebody to love

White rabbit

Let’s get together

Plastic fantastic lover

She has funny cars

The ballad of you and me and Pooneil

Crown of creation

Lather

Triad

We can be together

Volunteers

Good shepherd

The son of Jesus

Blue Cheer Summertime Blues

The hunter

Mothers of Invention Help I’m a rock

What’s the ugliest part of your body

Who are the brain police

Brown shoes don’t make it

Call any vegetable

Concentration moon

Who are the brain police

You’re probably wondering why I’m here

Plastic people

Call any vegetable

The idiot bastard son

Let’s make the water turn black

Take your clothes off when you dance

Harry you’re a beast

The way I see it Barry

My guitar wants to kill your mama

Willie the pimp

Lonesome cowboy Burt

I’m the slime

Dinah-Moe Humm

Debra Kedabra

Muffin man

Sam with the showing flat top

Poofter’s Froth Wyoming plans ahead

Titties and beer

Cosmic debris

Don’t eat the yellow snow

Quicksilver Messenger Service Mona

Who do you love

Happy trails

Buffalo Springfield For What its worth

Mr Soul

Expecting to fly

Broken arrow

Rock ‘n’ Roll woman

Bluebird

Flying on the ground is wrong

Burned

Nowadays Clancy can’t even sing

Hung upside down

Rock ‘n’ Roll Woman

Expecting to fly

I am a child

Bluebird

Doors Love me two times

Moonlight drive

The crystal ship

The end

Gloria

Back door man

Break on through (to the other side)

Soul kitchen

Strange days

You’re lost little girl

People are strange

Unhappy girl

When the music’s over

My eyes have seen you

Hello I love you

Love street

The unknown soldier

Not to touch the earth

Five to one

My wild love

Wild child

Wishful sinful

Shaman Blues

The soft parade

Maggie McGill

Peace Frog

Waiting for the sun

The changeling

Love her madly

Crawling kingsnake

Grateful Dead Goodmorning little school girl

Sitting on top of the world

Born cross-eyed

St Stephen

Cosmic Charlie

Dark star

The eleven

Uncle John’s band

Casey Jones

Sugar Magnolia

Truckin’

Box of rain

Playing in the band

Big Brother & the Holding Company Piece of my heart

Ball and chain

Down on me

Summertime

I need a man to love

Country Joe & the Fish Janis

Grace

I Feel like I’m fixing to die rag

Who am I?

Magoo

Untitled protest

Not so sweet Martha Lorraine

Porpoise mouth

Superbird

Bass strings

Pat’s song

Colors for Susan

Susan

Rock & Soul music

Bright Suburban Mr & Mrs Clean Machine

Byrds 8 miles high

I wasn’t born to follow

Dolphin smile

So you want to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll star

Chymes of freedom

All I really want to do

Mr Tambourine man

Turn Turn Turn

Lay down your weary tune

He was a friend of mine

5D (fifth dimension)

John Riley

Everybody’s been burned

My back pages

The girl with no name

Have you seen her face

Artificial energy

Triad

Tribal gathering

Goin’ back

Change is now

Dolphin’s smile

Space odyssey

Draft morning

Nothing was delivered

This wheel’s on fire

Deportee

Ballad of easy rider

It’s all over now baby blue

Lover of the bayou

Positively Fourth Street

Love Alone again or

My little red book

Mushroom clouds

My flash on you

A message to pretty

Signed D.C.

7 and 7 is

Stephanie knows who

Orange skies

She comes in colours

Alone again or

A house is not a motel

Andmoreagain

Live and let live

The daily planet

Bummer in the summer

You set the scene

Singing cowboy

Crosby, Stills Nash & Young Wooden ships

Ohio

Teach your children well

Suite: Judy blue eyes

Chicago

Woodstock

Guinevere

Helplessly hoping

Long time gone

Carry on

Almost cut my hair

Helpless

Our house

Just a song before you go

The lee shore

4 + 20

Wasted on the way

Find the cost of freedom

Janis Joplin Kosmic Blues Band/Full Tilt Boogie Band Kozmic blues

Try (just a little bit harder)

To love somebody

Mercedes Benz

Me and Bobby Mcghee

Cry baby

Everything you ever wanted to know about Rock Music!

If you would like to purchase this book in either digital or paperback it is available on Amazon.

In the UK:

 

In the USA :

Opher Goodwin

More about Acid Rock Precursors – an extract from Rock Routes – a book on Rock Music by Opher Goodwin.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Rock Music.

More about Acid Rock Precursors

As early as 1965 there was a pre-hippy community on the West Coast and in Texas. They had really long hair, wore granny dresses, bright clothes and tended to look like a cross between Western Desperados and Civil War escapees. They were a radical bunch who was looking to establish an alternative life-style. They became strongly involved in the Anti-War movement and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee which had evolved out of the Civil Rights Movement and involved the leadership of Stokely Carmichael. At the time they were very much a minority cult but the philosophy and attitudes were well evolved. They were an extremely fun-loving bunch. In those days it was not easy for such a non-conventional bunch to live in amongst straight society. They experienced a great degree of harassment and even danger from the more red-necked members of the community they lived within.

Owing to their student status and free-wheeling lifestyle, meaning that they were not very well heeled, they tended to congregate in the run-down areas of more tolerant regions. There were contingents in New York (Greenwich Village), Texas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. New York started out with the Lovin’ Spoonful leading the way but they were left in the wake of the Byrds from LA.

The Haight-Ashbury area was organised by the Family Dog who were a group of socially motivated organisers from the community. They organised a set of dances, on similar lines to ‘The Trip’ in New York that had nurtured the emergence of the Lovin’ Spoonful, complete with Light Shows and suitable music for the embryonic Freak Culture. The Family Dog set about hiring a large Hall in the Fisherman’s Wharf area of the city that went by the name of ‘The Longshoreman’s Hall’.

Their first venture was aptly called ‘A Tribute to Doctor Strange’ and featured prototype Acid Rock Bands like Jefferson Airplane, Charlatans, Marbles, and The Great Society. The music was loud, distorted, electronic and attracted in crowds of colourful long-haired kids from the newly established alternative culture of Haight-Ashbury. They sported their weird costumes with great glee, festooned with SNCC and Peace decals. These Hippies then proceeded to get down to the business of letting it all go by dancing their individualistic free-form dances and having a ball. It was a resounding success.

The following day the same crowd of revellers took place in a Peace March on the Oakland Army Depot. It was a march that featured the antics of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, the Hell’s Angels and the Instant Action Jug Band led by Country Joe. It was this association of social and political activity with the music scene that was to give rise to the 1960s counter-culture and the Acid Rock Scene. A generation inspired by Bob Dylan’s social message was beginning to awaken and come to life.

Family Dog followed this up with a second two weeks later importing the Lovin’ Spoonful. What followed was a chain of events involving the San Franciscan Mime Troupe who were a group of poets and actors who were run by none other than Bill Graham. They had regularly performed their controversial happenings in the Golden Gate Park and often run into conflict with the police and public due to their frequent use of obscenities. This had led to arrests and heavy fines. In order to pay for these fines Bill had organised a benefit for the troupe. It was to be a Rock Concert on the lines of the Longshoreman’s Hall gigs and featured Jefferson Airplane, the Great Society, the V.I.P.s, Warlocks, Mystery Trend, Gentlemen’s Band and the John Handy Jazz Quintet. This benefit was publicised by Bob Dylan himself who happened to be in the Bay area on the first of his electric tours. It was to be held in the now infamous Fillmore Auditorium. The hall was done out with bright decorations and huge signs at each end saying ‘LOVE’ in typical Freak fashion. It attracted myriads of proto-Freaks.

Following this the San Franciscan scene really began to gel. Bill Graham became a Rock promoter. Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters added to the looniness of the times, along with Neil Cassady who had been a consort of Jack Kerouac. The Warlocks had graduated through the Acid Tests (Acid supplied by Owsley) to become The Grateful Dead. The Acid Tests, complete with Warlock feed-back, ranting from Cassady courtesy of Lady Amphetamine, poetry reading from Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Street theatre sideshows from the San Franciscan Mime Troupe, strobe lighting, and general madness from the Pranksters and audience set the tone for what was to follow. There were inputs from the Seeds (all the way from LA), Chocolate Watch Band, Count Five, Beau Brummels, Golliwogs, Sopwith Camel, Mojo Men, Vejtables, Chosen Few and the Tikis.

The small cult community was happening and began to blossom and attract in more like-minded people. By 1966 it had developed into what became known as ‘The Trips Festival’ and all the groundwork had been laid for the explosion of the sound onto the national scene in that stupendous Summer of Love in 1967.

Was it possible that Rock Music could end war, liberate minds, put a stop to poverty and injustice ad save the world?

 

Everything you ever wanted to know about Rock Music!

If you would like to purchase this book in either digital or paperback it is available on Amazon.

In the UK:

 

In the USA :

Opher Goodwin

Acid Rock – the US Underground 1966-71 – From Rock Routes – a book on Rock Music by Opher Goodwin.

Everything you always wanted to know about Rock Music.

Acid Rock – the US Underground 1966-71

 

The Acid Rock scene was an intellectual form of music closely associated with the student protest movement and largely evolving out of the Folk scene. It was very political with anti-war and social emphasis and closely allied to the drug culture with its use of psychedelics like LSD, Psilocybin and marijuana – hence the term Acid Rock.

The music itself was experimental and very much concerned with the creation of new sounds, texture and tones. It developed into long drawn-out jams, with use of feedback and distortion, which interacted with the drug state of the audience and reflected the state of mind everyone was in. Freaks claimed that the only way to really appreciate it was to light a spliff, line up the speakers and sit back in your armchair with yours eyes shut.

There was a relationship with British Psychedelia and the two certainly fed off each other, each scene vying to see who could get furthest out; the weirder the better. Great expectations rose for each new release as everyone thrilled to see what new wonders were about to be unveiled. Was the Beatles new album going to match up to the new Doors effort? Were the Stones totally outstripped by Beefheart or the Airplane?

There were two centres of focus for the Acid Rock Scene and both had different origins and different styles that reflected the different vibe of the environment they developed in. In San Francisco it was focussed on the Haight-Ashbury area and in Los Angeles it was Venice and Sunset Boulevard. Freaks migrated to these areas in great numbers to set up short-lived viable communities. In the early days, before it decayed into junkies and pan-handling, there were vibrant community activities and a great convivial, creative spirit engendered in the 1967 Summer of Love. It was quite an ephemeral time peaking in 1967 and 1968 and trailing off into 1971 by which time the place was inundated with pseudo-hippies, junkies, teenage runaways, dogs, swindlers and tourists.

During 1967 so much good music was produced.

The music itself evolved out the Garage Punk scene and the Folk scene. In the early 1960s following the strangling of Rock ‘n’ Roll Pop music became rather trivial. Folk music, being vital and intellectual following the emergence of Bob Dylan, became the only direction for a musician with brains and many talented youngsters headed off in that direction. The West Coast received its fair share of these Folk musicians and they became involved with the social and political turmoil of the area with its tolerant bohemianism and the burgeoning drug culture. Stanley Owsley AKA ‘Bear’ was a young rogue underground chemistry who had started manufacturing LSD while it was still legal in 1965. Owsley became heavily involved with the Grateful Dead when they were the Warlocks and ended up supplying most of the LSD to all the Acid Rock Bands in the area. He was renowned for its purity and strength. Blue Cheer were named after a favourite variety. Strawberry Fields was another variety.

Following the British Beat invasion of 1964 there was a resurgence on interest in Rock and following the success of the Searchers folk style with ‘What have they done to the rain’ and ‘Where have all the flowers gone’ and the Animal’s ‘House of the Rising son’ (Them did a version of Bob Dylan’s ‘It’s all over now Baby Blue on their second album) other bands started turning to Folk. The first of these were Manfred Mann and the Byrds who both turned to Bob Dylan for inspiration.

The area was full of Garage Punk Bands churning out R&B adapted from the British sound. With the introduction of LSD they moved into Psychedelic Punk so that by 1966 there were basically two varieties. There were the ones that had moved in from Garage such as the Seeds, Chocolate Watch Band, Count Five and Electric Prunes and there were the lighter Folkier sounds of FolkRock.

From the Garage side developed bands like the Doors, Captain Beefheart, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The American Four, Beau Brummels and Grateful Dead while from the Folkier side there were Grace Slick and the Great Society, Buffalo Springfield, Country Joe and the Fish, the Rising Sons, and the Charlatans. Frank Zappa and the Mothers were fairly unique being heavily influenced by Doo-Wop, parody and theatre.

The Warlocks were typical of the R&B side. They started life as a R&B group and were taken on the road with the Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters to provide free-flowing distorted, feedback jams as a background to the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Tests. They evolved into an Acid Rock band. Grace Slick took her songs into the fledgling Jefferson Airplane and they took off from their folksy sound to become a driving Acid Band. The American Four evolved into Love with its Punky first album. The Rising Sons spawned both Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal. Country Joe and the Fish evolved out of the Country Joe Jug Band.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Rock Music!

If you would like to purchase this book in either digital or paperback it is available on Amazon.

In the UK:

 

In the USA :

Opher Goodwin

Rock Routes – Later Sixties New York Scene – a Book on Rock Music by Opher Goodwin.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Rock Music!

Later New York Scene

 

The New York street culture was very different to the more laid-back style of the West Coast San Franciscan scene. New York was urban, bleak and tough. Here the underground seemed a long way from the Peace and Love of San Francisco. The alternative culture here was more likely to be based round crime, prostitution, homosexuality, transvestism and hard drugs. The music would be harsher to reflect this.

The Velvet Underground, Fugs and Holy Modal Rounders reflected this. The Fugs, who took their name from the William Golding novel ‘Lord of the Flies’, started up in 1963 and were a left-over bunch of Beat Poets and Film makers from Greenwich Village who at times incorporated the Beat poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso. They finally settled around a nucleus of Ed Sanders, Tuli Kupferberg and Ken Weaver. They set out to outrage and subvert pushing back the boundaries of sex, drugs and social politics. Right from the start they adopted street theatre and extreme appearance to shock the establishment and push the boundaries. They made the Mothers of Invention look extremely sophisticated. They set out to protest about the war and celebrate sex under the slogan ‘Grope for Peace’. Their album ‘The Fugs’ was ground-breaking and their 1968 album ‘It crawled into my hand, honest’ was one of the great albums.

The Velvet Underground were the house band at Andy Warhol ‘The Exploding Inevitable’. They were an amazing diverse collection of individuals – the German Model – Nico – the Garage Punk – Lou Reed – the guitarist – Sterling Morrison – the Avante-Garde classically trained musician – John Cale – and the female drummer – Mo Tucker. The intermingling of John Cale’s weirdness to the Garage Punk of Lou’s song writing, with Nico’s drawled and heavily accented vocals, held together by Sterling and Mo created a unique sound that was to prove extremely influential to the future Punk sound of the mid 1970s New Wave. The subject matter was to do with heroin, transvestism and sado-masochism.

The Holy Modal Rounders (Peter Stampfel & Steve Weber) started life as a Folk Blues duo, then joined up with the Fugs and reformed in the late 60s as a Psychedelic Folk band. Their music was featured on a couple of tracks in Easy Rider.

 

Artist Stand out tracks
Velvet Underground Heroin

Waiting for the man

Run run run

White light white heat

Sunday morning

I’ll be your mirror

There she goes again

All tomorrow’s parties

Venus in furs

Femme fatal

Here she comes now

Candy says

Pale blue eyes

Beginning to see the light

Sweet Jane

Fugs Boobs a lot

Kill for peace

Wide wide river

Doing alright

Dirty old man

I couldn’t get high

Nothing

My baby done left me

Slum Goddess

War kills babies

Supergirl

Coca cola douche

Saran Wrap

Turn on Tune in Drop out

Life is strange

Johnny Pissoff  meets the red angel

Life is funny

Crystal Liaison

Marijuana

The divine toe

Holy Modal Rounders Don’t Bogart that joint

The STP song

The Bird song

Soldiers joy

Everything you ever wanted to know about Rock Music!

If you would like to purchase this book in either digital or paperback it is available on Amazon.

In the UK:

 

In the USA :

Opher Goodwin

 

 

The greatest Sixties Mod Bands of the Sixties!!

Along with the Merseybeat and R&B bands that sparked up in the sixties there were a lot of Mod Bands that were delivering their own distinctive brand of mainly self-penned tunes.

Mods liked fashion – smart appearance – girls with short hair, plastic macs, plastic minis, contrasting colours, black and white. They liked R&B and Ska.

Leading the way were the Who (formerly the Detours doing a brand of R&B). They took on a distinctive Mod fashion (Union Jack, roundels, Italian suits, parkas, layered hair, lambrettas etc) and developed their new vocabulary (faces, numbers, purple hearts). With numbers like I Can’t Explain, My Generation and Anyway, Anyhow Anywhere. They blew everyone away.

Up with them were the Smallfaces with What’ya Gonna Do About it? and Sha-la-la-la-lee.

It included the Kinks with their red hunting frock coats and frills with numbers like You Really Got Me and All Day and All Of the Night.

Then there were the Birds, Paramounts, Sorrows, Action, Creation and Poets.

As the Mod movement got going bands like the Stones, Yardbirds, Pretty Things and Animals took on more of a Mod appearance and moved away from the Blues.

Mod became the prevailing sound in the mid-sixties! Though in the States it really did not seem to develop as a style.

A Bedford van around Europe – anecdote

A Bedford van around Europe

 

There were four of us: my wife Liz, my friend Pete and his new wife Julia. We aimed to travel round Europe for the summer. Pete had bought an old Bedford Van and we worked out a loose itinerary.

We set off in our beat-up van with four bunks and basic stove much to the bemusement of Julia’s parents. We gathered that it wasn’t quite their idea of a honeymoon.

All went well. We caught the ferry and toodled around France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. In Paris we discovered the disadvantages of not having a toilet on board. The cafés wouldn’t let you use the toilet unless you bought something. First thing in the morning was fun – ordering coffee cross-legged.

The plan was then to head down to the tip of Italy, ferry across to Greece and work our way back through Yugoslavia. That did not work quite to plan.

Italy was great. We took the scenic route on the old road, up and down mountains on the windy road. We had time and saw all the little villages. Besides, we did not have money for the tolls.

At the top of a mountain the van would not start. We tried rolling it down and bump-starting it but it still would not catch. In the end we free-wheeled it down the mountain to the little village at the bottom. It was a bit hairy hurtling round the corners with no engine engaged. The van veered around a little and leaned rather precariously. But we got down in one piece, free-wheeled as far as possible and pushed it to a little garage in the centre of the village fronting on to the sea.

The mechanics, who could not speak a word of English, seemed quite amused at the sight of a quaint old Bedford van with its four colourfully attired, long-haired characters. The sixties had not yet arrived in this part of Italy. But they were very friendly. They helped push the van on to the ramp and began pulling the engine to bits.

In the afternoon, with bits of engine all over the place, one of the mechanics managed to explain that we had burnt a valve out and that they would have to order a part from England. That would take a week.

That was a bit of a bummer. That was our home he was talking about.

We were homeless.

We managed to convey this to the mechanics who kept smiling and shaking their heads.

It seemed that they were happy for us to live in the van up on the ramp in their garage. They let us use their toilet and sink.

All was good. We had our home back.

For a week we lived on a ramp in an Italian garage. All day we’d mess about on the beach and in the sea and at night they’d wave to us and lock us in for the night.

I can imagine the tales and gossip concerning the four British Hippies living in their garage. They found it very amusing.

The part duly arrived. The van was mended and we resumed our adventure. Pisa, Venice, Rome and Florence were all, strangely, extremely Italian and different. We couldn’t afford to eat much, even the starters in the restaurants were beyond our means, but feasted on melon and fruit.

There was no time to go to Greece though.

We saved that for another day and headed back to spend a few days in Paris.

 

In the UK – paperback and digital:

In the USA in both paperback and digital:

Long Hair and the Sixties

Long Hair and the Sixties

 

This was the time of long hair and flares. We were the rebels in the school. The establishment was finding it hard to deal with us.

In the early part of the sixties I was sent home for having trousers that were too tight or too low. As the sixties progressed I began to get sent home for having trousers that were too wide and too low. I had a liking for hipster flares. The girls had to kneel down in assembly to have their skirts measured to see if they were too short. There was much pulling down and adjusting prior to assemblies and pulling up and readjusting afterwards too.

Clothing was one thing but the major bugbear with the boys was hair. The school rules for boys were that your hair should not touch your ears or your collar. Clearly this was ridiculous. My hair covered my ears and was down to my shoulders. I certainly wasn’t giving in with regard to what I considered to be petty rules. Consequently I spent a lot of time at home. My parents eventually negotiated a truce. The school grudgingly turned a blind eye to my hair as long as it wasn’t too ridiculous. We made a compromise.

Then there was the business of beards and sideburns. You were not allowed to have a beard and your sideburns were not meant to be below your earlobes. Well I grew my first beard at the age of fourteen. After that it was growing time every holiday. I would return with my new beard each term and we would play a little game. The Deputy Head, one Miss Mclouchlan, would hunt me down and I’d hide until caught. It was a game. I’d see how long I could get away with it. On one occasion I was peering round a corner in the corridor when there was a tap on my shoulder.

‘Looking for someone?’ Miss McLouchlan enquired.

I was send home and told not to come back until I’d shaved off my beard. After three weeks the twagman came round to find out why I had been off school.

‘I was told not to go back until I had shaved my beard off,’ I explained to him pointing to my chin. ‘I haven’t shaved it off yet.’

On another occasion I was sent home to shave it off. I shaved an inch strip down my chin and went back.

‘I thought I told you to shave that beard off!’ Miss McLouchlan boomed.

‘I have,’ I explained, indicating my sideburns and moustache. ‘These are my siddies and this is a moustache. For some reason she was not amused.

I wonder what she would have made of me becoming a Headteacher?

Poetry – Allen Ginsberg and seeing the light – an anecdote

Poetry – Allen Ginsberg and seeing the light

 

Poetry was destroyed for me by school. Firstly in Primary school there was the emphasis on memorising great chunks of turgid verse.

Each week we would be given a long poem by Wordsworth or Tennyson to learn by heart. You were called to stand and recite a verse. If you had not learnt it you had to stay in and miss your Physical Exercise. Now PE was something I really looked forward to and although I had a good memory I could not always be bothered to memorise the meaningless drivel, which is what most of the poetry seemed to be to my young ears. Many were the afternoons I spent watching morosely out of the window while the rest of the class were outside enjoying themselves.

Poetry did not get much better in Secondary school. We analysed the metre, rhyme and metaphor until the whole process was just a bore, a mechanical process devoid of passion. I did not want it any more. The only highlight was the whole class excitedly chanting the Jumblies.

Poetry was moribund. It was the stuff of the old and dreary. It had no connection with my life or the world I inhabited. This was the sixties. There was loud music, parties, girls, motorbikes and excitement. Who cared about daffodils? I was young, wild and drinking in life. All that stuff pertained to a boring old world of long ago.

Then a friend gave me a copy of Howl. I was seventeen and the words leapt out at me. We were up against the establishment; a mouldering old set of values, a dreary, grey bunch of old fogies who were shoving careers and exams down our throats, who wanted us to settle down in suburbia, mow our grass, wash our cars and have two babies just like they had done. It wasn’t a vision that appealed. It looked drab. We were screaming for colour!!

We were alive and wanted to live, to burn and to run free. We didn’t want shackles, restraints and cages.

The establishment hounded us from all sides and we laughed in their face.

Suddenly there was a poem for us, for the rebels. I saw the best minds of my generation trying to smash out of the cage, trying to piss in their petrol tanks, put sand in their gear-boxes. We didn’t not want a passport into that mortuary they inhabited. We wanted to live.

Allen Ginsberg – here was a guy I could understand.

I’d been bopping through those same negro nights, high on life, talking my head off, shouting up at the stars, drunk on being.

I devoured Howl like it was ambrosia from the gods.

I had discovered Allen Ginsberg. Poetry had come alive. We were all angel-headed hipsters looking for a mystical connection to the universe; wanting to make sense of it all.

Life was a wild journey and we had to wring every last drop out of it.

No more lawns to mow, cars to wash or careers to follow – this was a mad saxophone wail into the torment of the cosmos and I wanted my soul to be in that wail. I wanted to live.

There was a mind to explore, limits to transgress and all possibility to challenge.

I knew I had people to meet, places to go and minds to explore. There was ecstasy out there. There was truth, Zen and a whole teeming inferno to discover!

I had discovered Allen Ginsberg and he had opened my eyes.

Poetry was communication on a level that made sense at last!

Poetry could be about real life!

Poetry had passion!

In the UK – paperback and digital:

In the USA in both paperback and digital: