Today I’m doing a set in the afternoon of nothing but Madonna dance mixes. In the past I have done complete two hour sets of Hip Hop, Trance and many other types of music. I think most people have figured out that I’m really a classic rock girl at heart but the question has come up more than once in private conversation… Sue, what music do you really like? What does DJ Sue listen to on her iPod when she is alone? In other words, what are my true musical tastes? I hope that this series will help you to get to know me better. I will bare my musical soul to you in hopes that I can find others like myself that have an appreciation for the psychedelic.
My greatest musical love, and what I listen to 75% of the time on my iPod, is late 60s psychedelic music. This type of music typically comes from 1966 to 1970 and is defined by certain elements. I am calling this first installment, “Farfisa and Fuzz,” because those are two of the elements that I feel define this genre of music.
The Farfisa Combo was an Italian made portable organ that became quite popular in the mid-60s. A good example of it can be found on Double Shot (Of My Baby’s Love) by the Swingin’ Medallions from 1966. It doesn’t have to be a Farfisa; Vox, Continental, and others soon came out with their versions, but the high pitched electric organ sound begun by Farfisa is an important element in creating the sound. Songs like Light My Fire by the Doors (1967) and Incense and Peppermints by the Strawberry Alarm Clock (1967) are great examples of the sound and showcase the organ prominently.
“Fuzz” describes a certain type of guitar distortion that was popular in the late 60s. A great example of this sound is the guitar on the Rolling Stone’s hit (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction. Like most guitar effects, the musician plugged his guitar into a box on the floor, which in turn got plugged into the amplifier. When he wanted to turn the effect on, he pressed the button on the box with his foot. (See the photo below.)
Another important element in this sound is reverb. Reverb is echo, but the kind of echo you get in a high school gymnasium. It helps give this music its other worldly sound. There is a story about a young engineer at International Artists Records a few years back. I’m not sure how true it is, but he decided to clean up all the distortion he found in the master tapes of a band from the late 1960s, the 13th Floor Elevators. After much effort, he managed to remove ALL of the reverb from the master recordings. In essence, he ruined precious master tapes by not understanding a musical genre from before he was born.
The final element I will discuss today is the outrageous names. There is no denying that this form of music is heavily associated with drugs, especially LSD. Many of the lyrics and song titles more than suggest this. The band names are very often psychedelic gems in themselves, like the following..
The Chocolate Watchband
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy
The Peanut Butter Conspiracy
The Electric Prunes
The 13th Floor Elevators
The Strawberry Alarm Clock
The Orange Wedge
This is just scratching the surface. I’m not sure why this music sings to my soul above all other types. That is a question I have been pondering for decades. Here are some songs that both touch my soul and are good examples of the elements I have outlined above. They are among my favorites. I will present them as a mini set during my show tomorrow (Monday) night. So put on those headphones and place that little paper square on your tongue. I’m going to take you on a journey through a few of my psychedelic favorites. Some may wonder what I see in this music. Others may find this a nostalgic trip back to a forgotten era. But I’m hoping that a few of you will see what I see and maybe share this great love of mine.
Strawberry Tuesday, the Sidewalk Skipper Band (1968)
I’m Not Like Everybody Else, the Chocolate Watchband (1967)
She’s Coming Home, the Blues Magoos (1966)
Sleep Like a Child, Andromeda (1969)
Incense and Peppermints, the Strawberry Alarm Clock (1967)Lose Your Mind, the Third Bardo (1967)
Please Note: My Monday set was dedicated to Rocky Horror and I lost track of that when I posted this. This Mini Set will be played on Wednesday, August 3.