Dr. John, the Night Tripper (1968) Gris-Gris (LP) Atco 33-234

Dr. John, the Night Tripper



Atco 33-234

Produced by Harold Battiste

**** recommended

Debut long player from the Doctor, the Night Tripper, produced and partially written by the legendary New Orleans native Harold Battiste, acid R&B, slow-crawling psychedelic nightmares, creeping from the swamps of Louisiana, cooked up in the Gold Star kitchens of the City of Angels, pots and pan acid batch bubbling voodoo, American as gumbo stew, jumping up on second-line hind legs for the “Jump Sturdy” strut down the street…tribal and influential, essential.

Almost not released by Atlantic and mostly ignored by the public (but likely noticed by the avant-garde element of LA who likely had influenced the Nighttripper), this recording eventually went on to take its rightful place in the annals of American music.

Even if you end up not digging it for days, everybody should at least give it a listen…sit in the dark and let your head spin around Jupiter…take a night trip through American history.

— winch (author of

link to sellers (LP, cassette, CD, download, streaming):

The Doors

The Doors
The Doors
Elektra (74007)
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Engineer: Bruce Botnick
Rating: **** (Recommended)
Released March 1967, reached #1 (ignored in UK)

Debut from this outfit, its blues-based sound pure L.A., a refreshing alternative to the meandering California psychedelic from Frisco.  While it gets a bit silly at times, they always manage to pull out the slack, laying down a string of solid cuts that conclude with the epic “The End.”  While, they had several solid sets, this debut was one of their best.  It serves as a good intro to this band, and it’s essential listening for fans.

— winch

The Doors
Waiting For the Sun
Elektra (74024)
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Engineer: Bruce Botnick
Rating: *** (Noteworthy)
Released August 1968 (September in the UK), reached #1 (#16 in the UK)

While this L.A. outfit had a strong beginning, cracks begin to show with this third set.  Much of the material has a dreary feel to it, perhaps capturing not only the strain of fame on this band, but also the wilting of the flowers from the summer of love.  Like all their 60s albums, this has its moments, but it’s their weakest album with Morrison.

— winch

The Doors
The Soft Parade
Elektra (75005)
Producer: Paul Rothchild
Engineer: Bruce Botnick
Rating: **** (Recommended)

Released August 1969 (September in the UK), reached #6 (ignored in the UK)

Perhaps recognizing that their previous album was a bit depressing, they pick up the pace and fill in the sound for this fourth set, backing the band with big arrangements and calling in plenty of guests.  While this was an improvement over the third album, many felt otherwise.  The Doors had finally found an audience in the U.K. with the third set, but they lost them again with this collection. 

The set gets a bit overblown and silly at times, but the same is true with all their albums.  This doesn’t have the dark menace of the early material, but it sees the band pulling out the slack and charging forward, something they’d continue doing in the 70s.  It’s another worthwhile listen for fans.

— winch

Betty Wright (1968) My First Time Around (LP) Atco 33-260

Betty Wright
My First Time Around
Atco 33-260
Produced & Arranged by Brad Shapiro and Steve Alaimo


Good Shit *****

Solid debut from this Florida 14-year-old soul sister.

As the shag zebra-striped outfit suggests, this album wasn’t bubblegum soul but rather a young girl singing like a woman of experience, the presentation making no apologies for the fact that this set is dripping like the dew on a waterbed.  Wright handles the material with ease, contributing one cut herself and making the others her own.  The backing band is in fine form, the arrangements wrapping around her vocals like a silk slip, Murcia snaking his guitar licks into the mix.

This includes all her first A and B sides, and plenty of other gems.  While some cuts are simply classic, the entire set is strong.  No filler this time around.

— winch

The Impressions: This Is My Country (1968) Curtom CRS-8001

The Impressions
This Is My Country
Curtom CRS-8001
Producer: Curtis Mayfield
Rating: **** (Recommended)

Impressions’ first album for Mayfield’s Curtom label.  The title track and “They Don’t Know” foreshadow the direction Mayfield would soon take, but for the most part this continues with the sound they’d established with ABC-Paramount.  The set is written by Mayfield with two cuts co-written with Donny Hathaway–another pioneer of the social-themed soul of the 70s.    

T. Swift & the Electric Bag: Are You Experienced (LP) 1968

T. Swift & the Electric Bag
Are You Experienced
Custom 1115

At its best, this album is a second-rate version of Booker T. and the MGs, acid rock but a bit out of time, still showing the garage and freak-out sounds of the mid ’60s.  In other words, this is great stuff.



If you can make it past the duds, there’s plenty to enjoy.  “Free Form in 6” is a fairly classic acid-rock instrumental, as is the cover of “The Letter” (Box Tops), this wordless version cleverly called “A Jet.”


Another worthwhile exploitative outing from the City of Angles.

— Winch (author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s and the two-part novel Junk Like That.)
Motor City Jailbait: Junk Like That (Book One): A Coming of Age Novel Set in Detroit in the 1970s    Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s


Girl Group 1968

girl group
Classic sides

s e l e c t i v e

(selected by winch)




“I Want To Thank You” (W. E. Preston)
“It’s Almost Here” (Buddy Scott/Jimmy Radcliffe)
The Raelets     Tangerine (986)     1968

“My Sweet Sweet Baby” (M. Ervin)
“Stand By!” (K. Ruffin)
The Glories (Florida/New York)     Date (1593)     1968

“A Mighty Good Lover” (L. Webber/L. Caston)
“Love” (Caston/Webber)
The Vashonettes     Checker (1195)     1968


Love (1968) Forever Changes LP

Forever Changes

Elektra 4013
Produced by Arthur Lee & Bruce Botnick

Recommended ****

Released January 1968 (February 1969 in UK) reached #152 (#24 in UK)

After a period of recluse in Lee’s Hollywood mansion, Love surfaced with this third album.  Many consider this their finest.

The album opens with MacLean’s classic “Alone Again Or,” the rest of the collection focusing on the contributions of Arthur Lee.  While the Lee numbers have a different feel, the songs seem an extension of the melancholy established with MacLean’s opener, slowly going from an electric rock sound to a more fragile folk delivery, the songs filled with acoustic guitars, arrangements and the imagery of Lee’s lyrics. 

(Lee with the broken vase–symbolism that fits the set.  That one’s Lee, right?) 

The music moves between moods and tempos, like following a man at the edge of a party as he wanders to the basement and out the cellar door, roaming the streets, a loner/observer internalizing all that’s going down. Through all the changes, the set remains as cohesive as any from this era, and it certainly captures this time and place like no other album.  While it clearly comes out of the Summer of Love and the years that lead up to it, this also recognizes the beginning of the end, and in retrospect foreshadows the years and happenings to come.

(The vase is cracked open to expose the roots; the flowers are dry and wilted.)

This album stands nicely next to the first drug-fueled offerings of Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd, but while V.U. came from the art houses and cold streets of New York, and Floyd from the music and foggy climate of London, Lee appears to have been raised on the various music styles of Los Angeles, from the Byrds to the Beach Boys, from the soundtracks of Hollywood to the Latin American rhythms of East LA.  With Bruce Botnick helping with the final production, the influences of Herb Alpert and Burt Bacharach show up in the arrangements.  Of course, this album delivers its own unique sound–a sound that influenced countless acts.

While the music is not perhaps overtly psychedelic, it’s about as psychedelic as it gets, and fans of that genre should give this a close listen, turn out the lights and light up a number.  There had never been an album like thisbefore, and while many have tried, there has never been one like this since.  
It’s essential for fans of late 60s music. 

— winch (author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s and the two-part novel Junk Like That)





Love (band) Essential

Essential LOVE

(90 Minute Tape)


“My Little Red Book” (Bacharach/David)
“Can’t Explain” (Lee/Echols/Fleckenstein)
“A Message to Pretty” (Arthur Lee)
“My Flash On You” (Lee)
“Emotions” (Lee)
“You I’ll Be Following” (Lee)
“Gazing” (Lee)
“Hey Joe” (Valenti)
“Signed D.C.” (Lee)
Love       Elektra 4001     July 1966

cool Love cover:
“Signed D.C.”/”Hey Joe”
Dead Moon (Clackamas, Oregon)  Live Evil  1990


“Revelation” (Lee, MacLean, Echols, Forssi)
“Stephanie Knows Who” (Lee)
“Orange Skies” (MacLean)
“Que Vida!” (Lee)
“Seven & Seven Is” (Lee)
“The Castle” (Lee)
“She Comes in Colors” (Lee)
Da Capo 
     Elektra 4005     February 1967



“Alone Again Or” (MacLean)
“A House is Not a Motel” (Lee)
“The Daily Planet” (Lee)
“Maybe the People Would Be The Times or Between
 Clark and Hilldale” (Lee)
“Live and Let Live” (Lee)
“Bummer in the Summer” (Lee)
Forever Changes      Elektra 4013     January 1968



cool Love cover:
“Alone Again Or”
UFO (London)  Light’s Out  1977  



compiled by Winch (author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s and the two-part novel Junk Like That)


Product Details


Nancy Sinatra & Lee Hazlewood: The Hits of Nancy & Lee (1968) LP

Nancy Sinatra &Lee Hazlewood
The Hits of Nancy & Lee
Reprise 6273

Produced by Lee Hazlewood

Rating:**** (Recommended)

Nancy strutted on the scene in 1966, but after two sets from that year, the albums were quite lacking.  Hazlewood continued to provide the production, but it looked as if the best albums were behind them.  This offering starts out like it’s not going to remedy the situation.  Either the music is just not that convincing or I just don’t care about the things they have to say.  (Or maybe I’m bitter because she’s not singing about me.)

“Summer Wine” (the first Hazlewood original of the album) finally grabs your attention, and things improve considerably on side two.  “Jackson” jumpstarts the preceedings, the tempo getting things rolling and the theme setting Nancy free so she can hop right into my arms where she belongs.  From there, she can holler in my ear, tell me how she’s going to be “dancing on a pony keg.”  If that image doesn’t get your heart skipping along like a schoolgirl’s sneakers down the sidewalk, you better check your pulse and make sure you’re still living.  The version might not match Cash & Carter’s, but it’s certainly in the running.  This is followed by “Some Velvet Morning,” a Hazlewood original that fits like a pair of silk stockings.  It makes me happy that I could be alive during a time that created such a song.  The strength of that could have ruined the rest of the album, but it actually just pulls you into the experience and three more Hazlewood originals are more than enough to keep the listener engaged until the end of the set.  While I’d love to switch the placements of “Summer Wine” and “Sundown Sundown” to create an classic side, this is still an essential set for fans.

— winch

(author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s)



Quicksilver Messenger Service: Happy Trails (LP) 1968




Happy Trails
Capitol 120

Recorded 1968 (Fillmore East and West, and Golden State Recorders), released March 1969 (US & UK), reached #27.

Rating:**** (Recommended)

An exercise in excess if there ever was one, a
pparently a mix of different live shows fused with studio work, “Who Do You Love” stretched out for the entire first side, or at least the song dominates the side, opens and closes it, sandwiches a bunch of acid-fueled madness, and if that wasn’t enough, side two opens with “Mona,” blurring Bo’s beat into a messy acid-rock sound that sounds like it’s helping to invent a new version of space rock and is certainly one of acid-rock’s defining moments.  Like with “Who Do You Love” on side one, “Mona” squeals into some noisy feedback-drenched jamming, except while side one returned to Bo’s beat with a bass-driven vengeance, this feedback continues until a brief version of the title track (Dale Evans) closes the set.


This album might be a bit too much for some, but this definitely has some killer moments.  At least this group had the sense to use Diddley’s beat to help power the monster along,contrasting the meandering madness with some thumping bass-heavy punch.  While this group had a promising debut, they climaxed with this set.  It’s much better than most of the West Coast jamming from this era, miles ahead of Iron Butterfly or the Grateful Dead.  While the Dead’s jamming sounded like a drunken hippie staggerring aimlessly down a dirt road, this at least uses some muscle to carve out a ditch.  The lunatic music certainly bounces around inside the groove, but it’s got some direction.  If you ever wanted to go back in time to Frisco in 1968, this is probably as close you’ll ever get.  Light up and kick back, and even if your stash is running low, you can probably catch a buzz just listening to this album.

— winch

author of Kalamazoo: Growing Up Sideways in the 1970s