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)