Rarities, oddities, and other fun stuff

Out Of The Vault: Illegal Substances - February 2, 2013

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Paul McCartney & Wings – MEDICINE JAR – Originally released on Venus and Mars, the fourth album by Wings.  “Medicine Jar" was written by Jimmy McCulloch and Colin Allen, and sung by McCullough. Taken from Wings over America, a live album by the band, 1976.

Nina Simone – GODDAMN THE PUSHERMAN – Also know as “The Pusher”, it is a rock song written by Hoyt Axton, made popular by the 1969 movie Easy Rider which used Steppenwolf's version to accompany the opening scenes of drug trafficking.  The lyrics of the song distinguish between a dealer in drugs such as marijuana—who "will sell you lots of sweet dreams"—and a pusher of hard drugs such as heroin—a "monster" who doesn't care "if you live or if you die".  Nina Simone included a soulful version of this song on her 1974 album, It Is Finished.

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Roger McGuinn & Tom Petty – KING OF THE HILL -  Back from Rio is the sixth studio album by American singer-songwriter, guitarist and co-founder of The Byrds Roger McGuinn. It was released in January 1991, more than a decade after McGuinn's previous solo album, Thunderbyrd.  The album was issued following the release of the The Byrds box set and musically it leans on the sound of The Byrds thanks to McGuinn's ringing 12-string electric guitar and vocal contributions from ex-Byrds members David Crosby and Chris Hillman. Also prominent on the album are Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, with Petty co-authoring and duetting with McGuinn on the album's lead single "King Of The Hill".

Eric Clapton – COCAINE – "Cocaine" is a song written and recorded by JJ Cale in 1976, but also known as a cover version recorded by Eric Clapton. Allmusic calls the latter "among [Clapton's] most enduringly popular hits" and notes that "even for an artist like Clapton with a huge body of high-quality work, 'Cocaine' ranks among his best." Taken from the 4 CD Set “Crossroads”, 1988.

Steve Earle – CCKMP – From I Feel Alright, a studio album by Steve Earle, released on March 5, 1996.

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The Pretenders – NEEDLE AND THE DAMAGE DONE – "The Needle and the Damage Done" is a song by Neil Young that describes the descent into heroin addiction of musicians he knew.  From the Bridge School Collection, Vol. 2, digital only release, 2006.

The Rolling Stones – MOTHER’S LITTLE HELPER – "Mother's Little Helper" (shown as "Mothers Little Helper" on the original US single's label) is a song by The Rolling Stones. It first appeared as the opening track to the United Kingdom version of their 1966 album Aftermath.  Written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, "Mother's Little Helper" was recorded in Los Angeles from 3–8 December 1965. The song deals with the darker perspective of the use of barbiturates, specifically Nembutal (pentobarbitone), among housewives.

Jefferson Airplane – WHITE RABBIT – "White Rabbit" is a song from Jefferson Airplane's 1967 album Surrealistic Pillow.  “White Rabbit” was written by Grace Slick while she was still with The Great Society. The first album Slick recorded with Jefferson Airplane was Surrealistic Pillow, and Slick provided two songs from her previous group: her own “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love”, written by Darby Slick and recorded under the title "Someone to Love" by The Great Society. Both songs became breakout successes for Jefferson Airplane and have ever since been associated with that band. One of Grace Slick's earliest songs, written during either late 1965 or early 1966, uses imagery found in the fantasy works of Lewis Carroll: 1865's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its 1871 sequel Through the Looking-Glass, such as changing size after taking pills or drinking an unknown liquid. It is commonly thought that these are also references to the hallucinatory effects of psychedelic drugs, such as LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. Characters referenced include Alice, the hookah-smoking caterpillar, the White Knight, the Red Queen, and the Dormouse.  For Slick and others in the 1960s, drugs were a part of mind-expanding and social experimentation. With its enigmatic lyrics, "White Rabbit" became one of the first songs to sneak drug references past censors on the radio. Even Marty Balin, Slick's eventual rival in the Airplane, regarded the song as a "masterpiece". In interviews, Slick has related that Alice in Wonderland was often read to her as a child and remained a vivid memory into her adult years.

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John Prine – ILLEGAL SMILE – John Prine was the first album by American country/folk singer-songwriter John Prine, issued by Atlantic Records in 1971. He and friend Steve Goodman had each been active in the Chicago folk scene before being "discovered" by Kris Kristofferson (Kristofferson remarked that Prine wrote songs so good that "we'll have to break his thumbs"). The album included his signature songs "Illegal Smile," "Sam Stone," and the folk and country standards "Angel from Montgomery" and "Paradise.

The Toyes – SMOKE TWO JOINTS - The Toyes are an American reggae band based in Grants Pass, Oregon. Their style has been described as a "cross between Bob Marley and Barenaked Ladies".  They are perhaps most famous as the original songwriters and recorders of the song "Smoke Two Joints".  It was originally recorded in 1983, and was re-released on their 1993 debut album The Toyes. It was featured on the soundtrack for the 1998 American comedy-thriller film Homegrown. An influential version was recorded by the band Sublime; the song has since been mistakenly attributed to them or to Bob Marley. Taken from “ KBAC promo release Live From Studio 2, Vol. 2”, 2003

Bob Dylan – RAINY DAY WOMEN # 12 &  35 – "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" is a song by Bob Dylan and the opening track of his 1966 album, Blonde on Blonde.  The song is notable for its unusual brass arrangement and the somewhat controversial "They'll stone ya" in every line of the verses, plus the refrain of "But I would not feel so all alone--everybody must get stoned!"  Robert Shelton's 1986 biography of Dylan No Direction Home (unrelated to the Martin Scorsese documentary No Direction Home), states that the song was banned by many American radio stations and the BBC, due to paranoia about "drug songs".

Willie Nelson/Snoop Dogg/Kris Kristofferson/Jamey Johnson – ROLL ME UP – Heroes is an album by Willie Nelson, released on May 15, 2012 by Legacy Recordings. The album produced by Buddy Cannon contains classic country songs, new songs by Nelson and his son Lukas, as well as the classic from Nelson's repertoire, "A Horse Called Music". Guest appearances on the album include Lukas Nelson, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Snoop Dogg, Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson, Billy Joe Shaver and Sheryl Crow.  The single "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die" was released on 420 day.  Originally, the album was named after the track "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die", but the name was then changed to Heroes, after Nelson and his production team decided that the original name might deter conservative sales outlets.

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The Beatles – LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS – "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" is a song written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney,  for the Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club BandLennon's son, Julian, inspired the song with a nursery school drawing he called "Lucy — in the sky with diamonds". Shortly after the song's release, speculation arose that the first letter of each of the title's nouns intentionally spelled LSD. Although Lennon denied this, the BBC banned the song.  In a 2004 interview, Paul McCartney said that the song is about LSD, stating, "A song like 'Got to Get You Into My Life,' that's directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time." "Day Tripper," he says, "that's one about acid. 'Lucy in the Sky,' that's pretty obvious. There's others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it's easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles' music."

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