Great Lost Elektra Singles, Vol. 1
By David Chiu
For those who love rock and roll ‘60s esoterica, dig into these latest collections from the Elektra Record vaults. They contain songs that have not appeared on artists’ albums and could be considered “lost,” especially in the case of the Elektra singles disc.
What’s Shakin’ (originally released in 1966) was a sampler of Elektra rock acts at the time before the Doors and Love would join the roster. One might have not known that the Lovin’ Spoonful recorded four tracks for Elektra (including “Almost Grown”, “Searchin’”) before jumping over to Kama Sutra and achieved their greater successes. There are also the rare tracks from Al Kooper (the bluesy pop of “Can’t Keep from Crying Sometime,” before Blood Sweat and Tears) and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band (Lovin’ Cup, “Off the Wall”). The highlight here are three tracks from Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse (which also included Jack Bruce and Steve Winwood) that preceded Clapton’s tenure with Cream: “I Want to Know,” “Crossroads (a departure from the famed Cream rendition), and “Steppin’ Out.” Fans of those aforementioned acts can finally add something rare and lost to their collections.
The same can be said of this new compilation of Elektra singles recorded between 1965 and 1970—somewhat of anomaly given the legendary’s label initial concentration on the album market exclusively. Like What’s Shakin’, this one offers some surprises: the Beefeaters, whose members would later morph into the Byrds (“Don’t Be Long, “Please Let Me Love You”), and the Stalk-Forrest Group, who would gain wider recognition as hard rock purveyors Blue Oyster Cult. Other artists who grace the collection include Judy Collins ( a cover of Bob Dylan’s “I’ll Keep It with Mine”—everybody was covering the Bard at the time), the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the late folk rock protest hero Phil Ochs (“I Ain’t Marching Anymore”), and the (still) unknown act Eclection. This one is definitely for completists and admirers of that crazy era.