Category Archives: STEPPENWOLF

T.I.M.E. Smooth Ball (1969) – Early Steppenwolf Precursor/Offshoot

Smooth Ball (1969)
Blues/Psych With A Steppenwolf Connection

Don’t ask me any questions about these guys. This is one of those obscure titles I grabbed online a few years ago when I was trolling the web downloading any and all hints of psychedelia I’d never heard of back when I was a teen. These guys attracted my attention because of one-time Steppenwolf guitarist, Larry Byrom (Nick St. Nicholas was also on board for the band’s 1968 debut, T.I.M.E.). There’s not much in the way of critique here, either, as this style of music – melodic, heavy blues/psych – is coming of age music for me, so it inexplicably comforts my aging soul… regardless of its merits, good or bad. Many would surely consider this stuff routine, and it’s hard to dispute that. But, I’ve never understood how that bubbling, swirling B3-type style found on “I’d Think You’d Cry” ever went out of style in the first place, so what do I know? Amazon’s got it HERE. Find some archived Steppenwolf HERE.

Preparation G (0:52)
Leavin’ My Home (3:08)
See Me As I Am (5:47)
I Think You’d Cry (4:21)
I’ll Write A Song (4:20)
Lazy Day Blues (1:45)
Do You Feel It (2:31)
Flowers (2:39)
Morning Come (10:03)
Trust In Men Everywhere (5:01)

STEPPENWOLF Ride With Me (Bootleg 1972)

Ride With Me (1972)
Live In Gothenburg, circa 1972

I had this bootleg disc years ago and enjoyed it immensely, even if Steppenwolf has been relegated to my guilty pleasure shelf for decades. It must have been that organ and the mindless psych/boogie jams that first hooked me. Regardless, I followed them up through 7, but the early buzz (at least in my high school) was that Steppenwolf was a lousy live act. The rumors weren’t helped a bit by Steppenwolf’s Live album… which featured an excellent soundstage taping with an audience crassly dubbed in after the fact (there were some details in comments, but we lost those, sorry). I didn’t give a shit. So, it’s kinda natural that I might have gravitated to this short, electric live set, from 1972. Yeah, “Monster” is hard to digest in the 21st Century, but Steppenwolf were likable anarchists, and besides… it’s now finally possible to listen to the tune without counting all the beats leading up to the bridge. (17, was it?) Some of their recorded hits, “Magic Carpet Ride,” “Born To Be Wild,” couldn’t really have been any better, so it’s always cool to hear Steppenwolf’s less iconic tunes, like “Foggy Mental Breakdown” and “Tighten Up Your Wig.” The Big O originally posted this, but since their files are retired way too quickly, latecomers can grab it here. We’ve got an early Matrix show in the archives.


Ride With Me (4:36)
Foggy Mental Breakdown (4:41)
Tighten Up Your Wig (5:01)
Monster (9:58)
Magic Carpet Ride (4:22)
The Pusher (7:29)

 

STEPPENWOLF Early Steppenwolf (1969)

Early Steppenwolf (1969)
21 Stoner Minutes Of “The Pusher”

Released in 1969, this is actually an earlier Steppenwolf (a.k.a. Sparrow) live date from The Matrix in San Francisco, May 14, 1967. Recorded before the band even released an album, Early Steppenwolf is notable for a few reasons. First, it finds Steppenwolf knee deep in the blues, filtered through the group’s distinctive blend of personalities (John Kay, Goldie McJohn, Mars Bonfire, Jerry Edmonton & Nick St. Nicholas). It also highlights the band’s early live version of Hoyt Axton’s “The Pusher,” a psychedelic feedback improv that meanders around the cosmic fringes for about 15 minutes before eventually morphing (via an obvious edit) into the actual song. To be honest, it’s more meandering than cosmic. In “I’m Going’ Upstairs,” Kay isn’t even sure when to come in on vocals. Raw but fun. Dismissive of Steppenwolf? They were a decent blues-based bar band, give a listen. This was up for years before getting a comment. A mercy comment, at that.


Power Play (2:56)
Howlin‘ For My Darlin(4:53)
I’m Goin‘ Upstairs (7:17)
Corina, Corina (3:57)
Tighten Up Your Wig (3:14)
The Pusher (21:28)

MARS BONFIRE Faster Than The Speed Of Life (1969)

Faster Than The Speed Of Life (1969)
Steppenwolf’s Ghost Writer

Here’s another one from the hard drive, picked up at some point, somewhere from somebody (many thanks). An album so nice, they issued it twice. Mars Bonfire (a.k.a. Dennis Edmonton) was a member of Sparrow (the precursor to Steppenwolf), offering numerous songs to the band before leaving to go solo, just before Steppenwolf’s debut. “Born To Be Wild” and “Faster Than The Speed Of Life” (the key tracks from the first two Steppenwolf albums) were this album’s cornerstones, as well. But… success never happened for Mars. Which is too bad, because his only album (first issued in 1968 with a different track listing/running order) isn’t bad, if you like trippy, drug infused psychedelia lite – a far cry from Steppenwolf’s ballsy, bluesy, “heavy metal” raucous. Not surprisingly, when Steppenwolf began losing some of their mojo, they turned to three more tracks (*) from this album to include on 1971′s For Ladies Only. Amazingly, Mars is still at Amazon.


Faster Than The Speed Of Life
Born To Be Wild
Sad Eyes
Lady Moon Walker
Tenderness*
She
Ride With Me Baby*
How Much Older Will We Grow
So Alive With Love
(I Wanna Get Lost) In Christina’s Arms
The Night Time’s For You*