THE MAGIC MUSHROOM - "I'm Gone" / "Cry Baby" (Warner Bros 5846) August 1966
This is a fabulous two sided gem from San Diego group The Magic Mushroom which incidentally was the name given to them by Warner Bros. This 45 had an earlier release on a smaller label called Coast where they were named The Sons.
"I'm Gone" is perhaps their most famous cut in 60s garage circles having been compiled on the recommended 80s compilation "What A Way To Die". It's a harmonica driven '66 punk tormentor. It's believed that the harp was played by someone connected with The Seeds. Sky Saxon's name has been mentioned on other sites.
My focus is on the much neglected B-Side "Cry Baby" which is just as good in my opinion. It's a classic 'put down' song with a beaty rhythm and a terrific guitar break. Find it on "Psychedelic Unknowns #6"
"Cry baby cry baby don't come cryin' to me."
What is known for sure, and it's something that the late Ray Clearwater confirmed with me via email years ago, is that he joined The Magic Mushroom after he was fired from The Lyrics for his bad attitude. Ray did not play on this record though.
Here's the information he provided about his time with The Magic Mushroom.
"As for the Magic Mushroom, I can’t tell you much. They asked me to join and we immediately flew off to New York. We stayed with their manager Mike Friedman and he stayed with his girlfriend.
I came up with the name, Love Special Delivery but I don’t remember why. I think they were looking for a new name due to some contractual obligations or something but again, the name was changed shortly after I got to New York. Of course the name was a take on LSD –
We only played three or four jobs in New York and we really weren’t very good. We just sort of played some easy stuff and jammed a lot as I remember. I really didn’t know their songs, being the new guy, so we did what we could.
After a couple of months, we met a woman named Susan McCusker (spelling) and she was hooked up with a guy that said if we cut a record he could get it played in lots of stations in different cities. We smelled the big money and left Mike Friedman to do this thing with Susan.
She set up a recording session with Les Paul at his home in Mahwah, New Jersey.
His son Rusty came out to the train station in his big Caddy and picked us up. We recorded three of my songs that night and honest to God, there were people there with suits and ties and harps and violins. It was insane – I mean, I was just a kid from nowhere at Les Paul’s house recording music.
The songs we recorded were – 'If You Care', a very slow love song, 'Plastic Man', and 'Night Time' – all my songs and sung by me. I remember being so moved by the strings on 'If You Care', I went outside and started to cry. No one could figure out what was wrong with me. Anyway, as I understand it, Susan never paid Les Paul for the tapes so they were never released.
It was close to Christmas and John Buell, Carl Conte and Mike Allen went home to California. for the Christmas holidays. Mike Lowther and I remained in New York. We were broke but fortunately, Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen, the folks that put out Broadside Magazine, allowed us to stay with them for a while until we were able to rent a very small apartment in Greenwich Village. Carl never came back, John and Mike Allen did but at that point, the four of us in a small apartment with no money just didn’t work and Susan and basically dumped us on our own.
I finally bailed and flew back to California. I was extremely lonely and broke in New York City and totally disappointed with all that had happened. The only up side to this was that while Mike Lowther and I were staying with Sis and Gordon, they published three of my songs and later on, one of the songs that I had recorded on a small recorder at their apartment turned up on the Best Of Broadside compilation. Many years later, they wrote a book and said something very nice about me, comparing me to Dylan – well just a bit."