California Dreaming

February 17, 2009

A musical ode to California

There was a thread on a message board which invited readers to suggest songs from the late 60s and early 70s that were devoted to the beatification of the state of California. This spun the hamster wheel that fuels my brain since there were so many odes to the apex and aftermath of free love and hallucinogens. Some of these songs embrace the innocence of bursting through social norms, others pay tribute to the majestic scenery of its cities and rural enclaves while others bemoan the loss of innocence in the wake of addiction and the realization that love is anything but free. Anyhow, I figured that I would share my contribution here. Here is the tracklisting that I intended, but somehow my upload rearranged its order. Anyway you slice it, it is still a delicious pie.

Sir Douglas Quintet-Menocino

Moby Grape-Hey Grandma

John Phillips-Topanga Canyon

Guy Clark-LA Freeway

Terry Melcher-Beverly Hills

Neil Young-Revolution Blues

Shirl Milete-Love Child

Robert Charlebois-California

Mickey Newbury-San Francisco Mable Joy

Michael Nesmith-Hollywood

Lee Hazlewood-LA LAdy

Laura Nyro-California Shoeshine Boys

Jim Ford-Working My Way to Los Angeles

Jack Nitzsche-Lower California

Jesse Colin Young-Ridgetop

Flatlanders-San Francisco Bay Blues

Flying Burrito Bros-Sin City

David Crosby-Tamalpais High(At about 3)

Terry Allen-Cortez Sail

Mickey Newbury-Frisco Depot

Robert Charlebois

Avec Louise Forestier

This man ran for president of Canada on the platform that he would do nothing. He may be the only French-Canadian psychedelic folk singer on the planet, except he isn’t French, but just sings in French.

Paradoxes abound, but it doesn’t detract from the music which dwells on cabaret-psych with Charlebois crooning holding it all together. That sounds trite, but this fucker can really croon and engage the chanteuses baking him up on his vocal adventures. There is a song on here called “Dolores” where he even attempts some French bluegrass freakout that deserves points for the mere attempt at this strange new genre. Overall, his voice and semi-sleaze carries it all onto the finish line. A spotty, but extremely entertaining album.