Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Laurel Canyon

This purports to tell you how it was back in the day when Joni Mitchell, CSN&Y, Jackson Browne, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, the Byrds, Frank Zappa, Mama Cass, Carole King and other big deal 70s singer/songwriters all lived together in the famed canyon.

And it does.

But, for the subject matter, it just never quite takes off. Having access to the formative years of the folks who essentially owned the music business in the 70s, you'd think there'd be all sorts of great gems and stories, and yet all we really get is the old news that David Crosby was an egomaniac and Robert Plant had big boner.

Yes, we get some personal observations from some of the players, like how idyllic Graham Nash felt his brief time with Joni Mitchell was; how they both still hold that memory as a bright shining moment to the point that when Mitchell finally sold the house, she called up Graham and offered a last visit together before it was gone.

That's sweet, but I wanted more detail of Don Henley, Jackson Browne and Glen Frey sitting around dreaming up "Tequila Sunrise." What was Carole King doing in her life when she wrote Tapestry?

So, on a scale of 1 to 10 of fun/useful information, this one gets a solid 6.

Nutballs like me who can't get enough of this stuff will find this a pleasant read, but dilettantes need not bother.


Oh, one more thing. Near the end, Michael Walker repeats the trope of rap (hip hop) being the new pretender to the throne of popular music by way of being the genre that pisses parents off the most. Now, it appears to be true that there is a window in your life where the popular music of your teenage years becomes the music that you imprint on and carry with you as your life preference (da article, da book), but I think all these music critics (way past their teens and past the point of being impressionable) simply find rap as mysterious and odious as most of us do, and based on that assumption alone they promote it to "The music of a generation". I say bullshit on that. I think rap is going to remain a tiny subgenre that influences others, but will never really break out of the backwater of having a miniscule audience that actually likes the stuff, much like disco. I think the big influence being missed entirely by the critics is the quiet dominance of country rock.

1 comment:

Danielk said...

Re: Rap -- gee, I don't know about that. First of all country rock is ROCK and to call it a different genre is looking at it the wrong way.
I truly believe we are at the same place our parents were in the sixties, hating rock and roll while holding on to the hope that it would go away and Sinatra, Steve Lawrence and Perry Como would start selling multi-platinum again. And while that never happened, those guys never quite went away either. We'll always have the Rolling Stones (especially Keith, who cannot be killed) and Sting, but they will continue to cede a little market share each year.
I like some hip-hop and hate most of it. But it ain't a passing phase.