Thursday, June 21, 2007

California - The Cream of LA's Seventies Rock

California Dreaming, The Cream of L.A.'s Seventies Rock - Various Artists

I remember watching the Counting Crows live as Adam Duritz started into their breakthrough hit 'Mr Jones' he sang 'So you wanna be a rock'n'roll star, well listen now to what I say/ just get yourself and electric guitar and learn how to play'. I thought it was a pretty cool line but it was only
when I listened to California Dreaming that I realised he was singing the opening lines to The Byrds song of the same name. This feeling of familiarity and realisation happens constantly as you listen to this excellent compilation of the overlooked 'Larurel Canyon' era. The Grateful
Dead's "Truckin'" reveals where Ryan Adams stole his riffs, not to mention Gram Parsons and more obvious comparisons. In fact listening to the cream of L.A.'s seventies rock doesn't feel like an old CD because it is still echoing through bands like Wilco, Josh Rouse and much of the Americana scene. As an introduction to all the music you probably should have listened
to it's invaluable. 40 artists feature from Crazy Horse to little known genius of Judee Sill through Fleetwood Mac and some tracks never available before on compilations including James Taylor 'Fire & Rain', Eagles 'Witchy Woman' and Joni Mitchell 'Blue'. There are too many great songs to list but Buffalo Springfield, who are best remembered for giving Stephen Stills and Neil Young their first platform, stand out with their hit 'For What It's Worth' with its carefully calibrated understatement.

If you want a thorough education in an influential period of American music without buying
40 CDs then you needn't look any further than California Dreaming.

For fans of: Any modern singer-songwriter

Rating: 4/5

Disc: 1
1. So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star - Byrds (1)
2. Creeque Alley - Mamas & The Papas
3. For What It's Worth - Buffalo Springfield
4. Love The One You're With - Stills, Stephen
5. I Don't Want To Talk About It - Crazy Horse
6. Fire And Rain - Taylor, James (1)
7. Blue - Mitchell, Joni
8. Sweet Surrender - Buckley, Tim
9. Mama Told Me Not To Come - Newman, Randy
10. Love Has No Pride - Raitt, Bonnie
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Take It Easy - Browne, Jackson
2. Witchy Woman - Eagles (1)
3. Sin City - Flying Burrito Brothers
4. Return Of The Grievous Angel - Parsons, Gram
5. Border Town - Souther-Hillman-Furay
6. Werewolves Of London - Zevon, Warren
7. When The Ship Comes In - Guthrie, Arlo
8. Road To Cairo - Ackles, David
9. Summer Breeze - Seals & Crofts
10. Long Train Runnin' - Doobie Brothers
See all 20 tracks on this disc

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