Amoeblog

Legends of the Canyon

Posted by Miss Ess, November 16, 2010 05:13pm | Post a Comment
david crosby, joni mitchell, eric clapton

crosby, joni mitchell, eric clapton

If you're looking for an enjoyable romp through the late '60s/early '70s Laurel Canyon scene, Legends of the Canyon is the film for you. Photographer Henry Diltz narrates, and his photos and footage are used throughout, along with enlightening interviews with folks like David Crosby, Ahmet Ertegun, Van Dyke Parks, Michelle Phillips, David Geffen, Stephen Stills, Dallas Taylor, plus some great talk from Graham Nash, and many more.

There's an easy intimacy in the interviews, no doubt because Henry was involved in the process and he has known and been friends with these people for decades. Stephen Stills reveals how he was completely intimidated by Joni Mitchell, Michelle Phillips touches on how vulnerable Gene Clark was, Dallas Taylor talks about what made Graham Nash cry, and Graham Nash speaks of Neil Young's total devotion to the music, among many other stories. There's interview extras on the disc as well, a sweet inclusion.

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What I Listened to Most in 2008

Posted by Miss Ess, January 1, 2009 04:23pm | Post a Comment
Since I write about what I listen to fairly often, this list may be a bit redundant, but consider it a happy round up! This is what was getting to me the most in 2008, whether it was released in 2008 or 1974, whether I'd heard it a zillion times before or it was something new to my ears.

Rodriguez - Cold Fact


Bonnie Prince Billy - Lie Down in the Light


Bobby Charles - s/t


Sun Kil Moon - "Glenn Tipton" from Ghosts of the Great Highway


Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers - "Islands in the Stream"

"Not Fade Away" in Its Many Mutations.

Posted by Miss Ess, June 11, 2008 06:06pm | Post a Comment
"Not Fade Away"buddy holly not fade away the crickets is one of the best songs ever written: simple, direct, pleading, mentions a Cadillac in its lyrics...I mean, what more could you want in a song?

I had the great pleasure of witnessing a Bob Dylan show in 2000 from about four people back. It was incredible, and one of the highlights was "Not Fade Away."  I've pretty much been thinking about the song ever since then.

For Buddy Holly to write something so pure and so fantastically mutable, especially at the age of 21, is remarkable. He owes a debt to Bo Diddley for the beat, that's for sure! The song's been covered a zillion times over and each time there's something new-- whether it's Dylan's band's killer harmonies or Mick Jagger's haughty congas--  and "Not Fade Away" retains its greatness. Yeah, even in the Rush version.

Here's Dylan performing the track back on the same tour I saw him on with his kick ass band.  The sound quality's not the greatest, but I still think it rocks:


Now here's Bruce Springsteen, back when he was the hardest working man in show business, performing the song:


And of course there's the Stones:

Gene Clark - A Tragedy In Two Parts: Part Two - Mr Tambourine Man

Posted by Miss Ess, February 6, 2008 08:52pm | Post a Comment
Gene Clark is sort of a tragic figure. He is also one of the most complex, idiosyncratic rock stars I havegene clark the byrds ever read about -- I just finished Mr. Tambourine Man by John Einerson. Due to mental illness, addiction and over abundant sycophants, he died too soon and without ever realizing and enjoying his true potential.

Things started out triumphantly enough in the early 60s, with Gene being plucked from complete obscurity in Kansas by the New Christy Minstrels to be in their group. He toured with them for a few months before his fear of flying, among other things, forced him to quit the band. He kept Los Angeles as his home base and soon met Roger McGuinn and David Crosby and they began creating music together. Soon, The Byrds were the biggest American band in the middle of the 60s and they were creating the kind of songs that will be remembered forever.

Clark's time in The Byrds was truly the stuff that dreams are made of. He was a star literally overnight, able to buy a Ferrari and live on the edge. He became used to the amount of attention being a super star and the toast of the nation brought him.
gene clark the byrds
Gene was the main songwriter in The Byrds at that time, with songs like "My Love Don't Care About Time" and "Feel A Whole Lot Better," which meant that he was earning the most money. The others in the band jealously undermined him, especially David Crosby, who convinced an insecure Gene that he was such a poor guitar player that he shouldn't play on stage anymore. Crosby told Gene he should sing and shake the tambourine instead. Of course, Crosby took over Gene's Gretsch on stage. The many power plays within the group eventually led to Gene quitting the band.

Gene Clark - A Tragedy In Two Parts: Part One - No Other

Posted by Miss Ess, January 30, 2008 08:14pm | Post a Comment

Once, on the long long long orange lit drive home from L.A., crap-o car stereo blaring, my better half asked me almost incredulously, "Why is this album pretty much the best album ever made?!" 

Why indeed? Sometimes writing about music is a real drag. Gene Clark's No Other truly is one of the most lasting and perfect albums I've ever heard.
 

gene clark no other

On a tip from a coworker (I am almost certain it was Shayde), I bought No Other around four years ago. I liked Gene's previous album White Light, so I was ready to hear more. I popped in No Other and liked it immediately, but ultimately it was over time that this album became more and more haunting. Like, Igene clark couldn't get it out of my head ... like, for years. Seriously, waking in the night with just this one little moment of "From a Silver Phial" tinkering through my mind.

I read the liner notes earlier today from the cd reissue and someone describes Gene's sound as achieving the "Cosmic American Music" feeling Gram Parsons had once sought. I guess that's a fairly apt way to describe a fairly indescribable album.

Usually heavy prodgene clark liveuction freaks me out. No Other was released in 1974, when it was all production -city all the time, unless you were Carly Simon or something, but let's not go there. The production work on this album is so layered, dense and, actually, perfect. There's wah wah guitar, backup singers, crazy piano licks. The best of L.A.'s session musicians were hired to play at the recording and they play the hell out of these songs, adding gravity to what was already great. The other thing that makes this album killer is that there is a theme and a thread that works its way through each of the songs and connects them, so as you listen closely to the album over and over again, it all becomes more and more clear and transporting.