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Thursday 18 July 2024

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Various: I See You Live On Love Street: Music From Laurel Canyon 1967-1975 (3CD Box Set)

Mar 24, 2024

In the mid 1960’s’, like a magnet, Laurel Canyon tucked away in the hills above Los Angeles and an enclave for Hollywood’s iconic film stars attracted a new kind of celebrity. Sex and drugs had always been rife in tinsel town but rock n roll was taking hedonism to new levels of debauchery and creativity. Boundaries were being stretched and then broken and for a brief period a kind of innocence pervaded before the hippy idyll turned from the light into a cynical darkness.

This 3 CD collection relives the magic and creative wellspring from this period with a comprehensive overview that features the familiar and the relevant. The Summer of Love vibe looked pretty viable for a moment before the Charles Manson murders and the Altamont Festival threw dark shadows. Evolving from the jingle jangle of The Byrds and the folksy stylings of Joni Mitchell it became a melting pot of a community best described by John Phillips as ‘an eclectic band of stoned hippie worshippers, poets, struggling musicians, drug spongers and bikers’. The scene in such close proximity to the dream factories of Los Angeles exerted an influence that extended across the globe. Acoustic troubadours and cosmic cowboys went from playing coffee houses to Carnegie Hall in the blink of an eye.

What a scene it must have been when the daylight ebbed away in the Canyon and from behind the stained glass windows flickering candle light accompanied the strumming of a hundred acoustic guitars. This set really is the last word on the period, the contents telling the story of the movers and the shakers and the hopefuls who made the pilgrimage from all corners of America. What began originally as a community for the psychedelic standard bearers who are well represented here by the likes of Love, Frank Zappa and The Doors, gradually (thanks to the close proximity of The Troubadour folk club) morphed into the early country rock and the singer/songwriter boom that defined the early 70s. So, also featured alongside the early stirrings of superstardom for fledgling artists like Linda Ronstadt (via The Stone Poneys) and Judy Collins are the lesser known but equally glorious acts such as The Gentle Soul and Smokey Roberds – the latter who was briefly in the frame to replace Sine  Anderson as vocalist for Jefferson Airplane.

Stunning music, the myths and legends through the prism of time can sometimes be exaggerated. But truly these were historical moments and they are captured here before the drug dealers spoilt the party.

Lyndon Noon

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