Archive for July 27th, 2012
Happy Together: “Sunset Strip to Haight-Ashbury” Features Jefferson Airplane, Mamas and the Papas, Turtles, Love and More
Those lyrics from The Mamas and the Papas’ 1967 “Creeque Alley” begin to tell the story of the famous band, and it’s one of eighteen tracks on a new compilation aiming to tell a bigger story: that of “The California Scene in the 1960s.” Yes, this story has been told more comprehensively elsewhere; see two of our favorite box sets dedicated to San Francisco Nuggets and Los Angeles Nuggets. But the new single-CD release Sunset Strip to Haight-Ashbury from Starbucks Entertainment does an admirable job of hitting many of the high points in the dual tale of Los Angeles and San Francisco, circa 1964-1970. Along the way, familiar tracks and hidden gems are featured from artists like The Turtles, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Love and Iron Butterfly, as pop cedes to rock with more than a dollop of psychedelia.
Steven Stolder’s liner notes admit that Sunset Strip to Haight-Ashbury doesn’t touch on every aspect of California music in the 1960s; there’s nothing from The Beach Boys or Jan and Dean, for instance. But the story being told travels from the Strip’s hotspots like Ciro’s and the Whisky A Go Go to the Bay Area’s Matrix and Fillmore. The earliest track is a San Francisco one, from The Beau Brummels. “Laugh, Laugh,” produced by Sylvester Stewart, a.k.a. Sly Stone, proved that American musicians could beat the British Invasion at its own game, as it melded that Brit sound with the strains of folk-rock. The major triumvirate of Bay Area bands might just be considered Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Quicksilver Messenger Service, and all three are represented here, with “White Rabbit,” “Box of Rain” and “Dino’s Song,” respectively. One trait shared by all of the bands on the new anthology was a desire to bring their sounds to the world at large, a feat most of these artists succeeded in pulling off. Janis Joplin had a talent too big for any one region, and she’s heard on Big Brother and the Holding Company’s searing version of George Gershwin, DuBose Heyward and Ira Gershwin’s “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess. It was a transformative song if there ever was one, and characterized the limitless, mind-expanding approach to music taken by most of these artists.
Hit the jump to travel south to the Sunset Strip! Plus: the full track listing with discography! Read the rest of this entry »