Various Artists – ‘I See You Live On Love Street – Music From Laurel Canyon 1967-1975’ (2024)

Uncategorized March 27, 2024

Various Artists – ‘I See You Live On Love Street – Music From Laurel Canyon 1967-1975’ (2024)

By the end of the 1960’s the international popular music nexus had moved from hotspots such as London and San Francisco to Laurel Canyon, a rural oasis just minutes from Hollywood, the Sunset Strip and the Los Angeles record companies and studios.

In the words of Micky Dolenz “it was a very small community of musicians and long-haired weirdos.” Cherry Red Records has compiled a four hour, 72-track anthology of the music from this period, issued on its Grapefruit Records imprint.

Disc one designated ‘Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon’ contains twenty seven tracks spanning 1967 to 1968. The music is a pleasant mix of singer/songwriter tunes, rock, pop rock and country rock, as well as hybrid mixtures of the genres. The set blends album tracks with singles, obscure and hit alike, with a sprinkling of previously unreleased tracks as well. The first disc opens with ‘Come On In’ a melodic pop rocker by The Association, followed by a snappy rocker ‘Tighter’ by Paul Revere & The Raiders. ‘The Good Humor Man, He Sees Everything’ is a deceptively dark piece from Love’s classic ‘Forever Changes’ LP. A Monkees cover of Carole King’s ‘As We Go Along’ is followed by ‘Holding’ taken from country rock legends The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s debut album. The Factory, Lowell George’s pre-Little Feat band is represented by ‘Smile, Let Your Life Begin’ as are Linda Ronstadt and The Stone Poneys by their take on Pamela Polland’s ‘I’ve Got To Know.’ The box set’s title is taken from ‘Love Street’, a track on The Doors’ ‘Waiting For The Sun’ album, which includes the lyrics “I see you live on Love Street, there’s this store where the creatures meet.” The remainder of the first disc is an eclectic mix. There are tracks from singer/songwriters, well known such as Barry McGuire and Scott McKenzie, and obscure artists such as Ruthann Friedman and Steve Noonan. Well known rock acts of the day are represented by Clear Light and The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, folk rock by The Mamas and Papas and The Leaves, and country rock by Buffalo Springfield, Dillard & Clark and the Gram Parsons era Byrds.

Disc two titled ‘Going Home To California’ has twenty three tracks spanning 1969-1971. The tunes again represent the various genres, and include hit singles such as Stephen Stills’ ‘Love The One Your With’, Three Dog Night’s ‘Mama Told Me (Not To Come)’ and Canned Heat’s ‘Let’s Work Together’. Country rockers Poco (‘Pickin’ Up The Pieces’), Hoyt Axton (‘Kingswood Manor’), the Flying Burrito Brothers (‘Christine’s Tune (Devil In Disguise’), Rick Nelson (‘Catherine’) and Gene Clark (‘White Light’) are blended seamlessly with singer/songwriters Tim Buckley (Buzzin’ Fly’) and Jimmy Webb (‘P.F. Sloan’). Rock acts include Steppenwolf (‘It’s Never Too Late’), Frank Zappa (Peaches En Regalia’) and Love (‘I Still Wonder’), while folk rock performers include David Crosby (‘Traction In The Rain’) and the previously mentioned Stills. Also included are recordings by female singer/songwriter Essa Mohawk (‘I Am The Breeze’), session guitarist and Wrecking Crew member, soon to be crossover superstar Glen Campbell (‘Where’s The Playground Susie’), pop rockers Warren Zevon (‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’) and Susan Carter, and the incredibly difficult to categorize Kim Fowley (‘Born To Make You Cry’). ‘Outlaw’ by Nils Lofgren and Grin, is a guitar driven country rocker. The disc closes with ‘Too Much Truth, Too Much Love’ from the duo of Dave Mason and Cass Elliot, with the former supplying delicate guitar and the tune filled with gorgeous vocal harmonies.

Disc three ‘Postcards From Hollywood’ includes twenty two tracks released 1971-1975. This disc, perhaps due to its longer timespan contains more familiar material, opening with a gentle, guitar driven rocker by J.D. Souther, followed by the single version of ‘Easy To Slip’ by Little Feat. Linda Ronstadt’s cover of Neil Young’s ‘Birds’, from his ‘After The Goldrush’ LP leads to ‘Crayon Angels’ which Graham Nash produced for tragic female singer/songwriter Judee Sill. Harry Nilsson’s gorgeous voice is heard on ‘Driving Along’, taken from his hit album ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’. ‘We Have No Secrets’ was for all intents and purposes the title track of female singer/songwriter Carly Simon’s ‘No Secrets’ in 1972. The Danny Whitten penned Crazy Horse original version of ‘I Don’t Want To Talk About It’ shines and the song was a hit for Rod Stewart, sadly after Whitten’s passing, like that of Judee Sill, from a heroin overdose. Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina’s ‘Danny’s Song’ would be a top 10 hit for Anne Murray. Gram Parsons’ ‘How Much I’ve Lied’ appeared on his ‘G.P.’ album in 1973. Rita Coolidge delivers a delicate take on Neil Young’s ‘Journey Through The Past’, an outtake from ‘Harvest.’ ‘Paper To Write On’ is a melodic pop rocker from Crabby Appleton’s ‘Rotten To The Core’ long player. The light and breezy ‘Tight Rope’ gave Leon Russell his first top 20 hit. ‘Anyway I Love You’ was an early country tinged folk rocker from Dan Fogelberg. Ned Doheny, who briefly worked in a trio with Dave Mason and Cass Elliot delivers a wistful folk rocker in ‘Postcards From Hollywood’ the title track to his critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful debut LP. Singer/songwriter David Blue delivers a rocking ‘Outlaw Man’ featuring Dave Mason and David Lindley on guitar and Glenn Frey contributing backing vocals. The tune which failed to sell as a single for Blue was covered by The Eagles on their ‘Desperado’ album. Ex-Love guitarist Jay Donnellan and his band Morning shine on their cover of Joni Mitchell’s ‘For Free.’ Would be country rock supergroup The Souther Hillman Furay Band, consisting of J.D. Souther, former Buffalo Springfield and Poco guitarist Richie Furay and ex-Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers and Stephen Stills led Manassas bassist Chris Hillman, had a short existence, but their lone LP had its moments, including ‘Fallin’ In Love’ whose gorgeous melody was accompanied by beautiful vocals and a tasty guitar solo. The disc, and box set, closes with ‘Say You Love Me’ written and sung by Chris McVie, a hit single which appeared on Fleetwood Mac’s multi-platinum self titled 1975 album, the first to include new members Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks.

The three discs of ‘I See You Live On Love Street: Music From Laurel Canyon 1967-1975’ come in cardboard mini-LP sleeves. The discs are contained in a clamshell box accompanied by a lavishly illustrated full color 48 page booklet with an introduction and detailed track by track annotations by compiler David Wells. The 72 tracks sound fresh and crisp thanks to the mastering job of Simon Murphy. The box set will appeal to fans of 1960’s and 1970’s rock of all varieties, and is the perfect followup to Grapefruit’s 2022 compilation ‘Heroes & Villains: The Sound of Los Angeles 1965-1968’. The compilation is most highly recommended.

Kevin Rathert

Various Artists – ‘I See You Live On Love Street – Music From Laurel Canyon 1967-1975’ (3cd Box Set | Cherry Red Records)

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