Wednesday, December 5, 2007

TWELVE-THIRTY (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon)

Listen to TWELVE-THIRTY (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon) by The Mamas & The Papas.

Anyone who knows me knows that my major record find in the past 3 or 4 years has been John Phillips' 1970 album John, The Wolfking of LA. For anyone who hasn't heard this yet, please do yourself a favor and purchase it today. And thanks to Jeff from the former Rocks in Your Head for turning me on to it. Anyway, listening to Wolfking made me curious about some of the Wolfking's non-singles with his former bandmates.

In many ways, the Mamas & the Papas are what people think of when they think Folk Rock. These guys were true folkies, barely even reformed. Thanks to ingenious songwriting from Phillips and a particularly alluring vocal blend, their singles are ubiquitous to the point of being unfairly tuned out by many listeners.

Today's song may be a little less ubiquitous, but probably as good as many of their biggest hits. In fact, I had to ban myself from putting it on repeat because the urge to move to LA from New York would become quite overwhelming--so oppressive that my wife forbade me from bringing it up in polite company anymore. Well, even she can't stop the Wolfking from scatting and/or degrading himself with illegal drugs. In the same way, my mind responds to this tune with fantasies of Laurel Canyon, 1966.

The lyrics are simple and straightforward, yet nicely evocative of fresh-faced young girls migrating to LA in search of a geographic cure. Yet for all its sunny optimism (the line "to say good morning and really mean it" is especially striking), this onslaught threatens to turn the Canyon into what everyone was leaving behind in the first place. The sad/happy melodic contrast between the verse and chorus also highlights this ambivalence nicely.

Photo: Zuma Canyon.

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4 comments:

Amy said...

Love the M&Ps - I played this album to death in high school and it's good to hear it again - reminds me of driving my brother's '73 Dodge Dart around New England

soonergooner said...

NO MAS! NO MAS!
These great tunes are giving me flashbacks to such a wonderful musical time.

ASIDE ALERT!: Don't remember if it was PBS'es wonderful series "American Masters" or what, but there is a great piece on mama cass with obviously much info on her involvement with the M&Ps.

I just knew Amy was a child of priviledge! '73 Dodge Dart INDEED.

Maybe a subject for this blog- "My first kick-ass car stereo." Still have some pieces of one Bill was familiar with...

soonergooner said...

Oh, and speaking of b-days, happy 75th Little Richard!


http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives2/2007/12/019195.php

Bill said...

I don't think I've ever heard this song before, believe it or not.

I'm highly disturbed anyone goes to powerline for little richard news. I guess they really are going to replace the emm-ess-emm