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The Hotel California Show

512px-1974_Joni_Mitchell.jpg
Asylum Records [Public domain]
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Wikimedia Commons

This week we go back in time to a remarkable decade in rock history as we explore the organic and prolific explosion of California folk-rock artists we still treasure today. 

As folk artists gradually moved from Greenwich Village to West Hollywood, singer songwriters such as Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Neil Young, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Carole King and Linda Ronstadt emerged from the living rooms of Laurel Canyon to become hit makers of the record industry.        

We begin with Joni Mitchell, the female poet laureate of the movement. "Willy" is her ballad about her relationship with Graham Nash, who later chronicled their time together in the idyllic "Our House." We later revisit Joni's magical "Court and Spark".                  

We move on to Crosby, Stills, and Nash's gorgeous rendition of the Beatles "Blackbird," recorded in London and never released until now. 

Next up is James Taylor's "Sweet Baby James,” a monster hit written for his baby nephew James. Later in the show he's joined by Carole King, also a master songwriter, for a duet performed originally at the legendary Doug Westin's Troubadour in 1970 and repeated in 2007 at the Troubadour.  

Bonnie Raitt, a native Californian and daughter of John Raitt, gives us a bluesy rendition of "Since I fell for you." Jackson Browne joins us to perform two of his hits. Van Morrison, whose style everyone wanted to get close to, sings an upbeat "Jackie Wilson Said."

Linda Ronstadt, who wasn't a songwriter, but who possessed one of the most stunning voices of her generation gives us her cover of "Just One Look,” written a decade before.

We conclude with the Eagles’ anthem "Hotel California, " a cynical look at the draw of the beautiful dream of Los Angeles and the dark side of the commercialization of the music and the growing drug scene that threatened the innocence of the era. 

So, kick back, put on your boomer shoes, and enjoy some of the finest songbirds to come out of the Woodstock generation. 

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