Monday, March 27, 2006

He Is the Walrus

“Is David Crosby still alive?,” asked one of my co-workers recently. It was an interesting question. One with several possible answers. Depends on how you look at it really.

There’s a lot of malign psychic energy directed at this guy, so the fact that he’s technically still kicking is sort of a marvel. Silken-voiced harmonizer. Manatee man. Balding, organ-failing rotund hippie. Weapon-toting addict. Joni Mitchell producer. Ex-Byrd. High-profile sperm donor. In my mind, DC has blurred with the Dennis Hopper character from Easy Rider.

"Laughing" is from 1971's “If I Could Only Remember My Name,” a record that - like Slouching Toward Bethelehem, the Manson Murders, Altamont - really marks the dark come-down after the '60s. An air of damage pervades. The record is a true all-star affair, with Jerry Garcia most of the Dead (minus Bob Weir), members of Santana, Neil Young, members of Jefferson Airplane, Graham Nash, Steven Stills, Joni Mitchell and others joining in.

It reminds me of another veteran of the dreamy Cali hippie scene, someone who would have fit right in at the party: Skip Spence, of Moby Grape (and the Airplane, briefly). It also brings to mind Gary Higgins' Red Hash, one more grim wake-up from the 1960s.

Sometimes the spirit slumbers.

David Crosby - "Laughing"

Skip Spence - "Little Hands"

Gary Higgins - "Telegraph Towers"

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