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Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk

Desert Dancer 02 Feb 11 - 11:34 AM
John on the Sunset Coast 02 Feb 11 - 01:04 PM
Bev and Jerry 02 Feb 11 - 06:09 PM
pdq 02 Feb 11 - 07:43 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 02 Feb 11 - 07:57 PM
pdq 02 Feb 11 - 08:25 PM
Desert Dancer 03 Feb 11 - 12:48 AM
Desert Dancer 03 Feb 11 - 12:58 AM
John on the Sunset Coast 03 Feb 11 - 12:00 PM
GUEST,Seonaid 03 Feb 11 - 12:23 PM
WFDU - Ron Olesko 03 Feb 11 - 01:07 PM
pdq 03 Feb 11 - 01:59 PM
Desert Dancer 03 Feb 11 - 02:32 PM
Desert Dancer 03 Feb 11 - 02:51 PM
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Stringsinger 03 Feb 11 - 06:35 PM
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Desert Dancer 03 Feb 11 - 11:50 PM
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Subject: Review: 'Troubadors' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 11:34 AM

Recalling the Reign of Taylor and King

By STEPHEN HOLDEN
New York Times
February 1, 2011

Once upon a time in Lotus Land, the Troubadour, a 300-seat nightclub in West Hollywood, Calif., became the center of the singer-songwriter movement that dominated American pop during much of the 1970s. Created by Doug Weston, a wild-haired eccentric whose favorite attire was a green corduroy suit that earned him the nickname Jolly Green Giant, the club is fondly remembered in Morgan Neville's documentary "Troubadours" as the place that kick-started a musical genre. Mr. Weston died in 1999, but the Troubadour still flourishes.

Alumni from its golden era (1968-73) include Carole King, James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Kris Kristofferson, Bonnie Raitt, the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt and many more. In August 1970, Elton John made his auspicious American debut there. Back then, in the words of one talking head, the Troubadour was "the living room," the Laurel Canyon neighborhood "the bedroom," and marijuana "the church" of the Los Angeles music scene. Things went downhill when cocaine and heroin entered the picture.

The enjoyable, lightweight "Troubadours" is a musical scrapbook that throws together a bit of this and a bit of that. At first it seems to be a chronicle of Ms. King and Mr. Taylor's 2007 reunion at the club to celebrate its 50th anniversary. And it includes homey scenes of these two longtime friends amiably swapping reminiscences of the good old days. "Troubadours" has some wonderful footage of Ms. King and Mr. Taylor, then and now; a high point is a latter-day duet of Mr. Taylor's song "You Can Close Your Eyes."

But as a history of the singer-songwriter phenomenon, which evolved out of folk music and crested during the lull between the Beatles' breakup and the rise of disco and punk rock, it is frustratingly sketchy. There is no serious attempt to connect the singer-songwriters to the folk tradition. Mr. Browne is the only musician to mention Bob Dylan, without whom the movement might never have coalesced. Ms. King's debt to Rodgers and Hammerstein goes unacknowledged. And the links between singer-songwriters and the traditional American songbook as a whole are not explored.

That said, there are plenty of nuggets of nostalgia. A twinkling David Crosby remembers the West Coast scene in the pre-AIDS era as a sexual utopia. Mr. Browne pays tribute to Mr. Dylan by singing a fragment of his song "I Want You" as an affectionate imitation of his idol. A young Steve Martin is shown playing the banjo, and Mr. Kristofferson recalls his initial impression of Ms. Mitchell as "Shakespeare reincarnated."

Other prominent talking heads include Peter Asher (a former manager and producer for Mr. Taylor and Ms. Ronstadt); Danny Kortchmar, the session guitarist and a close friend of Mr. Taylor's; and Robert Hilburn, the former chief rock critic of The Los Angeles Times, who covered the scene as it was happening.

Conspicuous omissions include David Geffen, who built his empire on singer-songwriters like Ms. Mitchell, who is also not interviewed, although we see a luminous vintage performance of her song "California." Some of the footage accompanying the music misreads the song; Mr. Taylor's "Fire and Rain" is illustrated with Vietnam War scenes.

"Troubadours" dredges up the silly skirmishes between East Coast rock critics who reviled a genre they routinely dismissed as self-absorbed navel-gazing and the practitioners of that laid-back style. The Eagles were particular whipping boys. The former Village Voice rock critic Robert Christgau quotes a phrase from the Eagles' hit "Take It Easy" as evidence of a "worthless sensibility." But the singer-songwriter J. D. Souther has a point when he speculates that much of that hostility was really jealousy of a scene awash in money and beautiful women.

In the end, as another talking head points out, "the music always wins." And it did — by a landslide.

TROUBADOURS

Opens on Wednesday in Manhattan.

Directed by Morgan Neville; directors of photography, Nicola Marsh and Arlene Nelson; edited by Miranda Yousef; produced by Eddie Schmidt; released by Concord Music Group. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at Third Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 31 minutes. This film is not rated.

"Troubadours" will be shown on the PBS series "American Masters" in March and will be released as a CD/DVD by Concord Records.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadors' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 01:04 PM

I don't know personally consider the late '60s/early '70s a golden era...a middle age perhaps. I much preferred the era some eight or ten years earlier...Hoyt Axton, The Clancy Brothers, the various local acts which amalgamated into the New Christy Minstrels, etc. and too many to remember. Any era with James Taylor is dross to me.

When I get back home in a few days, I'll pull out my well worn Hootenanny at the Troubadour c. 1963...that'll be my American Masters salute to the Troub.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadors' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 06:09 PM

We're with you, John. The real golden era of The Troubadour was a decade earlier than the period described in this film and we spent many a glorious evening there.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadors' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: pdq
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 07:43 PM

Perhaps one could call this the Folk-Rock era at the Troubador rather than the earlier Folk era.

Note that with the exception of David Crosby and Jackson Browne, few of these people are native to the area, and even Browne was born in Germany to US parents.

David Crosby was born into a ShowBiz family in Hollywood and is, to say the least, a spoiled brat. No wonder the Greenwich Village crown resented these privledged folks taking all the air out of the room.

All these folks had early success, made lots of money, did lots of drugs, and never came within a county mile of the Roots music that inspired the NY crowd.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadors' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 07:57 PM

As a die-hard New York who loves the roots era of the folk revival, I must say that what was created in California was more than a blip on the radar. The had much more than "early success", nearly every name mentioned in the review are active and can fill large halls - and they write great songs. The denizens of the early days are largely forgotten, and that is sad - but the truth.

There are great songs from every era, and each of us will cling to our own memories of what we loved and stays with us. It isn't the same for everyone.

I "came of age" during the mid to late 70's and names like Harry Chapin, Tom Waits and Loudon Wainwright would be added to my list.

Still looking forward to seeing the documentary.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadors' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: pdq
Date: 02 Feb 11 - 08:25 PM

Just to clarify, Jackson Browne is usually considered to be from Garden Grove in Orange County, CA, where is was raised. His musical collaborator David Lindley is from the up-scale neighborhoods of San Marino, LA County. Chris Hillman was raised in LA's Fernando Valley, but was born in San Diego County, a reasonable drive south.

Most of the people mentioned are from a long way away. Peter Asher's sister was an early girlfriend of Paul McCartney and was actually allowed to live with them by McCartney's parents as a member of the family.

Asher was part of the McCarthey-James Taylor-Apple Record connection that got "Gone to Carolina In My Mind" and other songs recorded.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadors' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 12:48 AM

"silly skirmishes" -- that apparently aren't over, eh?


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadors' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 12:58 AM

[I see I misspelled the title in the thread subject, I'll get that fixed.]

Trailer premiere: 'Troubadours' documentary showcases the rise and influence of the Troubadour club

(see link for film trailer)

Pop & Hiss
The L.A. Times music blog
-- Randall Roberts
January 20, 2011

It's a club whose name has become shorthand for a certain sound, and a certain vibe: The Troubadour. The intimate West Hollywood club, since its opening in 1957, has introduced some of the world's most acclaimed singers and songwriters to Los Angeles, and the world.

A new documentary about one of the most important partnerships to blossom at the club in the late 1960s and early 1970s, between musicians James Taylor and Carole King, will premiere this weekend at Sundance Film Festival, and Pop & Hiss offers you a first look at the trailer to the film, called "Troubadours." Directed by Morgan Neville, the film is subtitled "Carol King - James Taylor - The Rise of the Singer Songwriter," and provides a look into the Laurel Canyon and West Hollywood scenes that gave rise to artists ranging from Tom Waits and Joni Mitchell to Jackson Browne, Elton John and Harry Nilsson, among many others.

The film features interviews with important musical voices of the era, including former Times pop music critic Robert Hilburn; producer/visionary Lou Adler; actor/banjo player/comedian/writer Steve Martin; Kris Kristofferson; J.D. Souther; and Elton John.

It's been a good year for King and Taylor, whose 2010 American tour focused on the songs the pair worked out at the Troubadour 40 years prior. Their closeness and obvious affection for each other onstage struck a nerve among concertgoers, who helped make the tour one of the most successful of the year. Neville, a seasoned cultural documentarian with a passion for L.A. stories -- his previous films include "The Cool School," about the Los Angeles art scene of the 1960s and '70, "Johnny Cash's America" and "Respect Yourself: The Stax Records Story" -- sought to capture the essence of King and Taylor's relationship for "Troubadours."

After the film's premiere in Park City, Utah, it will be broadcast throughout March as part of PBS's American Masters series. Concord Records will release a combination CD/DVD package on March 1, which, in addition to the 90-minute film, will be augmented with a CD of classic tracks from that fertile period of L.A. song: King's "It's Too Late," Taylor's "Sweet Baby James," Waits' "Ol' 55," Bonnie Raitt's "Love Has No Pride," Elton John's "Take Me To The Pilot," Warren Zevon's "Poor Poor Pitiful Me," Little Feat's "Dixie Chicken," and others.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 12:00 PM

I've no problem in considering NY the center of the folk revival. Folks congregated around Washington Square/The Village and it was a lot easier for musicians to exchange songs and ideas...in southern California there was no central area. The folk scene was spread from San Diego to West Hollywood, from Venice to Pasadena, but in its way it was very vibrant.

There are not many venues left, here, for folk oriented artists on a regular basis. The two main ones I know of are both in the Pasadena area...Cal Tech Folk Music Society (college venue) and The Coffee Gallery Backstage which is operated by the fellow who ran The Ice House when it was a folk club back in the sixties.

By about 1970, my musical tastes had changed. While I appreciated many of the newer artists, I was not interested in them as a 'folk genre'.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: GUEST,Seonaid
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 12:23 PM

Ah, the Troubador --
I believe that's where I heard the "Pseudo Maountain Boys" (really!) years ago....


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: WFDU - Ron Olesko
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 01:07 PM

I think it is arguable that New York was THE "center" for the revival, it was certainly a very important center, but there were many such "centers" around the country.

This film is discussing an era that was impacted by the folk revival, perhaps the evolution of and the influence of folk music created this fertile period of great songs.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: pdq
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 01:59 PM

Nobody questions the talent and musical contributions these people made, but this is the story of Pop Music made by people who had some Folk roots, although Carol King didn't even have that, being a product of the New York music machine run by Don Kirshner whose goal was to make millions of bucks through music, not to make good music.

About the Los Angeles County Folk clubs...

The Troubadour opened in 1957 and continues as a progressive music and folk venue in West Hollywood, although that city was not incorporated until 1984.

The Ash Grove in Los Angeles opened in 1958, closed in 1973.

McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica opened in 1958 but I cannot find whether their live concerts started at the same time. Even smaller than the Troubadour with a "full house" being 150 people.

The Ice House (Pasadena) opened as folk club in 1960 but changed with the times, becoming one of the country's premier comedy clubs by the mid the 1970s.

Some say the Ash Grove was the best. Don't know, but perhaps some folks who went to these venues can share a story.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 02:32 PM

McCabe's Guitar Shop is still going strong, of course, as both a shop and concert venue. We get over there quite often. Although McCabe's had an hand in the development of many musicians during the 60s due to being a place for lessons and hanging out with like-minded folks, their first concert wasn't until 1969: KCRW McCabe's 50th anniversary page.

Boulevard Music, another guitar shop, on Sepulveda Blvd. at Culver Blvd. in Culver City has a good concert series.

The Living Tradition in Anaheim also has a good monthly concert series, as well as presenting contra dances.

The Ash Grove: we went to the 50th anniversary event at UCLA, but weren't around when it was active.

This documentary is about a narrow window into the evolution of contemporary singer-songwriters, and I was probably inviting trouble by putting the "f-word" in the title of this thread. ;-) The subject matter has some relation to the "folk revival" (and the NY Times reviewer criticizes the film for not examining this and other contextual issues more closely) but the film is not meant to be about traditional folk music, so if you're not into that don't bother seeing it, I would think.

Actually, the "silly skirmishes" that Stephen Holden refers to are engaged by "East-coast rock critics", so that's a whole 'nother line of kerfuffle...

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 02:51 PM

We haven't gotten to The Coffee Gallery, although we've intended to and regretted not going several times... it's a bit of a slog up to Altadena from Long Beach. (I believe hubby has supported them with advance ticket buying more times than he's filled a seat there.)

And while I'm at it, here's the link for The Troubadour. As a current venue it has not really come up on my concert-going radar, probably because I really am more into traditional stuff and the non-trad performers hubby and I are into are not particularly "cutting edge".

History page for the Troubadour.

~ B in LB


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 05:50 PM

"The Ice House (Pasadena) opened as folk club in 1960 but changed with the times, becoming one of the country's premier comedy clubs by the mid the 1970s."

Well, we played there in the early 1980s and that night, in their two rooms, they presented three folk groups, two rock groups and......Timothy Leary!

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Stringsinger
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 06:35 PM

Names not mentioned: Hoyt Axton, Steve Mann,Terry Kirkman and the Association,
Not much on Doug Weston, Roger McGuinn,

Other venues: The Penny University in San Bernadino and Folk Center in Clairmont.

Jerry McCabe had his guitar shop earlier than 1958 and there were informal concerts there before 1960.

Ed Pearl, who ran the Ash Grove started about the same time as the Troub but decided early on after a meeting at Newport Folk Festival with Alan Lomax to devote more toward traditional folk music talent then the pop stuff at the Troub. New Lost City Ramblers were a mainstay but so many greats played there. Many blues players also.

I appeared on the opposite bill with Dave Crosby at a now established laundry but in those days was a poor man's Troub called the New Balladeer. The Byrds came down to see Dave and had just signed their contract with Columbia that day. Hamburgers were being flipped in the back of the venue by John Kay, eventually to join Steppenwolf (another name not mentioned.) Born to be wild.

Oh yes, Jackie de Shannon (Put a Little Love in your Heart) at the Troub and the Grove
and also Rod McKuen.

Craig Doerge, Lee Sklar, Danny Kortchmar, Russ Kunkel were local musicians.
They formed a band called the "Section" which accompanied James Taylor.

My former student, Karla Bonoff played the Troub and I think so did Patty (Reagan) Davis.

I accompanied Hoyt Axton at the Troub.

Doug Weston was a case history in himself. Born to be wild.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 07:05 PM

Thanks, Stringsinger.

The Folk Music Center in Claremont opened in 1958, too. Must have been a good year. They have a current concert series, too. We've been in a couple of times, but not to any shows. It's now owned by the founders' grandson, musician Ben Harper.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: John on the Sunset Coast
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 08:41 PM

Re: The Ash Grove

Pearl opened a new Ash Grove on the Santa Monica Pier while my son was in college, so that would have been late 1980s/early '90s. I believe it lasted for a bit over a year, maybe two.

Anther venue which is still active is the Fret House, Covina. Fred Sokolow will be there EOM, the WE FIVE (consisting of 40% original members) in the spring, amongst others.

I didn't mention them earlier, as The Fret House and The Folk Music Center, are considerable east of Pasadena, speaking of decentralization.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Bev and Jerry
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 10:58 PM

Wow! You guys are stirring up a lot of old memories for us. We went to The Folk Music Center dozens of times and Bev bought her Martin 000-28 there. The owners, Charles and Dorothy Chase, had concerts at their house and we remember seeing Jean Ritchie and Earl Robinson there. And, we were stalwart members of the Claremont Guitar club which they started.

And, the Fret House! They changed ownership many years ago but the previous owners were good friends of ours. We lived within walking distance (at least when we were a little younger) of the shop. They restored Jerry's Martin D-35 after a tragic accident which nearly destroyed it. There was a regular concert series there and we played it a time or two.

And the Penny University. We can remember seeing Mary McCaslin there about fifty (yes, fifty) years ago!

We didn't realize there were so many 'catters from the L.A. area.

Bev and Jerry


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 11:50 PM

I think there are just 3 or 4 of us here right now... ?

An interview with director Morgan Neville at the Santa Barbara Film Festival this week.

SUNDANCE REVIEW: Troubadours
by David Rooney
The Hollywood Reporter
1/25/2011

Director Morgan Neville does an adequate job in retracing the explosion of singer-songwriter talent out of West Hollywood's legendary Troubadour club, but makes a bad choice by starting now, not then.

PARK CITY -- Speaking as someone whose preteen soundtrack featured "Tapestry" and "Sweet Baby James," it's safe to predict a warm generational embrace for this flashback to the heyday of Carole King and James Taylor. But even those of us with an embarrassing soft spot for the early '70s L.A. sound have a right to expect a film that wraps some analytical social context around its swooning nostalgia.

A specialist in music docs – past films have examined Stax Records, Muddy Waters, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Iggy Pop & the Stooges, Sam Phillips, Brian Wilson, Nat King Cole, you name it – director Morgan Neville is nothing if not proficient. But in retracing the explosion of singer-songwriter talent out of West Hollywood's legendary Troubadour club, he makes a bad choice by starting now, not then.

Inspiration for Troubadours was King and Taylor's 2007 reunion concerts and subsequent tour. And while there's a ton of terrific archival material and performance clips here, the filmmaker appears to regard his coup as getting King and Taylor to sit down and interview each other. That one-on-one mutual lovefest is about as interesting as a PBS pledge drive. (Didn't they actually do one last year?) And the movie has at least a dozen too many shots of earth mother King beaming beatifically at Taylor.

Cloying present-day elements aside, Neville does an adequate job of charting the evolution of the Los Angeles singer-songwriter scene, which blossomed as the ferment of the '60s was waning.

If there are glaring absences – not getting a Joni Mitchell interview must have hurt -- there are plenty of first-hand accounts from artists who played the Troubadour, among them Jackson Browne, Kris Kristofferson, David Crosby, Bonnie Raitt and Elton John, who got his American breakout at the club. Comics also were part of the scene, yielding amusing observations from Cheech & Chong and particularly Steve Martin.

What's refreshing in this age of rampant overproduction and Auto-Tune is performance footage in which a strong singer needed just an acoustic guitar or piano – or in Mitchell's case, a dulcimer – to captivate an audience.

Neville spends time on King's path from Brill Building tunesmith-for-hire to a performer in her own right at the urging of her then-husband and songwriting partner Gerry Goffin. The move to the West Coast was central to that transition. Much is made also of her seeming effortlessness in balancing career with motherhood.

The film is less probing about Taylor's life, only briefly acknowledging his drug problems before declaring him clean since 1983. Likewise it skims over the intriguing history of Troubadour founder Doug Weston, whose abrasive eccentricity drove a lot of artists away.

Perhaps the most unguarded insights come from Crosby, who smiles while recalling the wild window of sexual opportunity between the advent of the pill and AIDS. He also looks back fondly on the days when pot and psychedelics ruled, until coke and heroin came along to kill the party.

A key weakness of the documentary is that it doesn't do enough to refute the charges long leveled at the Laurel Canyon league by music critics. Neville identifies Taylor's Fire and Rainas the defining song of a generation tired of fighting and ready to chill and regroup. That impulse has been widely interpreted as one divorced from the realities of Richard Nixon's America, labeling "the mellow mafia" a bunch of lightweights mired in self-satisfied navel-gazing.

When longtime Village Voice music editor Robert Christgau finally comes on to air that derisive dissent, it's a welcome relief in a film that borders on hagiography. Not that lack of critical distance is likely to matter to its core audience, as shown by the rapturous whoops and applause that greeted Sundance screenings.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Feb 11 - 11:56 PM

pdq, what relevance is there that any of these people were not native angelinos? And why follow that by being critic of those who are from the area? I'm not sure I understand your point(s)...

Sundance Review: Troubadours

by Andrew Pridgen
January 24, 2011
Salt Lake Magazine

It'd be too easy to say Troubadours, Morgan Neville's documentary sprung from the Carole King/James Taylor reunion concert at West Hollywood's Troubadour in 2007, is mere self-congratulatory Boomer junk.

That's only about 80 percent of the story.

Between '68 and '73, the 300-seat Troubadour was the locus for the singer-songwriter LA movement. The doc's featured talking heads Taylor, Jackson Browne, Steve Martin, Kris Kristofferson and David Crosby, all cut their teeth there; only Taylor copping to the fact he remembers nothing (…giving credence to the '60s adage if you remember …you weren't there).

The Boomers' greatest talents (think the aforementioned plus Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Eagles and Cheech & Chong) were born in Doug Weston's Santa Monica Boulevard club and each went on to enjoy the spoils of the recording industry's greatest and last period of growth.

Shangri-La didn't last.

The Troubadour's It factor ebbed in the mid-'70s with the rise of the Roxy and Whiskey; transplants living the California dream in the hills of Laurel Canyon found marijuana and free love eventually turned to cocaine and AIDS; or in the words of Crosby, "To say that sex …and everything… was much better then is an understatement. Much, much better."

The 20 percent of the doc that didn't feel like onset mortality Boomer rehash was the spotlight on King, who deserves her own film.

In the early '60s, King, aged 16, cranked out songs for the day's chart toppers from pop music's 20th century sweatshop — Manhattan's Brill building — think: The Loco-Motion, Will You Love Me Tomorrow, Some Kind of Wonderful, One Fine Day (song), Up on the Roof (song) and Take Good Care of My Baby.

King eventually divorced her husband/songwriting partner and struck out on her own taking her two young daughters West.

It was at the Troubadour she established herself as a solo act. First overcoming nervousness to perform (the recall of her first night on-stage bomb scare "As long as I'm not the one bombing" is the film's highlight), then with back-to-back solo albums, culminating with the multi-Grammy-winning and still-revered third effort, Tapestry — which is the blueprint today (I Feel the Earth Move, So Far Away, It's Too Late, You've Got a Friend, A Natural Woman) for every aspirational songwriter.

Beyond the too-infrequent King spotlight, archival footage, such as James Taylor's first live performance of Fire and Rain at the '69 Newport Music Festival and Steve Martin's banjo solos at the Troubadour, hark back to those halcyon days with effectiveness.

Though great friends/never lovers, Taylor and King's on-camera nostalgia trip/narrative seems a bit forced; one wonders what was said when the light went off.

That's the Boomer doc we deserve.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 12:15 AM

Took a while to find it, for some reason: here's the movie website.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: GUEST,Guest - LIn
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 02:02 AM

I saw the late Tim Buckley at the Troubador in L.A. I believe they did spell it as I typed it above but the Troubadour in London, England is spelled using the second "u." There were a lot of Coffee-houses around in L.A. in the 60's & 70's where anyone could get up and sing/play guitar. There was a cool place in Huntington Beach, California called, "The Golden Bear," (about 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours south of Los Angeles & San Fernando Valley. I was only just starting high school but used to go to these places sometimes on school nights and weekends as well with older friends who had a car or by public transportation. The Troubador in L.A. also had an open mike or was probably called, "Hoot Night" in those days on a week night. This is in the days, many decades before cell phones of course, so you didn't have to deal with rude people talking or texting on a cell phone during an artist's performance. People really listened to the performer then.....but that's another whole story.
The "Blue Grotto Coffeehouse" was another great place where anyone could bring their guitar and sing. That was in West Hollywood, California.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 11:34 AM

Yes, the more usual U.S. spelling is without the second "u", but as you can see on their web page, they use it, and consequently so does the movie title. :-)

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: pdq
Date: 04 Feb 11 - 12:04 PM

The club in London called the Troubadour played host to some famous folkies like Carolyn Hester, Richard Farina, Bob Dylan and Eric Von Schmidt in the early 1960s.

It was founded in 1954 and, like the American version, continues today.

The LA venue took the British spelling Troubadour from the one in London, when it opened in1957.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA fo
From: GUEST,figman
Date: 10 Feb 11 - 07:53 PM

We saw the film Sunday night in West Hollywood and pretty much agree with most of what's being said about it. Still, it was interesting, but did anyone notice the spelling of "Drumer" whenever it was written on screen. It's not a spelling version I have ever seen and just wondered how that made it by all the different folks who were involved in the film. It just jumped out at me.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: voyager
Date: 11 Feb 11 - 02:02 PM

Fond, fond memories of the Troubador circa 1960s/70s -

James Taylor as an Apple Recording artist on his 1st US tour

Joni Mitchell - Troubador, song-weaver & artist-extraordinaire

Laura Nyro - Playing 3 encores to an adoring audience

Nina Simone - she played/danced to my audience request -
   See-Line Woman

Tim Buckley / Lee Hazelwood - 'Just Like a Buzzin' Fly'

Tim Hardin - perfoming 'Reason to Believe'

Take me back, take me back to that 'good old used to be' & thanks
to Doug Weston for building this palace of song.

voyager


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 12:40 PM

Out this week on American Masters on most PBS stations. See this new thread.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 01:04 PM

Imagine, Dave Crosby thought it was a "sexual utopia." Dave probably thought the Safeway on Lancashire Blvd was also a sexual utopia.

For a place that catered to folk and blues, the Ash Grove regularly featured the rock band Spirit, one of my favorites of the era. I think there was a family connection between drummer Ed Cassady and the owner, if I recall correctly.


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Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
From: Mary Katherine
Date: 04 Mar 11 - 03:16 PM

You're right, EJ. The drummer for Spirit, Ed Cassidy, was married to Ash Grove owner Ed Pearl's sister Bernice Pearl; Bernice was the mother, and Cass the stepfather, of Spirit guitarist Randy Wolfe Cassidy (who used the stage name "Randy California.")


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