Mudcat Café message #3088343 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #135383   Message #3088343
Posted By: Desert Dancer
03-Feb-11 - 11:56 PM
Thread Name: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
Subject: RE: Review: 'Troubadours' documentary - '70s LA folk
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.