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Great little documentary that will work for the casual viewer as well as those that know a little more of the music and period
bob the moo10 March 2007
From the 1960's till the end of the 1970's, Los Angeles found itself going from a non-entity in the musical world to the hub of the American music scene. This documentary charts that transformation, starting with the development of modern folk/rock music to the stadium excesses of the seventies including contributions from the likes of David Crosby, Graham Nash, David Geffen and others.

Based on Hoskyns' book of the same name (which I have not read) this documentary takes a skate through the music industry in LA in its formative years. Although I knew most of the artists and most of the songs, I could not tell you much about them beyond the actual tracks themselves, so I wasn't sure how I would find this documentary. Happily the answer was "very easily" because the documentary does a great job of moving easily though the music and the period and making it easy to understand and appreciate. The slight downside of this might be that if you are a music historian who lives and breathes this period then the film probably just smacks of superficiality. But for the casual viewer with a working knowledge of the artists, this is actually a pretty interesting and well developed history of the music and the period.

By this I mean that not only do you get a potted history of the various players in the scene (Geffen etc) but you also get a feel for how they also fit in and around the society of the period and how it changes. If it sounds clunky then I apologise because it never is and these aspects are all blended together really well. Of course what really helps the good range of archive footage and structure is a strong collection of contributions from those involved. Talking heads from Crosby, Geffen, Nash, Volman and others are rarely pointless and all of them are really well used and have something interesting to say each time they are used.

Overall then a great little documentary that will work for the casual viewer as well as those that know a little more of the music and period. It covers a lot of ground without feeling too rushed or basic, encompassing the music and the society and using some great contributions from a strong selection of the people involved.
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2/10
Good film - pity about the subject matter
migoe449 January 2009
My God this is dreadful. Not the production,cinematography etc. As a documentary it's commendable. But the subject matter is just dire. I loved the sixties and the San Fran sound of Jefferson Airplane and the fantastic folk/rock psychedelia both in England and the US. I'm Irish but spent a good part of 1970 in the states trying to find hippy - but I was a year too late. Instead I attended a series of rock festivals where the grass was good but most of the music pure crap. The big thing of that summer was this incredibly dreary , utterly tedious simpleton called James Taylor. Around that time an outrageously overrated LP of suicide-inducing blandness Tapestry from a James Taylor fellow traveler Carol King topped the charts for over a year !! Crosby Stills & Nash looked cool but sang similarly bland tripe. It all culminated with the the kings of mindfrying blandness and mellow crassness the Eagles. A guy called Jackson Brown also contributed his "look at me - I have long hair, write my own lyrics , can strum a guitar soul-lessly ad infinitum ,am trying to find myself" to the general dullness of what apparently was the LA canyon "sound". Worst of all was the freaky sounding Joni Mitchell , a girl with the most unlovely smile and the the weirdest shoulders atop an almost hunchback spine. She is an incredibly awful singer. But the biggest prat of all is the moody shriek himself - Neil Young. If you watch this documentary I dare you to suppress laughter as this idiot self-consciously , pretentiously and with much hair-flicking and dandruff itching informs us that he might be willing to reveal his thoughts in song (if we behave ? ).

I usually love music documentaries and I love rock but the people who inhabit this film made such really bad music that it's pure torture to watch it.
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