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Jonathan Wilson: Son of the Source

Kandia Crazy Horse, San Francisco Bay Guardian, 28 October 2009

CALIFORNIA MY WAY: Pacifica in all her roaring glory; 'Bluebird'; Gene Clark suffering for his art at the Troubadour; Arthur Lee perched atop Laurel Canyon as dark magus of the Sunset Strip; "Free Huey!"; George Hunter and the Charlatans giving birth to the '60s in Frisco and Virginia City; redbones holding it down at Alcatraz; Barry White's boudoir epics vs. War's low rider country-funk; R.I.P. Nudie Cohn; surf-and-skate as spiritual practice and Third World coalition builder at street level; 'We'll Get By'; Mary Ellen Pleasants; Sly Stone's pop hoodoo; '¡Viva Cesar Chavez!'; the Watts Towers as organic temple and pan-African signifier; Iron Eyes Cody; the impenetrable alien secrets of Joshua Tree; Citizen Kane; Country Joe McDonald in a helmet ripping 'Section 43' at Monterey; Jack London's and Charles Manson's erudite racism; rebellions yielding the "black Woodstock" Wattstax; Skid Row tacos; alas, poor Ishi; is Mount Shasta really an Atlantean portal?; 'Snakes on Everything'; RTX; a great big wave looming to wash away Neil Young and his spindly wood home from Topanga Canyon; Chet Helms, my hero; really tall red trees — and the glossy harmonies of the Mamas & the Papas, much beloved favourites of my mother before she left upon her starship. Their masterpiece 'California Dreamin'' was on my mind as Indian summer gave way to autumn and the 40th anniversaries of polarized cosmic events such as the man on the moon, Woodstock, the Manson murders, the late Michael Jackson's pop debut unfolded apace.

Total word count of piece: 843


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