John Phillips

John, the Wolf King of LA - 1970

Known most prominently as the album whose cover Dylan aped for his Desire LP, John, The Wolf King of L.A. is that and much much more. The letting go of lofty hippy ideals. The L.A. burnout album. The first great album in arguably the best decade of modern music. Any way you slice it, Wolf King is a monument, or if not that, at least a very prominent signpost and one that has inexplicably drifted further off the radar as time marches on. Supported by a band comprised mostly of Elvis' touring group, Phillips arranged and performed with a majestic country tinge that was not entirely different at its core from the material he wrote with the Mamas and the Papas, however to overcome his shortcomings as a vocalist, he intentionally buried his vocals deep in the mix and allowed Buddy Emmons' pedal steel and the female backing vocals (including Darlene Love) to take much of the spotlight. Truth be told, Phillips' vocals are actually tremendous, and their frailty reveals a vulnerability that surrounds this album and overtakes the listener much in the same way pessimism rules Neil Young's On the Beach or junkie paranoia carries Sly's There's a Riot Goin' On. Elegant and deceptively simple, Wolf King may take a few listens to sink in, but once it does, it goes deep.


Mephisto said...

Thanks for "Mississippi" and the rest of course..


Anonymous said...

this really is one of the best albums ever! funny thing: it was only reisuued on CD this year--what a tragedy!

Allen Iverson said...

Amazing album -- almost like a roadtrip from Malibu, across Texas, through the South, and up to Jersey.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the music is in AAC format. Nice!