Old Favorite Thing: Vol. 2, No. 1: "Mississippi," John Phillips

After the (awesome) aural assault of Times New Viking last night, I needed something decidedly mellower for the car ride home. Not mid-'90s Low mellow, just something relaxing that would make for nice windows-down driving late on a pleasant summer night. So I went with one of my go-to albums that never lets me down - "John, The Wolf King of L.A." by John Phillips.

I'll admit that I only discovered the 1970 solo debut by the Mamas & the Papas leader because its album covered was "borrowed" by Bob Dylan for "Desire" a few years later. (Check it.) And while it's not quite as good as that underrated Dylan masterpiece (only about, oh 16 albums are) it's still pretty perfect. It just nails that relaxed - OK, burned out - country-rock, Laurel Canyon vibe. And most songs feature a chorus of female backup singers, one of the most reliable gimmicks to give a song some extra emotional heft.

Each one of the 10 tunes on the album is a winner but the best is "Mississippi," an almost-hoedown that uses those backup singers to great effect during the chorus. It's got a bouncy bass line and some fine fiddle, to boot. The video below is, of course, unofficial, but pretty funny. Unlike Times New Viking, I'd be puzzled if anyone didn't enjoy this song.

By David Malitz |  June 26, 2008; 6:10 PM ET Old Favorite Thing
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you probably are aware but he grew up in alexandria, and his first band, with local phil blondheim --aka scott mackenzie -- was called the del ray locals.

great album. topanga canyon is my fav.

Posted by: hackmuth | June 27, 2008 11:38 AM

ha. i was definitely blasting this album on the way home from the times new viking show too. and i do mean "blasting," because after the tnv show i couldn't hear anything not turned up to 11.

"april anne" and "let it bleed, genevieve" are my favs.

Posted by: sean | June 27, 2008 1:37 PM

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