Sunday, July 31, 2005

Musical Roundtable on the Mamas and the Papas, Cass Elliot, hippies, Jane Fonda, gatekeepers and CJR

Dona: I'm the moderator of this roundtable because I will impose time limits. Taking part in the roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ty, Jim, Ava, Jess and C.I. who is also of The Common Ills along with Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Kat of Kat's Korner, Elaine who's subbing for Rebecca at Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man. This is a musical roundtable but we'll veer off. Ava will provide the basic framework we'll be returning to as we leap around. Ava?

Ava: This week one of the e-mails that came out noted that Hip-O Select will soon be releasing a new collection which, among other songs, will include Cass Elliot's "Different." In an earlier feature, "Five CDs, Five Minutes," we'd discussed Dream a Little Dream: The Cass Elliot Collection and C.I. and Jess had addressed the fact that there's a great wealth of Cass songs that are not currently in release. C.I. had noted "Different" in particular.

Jess: We continue to get e-mails on that with people weighing in on Cass tracks from her solo albums that haven't been collected on a best of. We really touched on something there.

Jim: Which honestly surprised me. I had e-mail duty the Monday after that feature was published and I'm going through the e-mails and noting the usual right wingers who feel the need to weigh in each week --

Ty: Because those are the people you write back!

Jim: True. And there's the usual group of Ava & C.I. fans and haters. But there were probably ten e-mails on Cass's music. And Ty had mid-week and found the e-mails were holding steady on that, right?

Ty: Right. There's a lot of love for Cass. And it continues to be something we get e-mails on each week.

Jim: Which is weird because C.I.'s always asking that if we note a song, we provide info about what album it can be found on because C.I.'s the one that the usually gets the e-mail asking, "Hey, the song that got discussed, where can I find it?" And it's really with people weighing in on Cass or on Cass and the Mamas and the Papas that we've experienced that kind of interest on something we've done musically.

Jess: Well, C.I.'s always done music over at The Common Ills. And with Kat's space there for album reviews, members know that no one's going to slap down a ruler and say, "Excuse me! We are discussing electoral politics!"

Betty: Kat, great review of Carly, by the way. [Kat reviewed Carly Simon's Moonlight Serenade last week.] Though I have no man in my life currently, I bought the CD because of your review and it works just as well for those of us not involved.

Kat: Thank you. But let's jump back for a moment because part of the reason C.I. gets those e-mails is because C.I. answers those e-mails. But it is true, obviously, that there's always been a place for music at The Common Ills.

Jess: "Here Comes the Madmen."

Kat: Right. Or the thing for Liang, "Where Are You Now, My Son?" or "Mama Was a Heavy Weight." Or any number of entries that all went up long before I started doing the Kat's Korner feature.

Ava: And music pops up all the time there. We almost did "The Common Ills Songbook" entry last week where we were going to pair up things like "Bullies Without Borders" and "It's Only a Summer Scandal."

C.I.: Note that Dallas wrote "Bullies Without Borders" and that, as usual, he's hunting down links that Ava and I type in requesting while this is going on.

Dona: Correct and we thank Dallas for all of his help.

C.I.: And while it's true that I enjoy the entries that can be framed with a song or that can end with one like Nina Simone's "Ooh Child," it's also true that when there's been a lyrical cutting here, there have been e-mails.

Dona: Good point. Because the point is that the e-mails started, on Cass and the Mamas and the Papas, after "Five CDs, Five Minutes" went up and they've only continued to come in. That is the larger point.

Ty: And the reason, we decided to pick up the topic again.

Ava: And of course Jess selected the Mamas and the Papas Deliver as his favorite CD from the sixties in our "10 CDs, 10 Minutes."

Jess: Right and Mike just bought the boxed set The Mamas and the Papas Complete Anthology so set it up Mike.

Mike: Yeah and like I told you guys awhile back, I rented the documentary on them with my sister, the one PBS was playing, because you guys had made me interested in them from what's gone up here and at C.I.'s and Rebecca's as well as from conversations. And I really liked that documentary and we ended up watching it, my sister and me, and then I watched it again, because I walked in the living room to find my parents watching it. And Betty had e-mailed me about the boxed set, saying I should get it.

Betty: My brother is heavily into boxed sets and he's also someone who goes through phases where he's starting over by moving somewhere. This is one of those periods. So he's made me custodian of all his boxed sets. Which includes the James Brown boxed set and a Stevie Wonder one that didn't surprise me but all the others as well. I was looking through them, which is okay, he's said to listen to any I want, and I saw the Mamas and the Papas one that Kat, C.I. and Jess had been mentioning, The Complete Anthology.

Mike: Which is an import and you could also get it by pledging a set amount to PBS which is how Rebecca got it, right?

Elaine: Actually, correct me if I'm wrong on this C.I., but my understanding was that Rebecca's ex-husband pledged and did it because he figured Rebecca would enjoy the boxed set.

C.I.: I think that's right. But you got it from pledging, right?

Elaine: Yes.

Jess: Kat, C.I. and I all got it through Tower so people can check there or check Amazon which carries it as an import. Michelle Phillips has said that there are no plans to release it domestically. My parents may have gotten it by pledging to PBS, I'm not sure. They do have it.
And when I told them about "Different" being on the upcoming boxed set, they were really excited.

Dona: Which is something that's popped up in the e-mails repeatedly, how excited people still are by Cass, Michelle [Phillips], Denny [Dougherty] and John [Phillips]. They've had staying power. It's not just the people like Jess' parents who were into them at the time they were together, they continue to gain new fans today. Some of that results from people doing what Ava and I've been doing which is educating ourselves on music from other periods, like Joan Baez, but it's also from what could be seen as accidents --

Kat: Or fate.

Dona: Or fate like with Betty.

Betty: They come up in discussions here and I was always a little lost to be honest. When I put on my brother's boxed set, I knew songs like "Monday, Monday" and "California Dreamin'" that I didn't know I knew. I think I know "California Dreamin'" from a movie, probably Forest Gump. But listening tot he boxed set, what stood out to me were other songs.

Kat: And I'll toss in that Complete Anthology includes every track from a Mamas and Papas album. You have Jess' favorite Deliver, as well as the first album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears, the second album which is self-titled, the third album The Papas & the Mamas -- C.I.'s favorite, the live album Historic Performances Recorded At The Monterey International Pop Festival and the album from the seventies that they made to avoid lawsuits, People Like Us. So you have all of that as well as a sample of their solo work and some unreleased tracks.

Betty: Right. The boxed set says on the front that there are a 101 tracks. There's a lot on here. And I think Jess mentioned "String Man" in "Five CDs, Five Minutes" and the vocals on that. I was listening to it and right away got just what Jess meant. But the other songs that really stood out were things like "Got A Feelin,'" ""Safe In My Garden" and "Do You Wanna Dance." I love their harmonies.

Kat: Or "Midnight Voyage" where the harmonies are just so pure and so intense. When there's the break in that where they're talking and then they all come back in on the same note, it's just so powerful, like during "I Saw Her Again Last Night."

Betty: They just had so much power, even in the quiet moments. And when Cass wants to belt, she can really belt like "Sing For Your Supper." Or the second half of "Dream A Little Dream Of Me."

Elaine: And it's so hard not to respond to their music and what you're responding to in many ways is a group that's very much going up against previously accepted notions, not just in terms of their look, but also in terms of what music was.

Betty: Right. I'm a Diana Ross fan and Motown fan and I'm used to the call and response parts of songs like "Back In My Arms Again" but there really was a tendency to have a spotlight voice and the background voices are much less important than they are in, say, a Ray Charles song. Here we're talking about the voices being really integrated in a way that I'm only used to in jazz groups or Sweet Honey In The Rock. Take "Do You Wanna Dance" which can be seen as a Denny spotlight except for the fact that the vocals get turned over to everyone by the last third of the song. There's so much power in these vocals. And it did kind of take me by surprise because I wasn't really expecting that. There a lot of complex arrangements and you don't hear that often. Like Elaine said, not just in that time period but also today.

Jim: And they were one of the first truly integrated by gender groups.

Betty: Right. It wasn't like the Platters with a girl singer or Gladys [Knight] with the Pips.

Mike: And I mean they're cool. They're cool coming out of the speaker and I was thinking about the thing we did where we talked about Jess' parents and how they were hippies and how there's this "To Cool For School" among some that makes them not just dismissive of that period but down right nasty.

Elaine: Right. There's this attitude of "Look at me, I'm no hippie! I'm so much better than that!" And I read that nonsense and think "Oh yeah, peace, love, music, that's something to really distance yourself from."

Jess: Because they want to appear "hard" and "tough." We saw it on a different level this week with the attacks on Jane Fonda and you wrote about some of that.

Elaine: Moderates trying to brandish their "I'm not like that!" cards. It's disgusting and I want to turn over to C.I. on that point because we discussed it at length.

C.I.: Elaine and I feel that this underscores the split in the party that's ongoing. You've got one group pushing to go right and you've got the grassroots saying, "Woah!" The attacks on Fonda this week from the "left" and the moderates were all about proving "I'm not like that!" Just like the move away from support of reproductive rights and of gay rights and of civil rights and anything else that the right tries to tar and smear. Instead of standing up for beliefs, the softies accept the distortions and lies and quickly move to distance themselves because it's easy and it doesn't require any work. From a different angle, Bob Somerby's The Daily Howler addresses this. It's easier, for instance, to laugh along with the Al Gore "jokes," to repeat the distortions or accept them, than it is to say, "Wait that's not true." If you read Somerby regularly, you get that point. People want to take the easy road.

Elaine: And it's true of any attack. You always find people who rush to go along.

Ava: Let's take that point, it's a good one, and put it with an example.

Elaine: No problem. Let's say you love a rainy day, okay? And I hate the rain. You're talking about how great the other day was when it rained and rained non-stop and after you're done, I go into a tirade about how I hate the rain. Now a well adjusted person can take that in and respond with "I disagree" or blow it off. But there are people who will immediately respond, "Oh, I'm not that crazy about rain." You can hear it in conversations all around you. There are people who live to back down and won't stand up for anything. Make it about food, make it about a pie or cake, make it about a travel destination.

Jess: And what we saw after Fonda announced her speaking out tour was the usual and not unexpected attacks from the right, but we also saw the soft underbellies roll over and join in. And it goes the "red" state myth problems that C.I. noted, how people would use that myth, and they ended up doing it, to justify that the party needs to move right.

Kat: The attacks on Fonda were disgusting regardless from where they came but they were especially disappointing when coming from people who present themselves as "left" or "left-leaning." And left-leaning, what is that? Are you a person or a dick?

Betty: Kat always makes me laugh! And it's a solid question.

Kat: Because Jane Fonda's been tarred and feathered by the right, you rush to prove how "reasonable" you are by distancing yourself and knocking her. We saw that shit with Susan Sontag and we saw it with the Dixie Chicks. I'm sorry, I have no respect for people who let the right set the agenda for them. And that moderate voice that Elaine was writing about was an idiot. Reading his nonsense, I wanted to e-mail him and say, "Oh go back to jerking off to Rambo movies, you ass wipe."

Mike: And what's up with that or the attacks on hippies? I really don't get it. I was talking to my mother about this, hi Ma, she'll read it. I was talking to her and I said "What was so awful about the hippies?" And she said, "Awful was the yuppies and their obsession with greed and money." Look, I'm sorry, I'm a Catholic, I was raised Catholic, I don't see this obsession with the material as a good thing. The hippie ethos, as I understand it, was far more noble than the assholes selling out our country to corporations.

Betty: Well what I get from the songs on the boxed set is this sense of freedom. And I really think that has a lot to do with the attacks. "Go Where You Wanna Go" is obviously going to that but there's an exploration and a freedom in the music that goes against strict constructions and I think that's just too much for people who need clearly drawn lines and nice little boxes that they can put everything into.

Elaine: Exactly. And the nation's been encouraged to be that way by the Bully Boy. We've been told "with us or against us." C.I. had a hilarious thing on that idiotic book Reinventing Government, remember?

C.I.: No.

Elaine: It was like a decade ago.

C.I.: About there are "three" ways?

Elaine: Yes.

C.I.: I won't do it funny now, I barely remember it. But the basis of that sell out your nation and privatize book was that there was the government's way of doing things, the corporation's way of doing things and that, big surprise, the authors had a "middle ground." It was the usual dualistic argument and to some of lesser knowledge, the polyblend was seen as some sort of novel invention. It wasn't. It was dualistic thinking, not integrated thinking. It was saying, "Some simple-minded people only do it A and some only do it B but we can do it at the mid-point of A and B" as though there wasn't an entire alphabet, and then some, of choices. But when those manuals, I really don't think of them as books, pipe through into "conventional wisdom" the reason is usually because they are in fact so simple-minded with their band aid "fixes" that fix nothing and don't get to the core of any problem or issue. The manuel took off more in the public admin set than it did in poli sci because public admin requires completely ditching everything every few years while screaming the praises of yet another false messiah. However, we're seeing quite a few begin to seep into the poli sci area as well these days.

Ava: The manuel writers make me think of "Doesn't have a point of view, knows not where he's going to."

Kat: I was just thinking that! One of the tracks previously unreleased that's collected on the Complete Anthology is the Mamas and the Papas performing "Nowhere Man."

Jim: Good point and I love their version but it ends too soon for me. But I want to get back to what C.I. was saying because I think it's an important point. And Dona, I want more time added to this discussion.

Dona: Fine.

Jim: Okay, so when you're saying simple-minded, I think I understand what you mean but we've talked about this before.

C.I.: Okay, well to clarify, the "sages" pushing these manuals, their applause and their endorsements of the latest hula hoop fad are neither historically informed nor are they politically aware, my opinion. I wonder, because a number of them present themselves as "experts," how many have any background in poli sci. My background included a heavy load of courses, undergrad and grad level, in political theory. And the fads they push, these "quick fixes," are against everything that anyone grasping political theory would ever put forward. It's the most simplistic nonsense and they get their panties in a wad over it. It fits their conventional wisdom view so they assume it must be true but it's not. And I'm really tired of "experts" endorsing something from an "expert" view waving their degree that is, in fact, not a poli sci degree.

Ava: Background. We did an interview here, or started it, with an economics major. About five minutes into it, C.I. "remembered" another engagement. We lasted about fifteen more minutes before we realized that a) there was no other engagement and b) that the guy had no idea what he was speaking of.

Ty: Right. And I set that up, so I'll say I'm sorry to everyone. The guy seemed to have these solutions, or he was always saying he did. Then in the interview it was all about profit motive.

Ava: And for a change, Jim was the one smoothing over because Dona jumped the guy's ass.

Dona: Well I mean he was just so full of it. "We don't need mayors, we need city managers. We don't need an elected council, all we need is to put business in charge." The guy came off like a libertarian despite claiming to be a progressive. And when Jim asked the question about parks and the guy said that monies should be charged to attend them, we're talking about a space here, not a national park, a little plot of land with swings, for God's sake, I just lost it.

Jim: Because his bottom line was economic and not public good. And I'm not sure how many economics classes he had taken because earlier when C.I. brought up macro versus micro, he didn't grasp the point. Mainly he just referenced accounting classes. Right?

Dona: Right. Number cruncher. C.I. why did you walk on that when you did?

C.I.: His "theoritical" explanation of terrorism. Which was not political and not anything that any scholar would endorse. It was conventional wisdom. I was stting there trying to figure out which "theory" he was basing his comments on. It wasn't Theda Skocpol, it wasn't Charles Tilly or Max Weber. And then it became obvious that the "theory" was nothing more than the usual hot air dispensed on chat and chews. It may make everyone feel good but don't pass conventional wisdom off as political theory.

Elaine: I should point out that prior to The Common Ills, C.I. usually didn't discuss politics with a great deal of people.

C.I.: Right, not a deep discussion because you end up having to give them so many building blocks because they just aren't up for it. Mike wrote about something similar in terms of why he hates to talk sports because in the middle of the conversation, he realizes that the people don't even understand the sport.

Mike: And sometimes they think they do and sometimes they just pretend they do because they're guys and think guys are supposed to talk sports. And you're really excited and get all the sudden that before you can make the big point you have to pull back and explain the basics to the person cause he doesn't understand.

C.I.: Exactly. People think I'm hard on the Chat & Chews. If I am it's because journalists are not poli sci majors. They may be political but, more often than not, they aren't unless they're op-ed columnists. And as they "explain" this or that, the approach is not based in reality, it's based in conventional wisdom. So I do get irritated when someone speaks from on high telling us that we can't do that or we must do this and their basis is conventional wisdom or some hula hoop.

Jim: What's strange, to me, is that in conversations you can go deep into the theoritical but you don't do that at The Common Ills.

C.I.: Because that's not the basis of that site. We're a resource/review. And we're going for common sense. But yes, theoretical does come in. It came in on the coverage of Northern Ireland which is an area that begs for theoretical explanations. We approach it via common sense, not conventional wisdom. And maybe those who twist and turn in the wind repeatedly do so because they have no core beliefs, only conventional wisdom. Maybe a little political theory education would teach them the dangers of blind embraces and they'd be better informed. And by the way, these comments are actually nicer than anything Elaine's ever heard me say.

Elaine: Right, C.I.'s ripped apart people who misapplied theories.

C.I.: To their faces. I have a low tolerance for fools who mistake marketing for theory. And let me clarify something in case any community members aren't clear. At The Common Ills, we're common sense based. I've had no problem with members. I'm speaking of people who attempt to play gatekeeper and set themselves up as experts when their knowledge base is, in fact, in question by their own simplistic statements. That's why the chats and chews are impossible for me to watch. It's just too irritating to see these hacks present themselves as political experts as they resort to talking points that have no basis in anything other than whatever current point, I won't call it "thought," is being pushed.

Ty: I'm sitting here and thinking, "Gee, C.I.'s talked to me about politics."

C.I.: The period Elaine's referring to is largely having to do with impeachment nonsense. When people couldn't grasp the concept of high crimes. But they could repeat whatever right wing talking point was being pushed that week. That was when I didn't have time for gas bags releasing their conventional wisdom and passing it off as fact. And we're way off topic and it's my fault which is why I tried to keep my answers brief.

Dona: No, that's fine. The topic is a jumping off point and you were asked. And I know Jim and I have been very bothered by CJR recently and knew that was the magazine you were referring to two weeks ago when you said "it's not one on our permalinks."

C.I.: Talk about that because I didn't finish the issue and that's rare for me but I was that bothered early on by the issue.

Dona: They're opinion pieces are opinion pieces and do not reflect the stance of CJR. That's understood but the cumalitive effect of recent pieces easily leaves you with the impression that there is a backing off from the First Amendment. As a journalism bible, they should be a lot more clear about where they stand on the First Amendment considering the current climate.

Jim: And a lot less likely to run pieces that read like, "I didn't break the hostage story because one of my friends was a hostage. So I sat on it." Which doesn't say one thing about responsible journalism if you really think about it. What it says is that if you're a friend of a journalist, you'll get special treatement. That's not all that surprising but that is one of the op-eds that Dona and I note when we talk about the direction that CJR seems to be headed these days.

Dona: With journalism under attack, CJR should be standing up for principles. And you'll see that in a story on the whole Dan Rather mess, for instance. But there's so much that has nothing to do with journalism lately but has a lot to do with feelings. I guess I'm just not grasping why "feelings" are so at the heart of a journal that's supposed to be offering a critique of mainstream journalism.

Jim: And the letters pages contained some really nasty responses this time.

C.I.: Thank you! I think that bothered me the most. This whole "last word" jostling. With Felicity Barringer, I disagreed with her point. There was no need for me to do a point by point rebuttal. She's entitled to her opinion, we were happy to be able to put it up. She may in fact be right. She weighed in, she gave her permission to be quoted, it went up. That should be the end of it.

Jim: I don't know whether David Blum just has more tact or if it was that they didn't want to risk the ire of 60 Minutes, but I did notice he was the only one in the issue that didn't feel the need to reply with an insult to a letter. I hope it's that he had more tact. But Dona and I were reading that issue in bed together and just wondering what the hell was up with CJR.

Dona: So when you mentioned you were pissed off by one of the three magazines you were currently reading, right away we knew it had to be CJR.

C.I.: And I almost wrote about the letters and another thing I found irritating but I still feel bad for the "Dart" for Gloria Cooper.

Jim: Really?

C.I.: The Darts & Laurels demand that Gloria Cooper act as Vanna White applauding each one that steps up to do something. She's not offering a career overview or analysis, that's not how the section is set up. So with Daniel Okrent, she was doing what she does every issue which is to find things, negative and positive, to stress. But it was so disappointing, and still disappoints me, that Okrent was never addressed in CJR for outing a reader over the reader's objection, from a private e-mail. When Business Week is addressing this journalistic issue it seems that CJR should weigh in.

Jim: And they don't appear to know about the Night Letter.

C.I.: That was another thing that bothered me. I don't know the lead time on this issue. Jon Lee Anderson's New Yorker article was in the June 3rd issue so it's very possible that it hadn't been published when CJR wrote their editorial on the Newsweek controversy.

Jim: Lead time or not, when they're writing about the Newsweek controversy and they're on the stands now with that issue but they're accepting the blame Newsweek for the riots in Afghanistan, there's a problem.

Ava: Let me jump in because readers of this may not be aware what we're speaking of. "Editorial: What Howard Didn't Say About a Free Press in Wartime" was about an appearance Howard Fineman made on Imus in the Morning where he rolled over on the issue of a free press. The editorial offers that he should have countered Imus's points with do you want a free press or not.

C.I.: Right and this was an editorial so from that stand point, they're still supporting the First Amendment strongly. But those "touchy feely" pieces Dona's talking about can leave doubt in some readers' minds.

Dona: But then they refute that strong position by bringing up a Reporters Without Borders study in the same editorial and using it to clobber someone over the head with.

Jess: That struck me as cowardly. That struck me as they were attacking Linda Foley for expressing her opinions on the state of journalism just to cover their own ass. Foley's opinion is not discredited by some "extensive study" from Reporters Without Borders. They don't cite the study, in CJR, which is bothersome. They don't even give a date for the study. In fact, let's quote from April 6, 2005's "CBS freelance cameraman shot and wounded by US soldiers:"

"Once again the US forces have targeted a journalist just doing his job," the press freedom organization said. Reporters Without Borders pointed out that this was not the first time that US soldiers shot a cameraman after mistaking his camera for a gun. Mazen Dana, a Palestinian working for the British news agency Reuters, was killed in a similar fashion on 17 August 2003 in Baghdad. The US army claimed that the US soldiers involved had acted according to the rules of engagement.

Jess (con't): The whole thing was sloppy. They don't know about the Night Letter so they accept the false premise that Newsweek's Koran in the toilet started riots in Afghanistan, they don't seem to know what Reporters Without Borders has said. If they've got additional information, they need to provide it to the readers. And there's no reason to slam Foley other than that CJR wants to look "reasonable." 'We'll defend Newsweek, without knowing the important facts that would really defend them, but to prove that we're not some zealots, we'll say that Foley should be under attack.' For anyone who doesn't know, Linda Foley is the president of The Newspaper Guild. CJR wants to atack her and say she's wrong and couch their attack in an extensive study by Reporters Without Borders that they won't name or give a date for. You just have to take their word for it. And these days as feelings checks overrun the periodical, it's very hard to take their word on anything.

C.I.: But let's say there's a study. Let's say there is. Does one study prove anything? I don't think it does. The Pentagon has refused to cooperate with information requests and that is known and that is public record. So any study is going up against that. If there is a study. And this brings us back to the whole issue of gatekeeprs who try to appear moderate by attacking others. "Oh, I'm not like Linda Foley!"

Jim: Exactly.

Dona: And we have ten minutes to finish this up. I extended the discussion by a half-hour at Jim's request but that's it. Mike, why don't you set us up again.

Mike: Well I'll add again that I like the discussions best because they're so free flowing and it's fun to just listen to them, let alone take part. But to get back to the Mamas and the Papas boxed set and music, the point that came through to me, or points, in the dicussion were that their music was about freedom and breaking down barriers. One of the songs I enjoyed best was "Too Late" which has the lines: "When the mind that once was open shuts and you knock on the door and no one answers anymore."

Betty: That is a great song. I didn't know the title. I'm always singing along with that part and always mean to look up the title but I never do.

Kat: I think I'd rate that song as one of the underated and little known Mamas and Papas gems. I'll throw out another favorite here, "Dancing Bear."

Elaine: In my freshman year in college, I dated a guy who loved that song. I had a cassette, a best of, of the Mamas & the Papas. And that's really how I knew them. He was always going on about that song and I'd tell him, "I don't know that song" all the time, but he wouldn't believe me.

Ty: I hear the boxed set constantly because Jess plays it constantly -- Jim, Jess and I share an apartment aven though Jim's never there. For me, there are two songs that especially stand out and they are "Here In My Arms" which is like "No Salt On Her Tail" and "Rooms." Of Cass' solo tracks, "The Costume Ball" was one I don't think I'd heard before.

Betty: That was like a James Bond theme. To me. I really enjoyed that song. And "Something to Make You Happy."

Jim: I enjoyed the live tracks from Monterey because I've always heard they were awful and I was curious about that. I didn't think they performed bad. They hadn't rehearsed and that's obvious but I thought they had an energy that made up for it. And I've always thought the live version of "I Call Your Name" was better than the studio one. Cass seems more comfortable and seems to enjoy playing to the audience.

Ava: I've enjoyed everything that's been mentioned but the surprise for me was Michelle Phillips' tracks. "Aloha Louie" was a complete surprise and I really enjoyed it. Michelle only got one solo track on the double disc Creeque Alley: The History of The Mamas And The Papas. So I was surprised to hear "Aloha Louie" and really enjoyed it as well as "There She Goes." Of Cass's tracks, I really felt like the two that Ty named were worth including but I did wonder why something like "He's a Runner" or "I'm Coming To The Best Time Of My Life" wasn't included since "It's Getting Better" and "Make Your Own Kind Of Music" are both also on Creeque Alley. I'm not a big fan of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil outside of "You've Lost That Loving Feeling" and I really didn't need their two songs on this album.

Kat: I'm impressed that you know of Mann & Weil.

Ava: Dona and I are trying to educate ourselves on musical periods. Which has meant telling Jim that we already get Pink Floyd, thank you, we have other things to listen to. And we do utilize the list you compiled.

Ty: I refer to it too. That's how come I listen to Richie Havens now. And while there's Van Hunt and Bright Eyes and a few others like that, the music scene, as played on radio, is so desolate that I think that's one reason people responded to the thing on Cass. She didn't make her name by strutting around in a push up bra and having some electronic device smooth out her vocals. She made it by keeping it real and people respond to that.

Dona: Jess gets the last word.

Jess: Well Ty made a strong point and I want to note that. I'll also say that as a child raised by hippie parents and pretty much a hippie myself I do take offense at these "moderates" and "centrists" who do these broadside attacks on hippies that seem to be based, as Ava and C.I. would say, on some notion of hippies derived from a Hawaii Five-O episode. It's insulting and that they want to push the right's stereotype speaks more about how little backbone they have.
As for the Mamas and the Papas and Cass herself, I think they have a timeless appeal that goes to the magic of the music. There's a quality to the songs and vocals about exploring and searching and I think that's something that people can identify with a lot easier than songs today tossing out brand names and trademarks in place of anything deeper. And I want to close by noting that Jane Fonda is someone I applaud. I know we all do here but the attacks on her this week were disgusting. And "moderates" only proved themselves to be the first to stick the knives in our backs with their attacks. There was one mouthing off about how her decision just handed the 2006 elections to the Republicans. As I remember the 2004 election, one of the problem most people on campus cited was that Kerry wasn't calling for an immediate withdrawal and seemed to want to follow Bully Boy's plan only to do it "smarter." That didn't reach out to our age group. If Fonda can get Iraq on people's minds, and I think she can, she's increasing the dialogue. But maybe what "moderates" don't want to admit is that they're hawks and that's why they spit on the the hippies and peace groups. They've got the war lust as Elaine would say.

C.I.: And I'm going to jump in even though Dona wanted Jess to have the last word because Mike just wrapped up his first month of blogging and I think that deserves to be noted.

Dona: Agreed. We need to thinkabout whether there's a feature in that.

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