This is one of the greatest songs of all time. Its been a staple of my DJ sets for nearly 5 years now. You’re right though; the album is bleak. Let It Bleed, Genevieve is about his wife miscarrying their child, for example. Had a phase where I dressed like this too.
John Phillips - Mississippi
After disbanding The Mama’s and the Papa’s, John Phillips, who was the chief songwriter for the group, released John, Wolfking of L.A in 1970. Musically, it’s mellow, laid-back country rock, soft and dreamy, drunken barroom pianos, molasses-dripping lap steel guitar, the soft pattering of drums, all very “cosmic americana” style as Gram Parsons would put it. John Phillips secured the best of the best in studio musicians for the album, the legendary Wrecking Crew. To me, the album signals the beginning of the end to the idealistic 60’s era, really showing the bleak reality of it all: the dream of California’s Garden of Eden descending into the wild flames of violence, drug abuse, and over-inflated egos. Many of the songs feature gritty, dark, almost Lou Reed-styled observations of John Phillips’ own life and the California dream crashing around him. The album’s single, “Mississipi”, on the other hand, is a warm, extra-fun, upbeat track, which feels like a drunken good-time. I always imagine myself dressed as a cajun queen, barefoot, getting drunk in a Southern saloon then spending my time down on the bayou, dirty footed, soaking in the sunshine. In reality, you can find me singing this song all the time. It’s a favorite of mine.
Also, has anyone ever noticed how the album cover of Wolfking looks strangely familiar to a certain album called Desire by a certain fellow named Bob Dylan?