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Great songs but where's the edge?

The Roaming Roots Revue

The Roaming Roots Revue

Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Seen on January 19

AND so it came to pass that the early 70s bohemian idyll of Laurel Canyon came to be regarded as a golden era of the singer-songwriter.

So tonight we have Roddy Hart and The Lonesome Fire introducing a string of guests performing classics from that time, ranging in quality from entertaining (Lau's version of James Taylor's Fire and Rain, a collaboration with Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith on Jackson Browne's Before the Deluge), to excellent (Lindi Ortega's take on The Eagles' Desperado) to breathtaking (Siobhan Wilson's reading of Joni Mitchell's A Case Of You).

Entirely missing was any acknowledgement that the Laurel Canyon community, retreating from the heady excitement of psychedelia into a Class A drug-induced stupor, opened a Pandora's box which encouraged big business and "hip" capitalism to neuter youth culture and its spokespeople.

And so tonight Hotel California's wasted nihilism is instead reduced to feelgood nostalgia, and Neil Young's Revolution Blues (Well, I hear that Laurel Canyon/ Is full of famous stars/But I hate them worse than lepers/ And I'll kill them/ In their cars) with its allusions to Charles Manson is the unheard ghost at the feast.

Richard Walker

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