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23 Feb 2017

Jimmie Haskell “California ‘99” 1971US 2 LP Psych Space Rock, Experimental,Spoken Word,Rock Opera

Jimmie Haskell “California ‘99” 1971US 2 LP Psych Space Rock, Experimental,Spoken Word,Rock Opera….recommended…..!
The gatefold album cover opens up to make a large map of a "futuristic" United States, with "Marijuana" listed for America's heartland. "California '99" is "A Thematic Fairytale", with music by Jimmie Haskell, and story by Tom Gamache. Artists appearing on this album include Joe Walsh, Jimmy Witherspoon, Denny Doherty, Merry Clayton, and Clydie King. "California '99" was released in the United States, in 1971. The songs on the record are (Side One) "Overture", "Appopopoulisberg", "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down", "Jessica Stone", "To Claudia On Thursday", (Side Two) "Prelude", "California Fairy Tale", "Barbara", and "Underture". "Overture", "Appopopoulisberg", and "Barbara" were written by Jimmie Haskell. "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" was written by J. R. Robinson. "Jessica Stone" was written by Bill Szymczyk and John Wonderling. "To Claudia On Thursday" was written by J. Stec and M. Fennelly. "Prelude" was written by D. Rhodes and R. Edgar. "California Fairy Tail" was written by Jimmie Haskell, Bill Szymczyk, and Joe Walsh. "Underture" was written by Peter Townshend. The record was produced and engineered by Bill Szymczyk. The phonograph record is still sealed in it's original shrink wrap, has never been played, and is in mint condition. The gatefold album cover is in near mint condition. This is the nicest copy of this record that you could find. Shipping: USA Media Mail $3.95, Priority Mail: Eastern USA $7.95, Central USA $8.45, Western USA $8.95; International Air Mail: Canada $8.95, Mexico $9.95, Europe $14.95, South America $15.95, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, or Russia $16.95. Florida residents add seven percent sales tax to the winning bid. Insurance is buyer optional. The winning bidder MUST contact me within three days of the close of the auction. Payment is expected within ten days of the close of the auction (extra time allowed to International customers mailing payment). Please ask any questions you may have before bidding. By bidding in my auction, you have read the terms of the auction, and you are agreeing to those terms. You are responsible for your bid, and for making payment promptly, should you win. Feel free to e-mail me at for any questions on this item, or for any recording that you are looking for. Thanks for viewing my auctions. Claude....................

This is one of the weirdest albums I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. Movie soundtrack composer/arranger Jimmie Haskell finally smoked enough grass and sampled enough LSD to turn a Tom Gamache story into a concept album so bizarre that it was doomed to sub-cult obscurity.

The concept is ummm, odd to say the least... In the near future, the U.S. is bankrupt. So to get a fresh start, we change our name from America to California. Every state becomes a county and every city is a district. Some sort of race war happens and and black people take over Washington D.C. and rename it "Kingdom" the new white capitol being San Clemente on the west coast. Mother nature declares war on California, sinking most of the former state of California. The Mississippi River's banks widen 10 miles, drowning all nearing cities. The 'county' of Florida dries up and becomes California's largest desert. Still following? Food is in short supply, so America's former breadbasket is now reserved for growing marijuana, which a large variety of insects munch on, and then the insects are harvested for food production (yuck). Sports are outlawed, the only sport left is "snoring contests". Oh and of course California's government is 100% fascist. Alright, enough about the concept. It does get funnier and stranger though.

Being on ABC Records has its benefits. Mr. Haskell managed to pull in some great ringers who were on ABC to help him out. Joe Walsh, who was then in The James Gang contributes his guitar and voice to "California Fairy Tale". Denny Doherty of The Mama's & The Papa's also contributes to a track. Blues legend Jimmy Witherspoon has the best guest spot doing a spirited cover of The Band's "The Night They Drove old Dixie Down" I have no clue why that song makes an appearance here, it stands out and above anything else on the record.
Between the real songs are interludes that tell a story. A story about a confused young man who is struggling to find himself in 1999 California. During these interludes are weird moog sounds, several different beeps, buzzes and sound fx that would make Mort Garson scratch his head.

All in all its a good album. Especially if you're into psychedelic drugs and eclectic music. How Jimmie Haskell and company managed to make such an unintentionally hilarious record is beyond me. Even more questionable is how ABC Records agreed to put this album out thinking it would make a ..............

The grandiose rock opera California '99 imagines a dystopian future in which the U.S. declares bankruptcy, voiding all laws and forcing its citizens to survive on a steady diet of cannabis-addicted insects. No, really. Based on a story by Tom Gamache and conceived for vinyl by veteran composer/arranger Jimmie Haskell, the project is even more absurd than it seems on paper, which is its blessing and its curse. For all its ridiculously grave prophecies, there's no denying that California '99 inspires some great performances from participants like blues great Jimmy Witherspoon, who delivers an impassioned reading of the Band's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down." And damned if the whole thing doesn't earn very high marks on the unintentional comedy scale. There's no denying its entertainment value, even if it's not quite what its creators Jason Ankeny....

This is an interesting concept album, with a great jazzy-classical instrumental overture composed by Jimmie Haskell (a la Mason Williams' "Classical Gas"), and an "Underture," which closes the album, composed by Pete Townshend. In between are quasi-serious/comical monologues that are quite prescient, about debt, racism, loss of individualism, larger scale use of marijuana, and societal unease. Guest artists include Jimmy WItherspoon ("The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"), Denny Doherty, and Joe Walsh, with backing vocals provided by Merry Clayton and Clydie King. If you like the Firesign Theatre or Monty Python, you'll like this.....ByCharles - Music Lover...........

California '99 is unique to the early '70's. This Jimmie Haskell concept album is, needless to say, one of a kind. The Joe Walsh songs alone are worth the price of admission. After nearly 40 years, I never imagined I would be able to get a CD of this production with all of the bizarre album paraphenalia included. This is a Geffin product, so I can only guess he had a particular fondness for it, and went to the expense of recreating it for those who had appreciated the original. The audio quality is simply incredible.
If you are a fan of Jimmie, Joe, or both, this one's a keeper. Further confirmation that Walsh took a step down when he joined the Eagles.
Not cheap, but well worth it for a certain group of fans...........

Now where was I? Oh yes, I remember now. I was examining some albums made in the past that were written about the future, which is now. Today's history lesson is about a little album on the ABC Records label (long since gone -- of course) by Jimmie Haskell called "California '99" that was prepared during 1971. Haskell was quite a notable arranger in Los Angeles during the sixties but this is the only album that I ever saw under his own name. A concept album (or rock opera if you prefer), "California '99" told a story (written by Tom Gamache) that was supposed to begin in 1975 following the fourth wage and price freeze in as many years. After disenfranchising the judicial branch of the government, financial and political woes force the president to abdicate. In 1980 the "United States declares bankruptcy; all laws are voided and the entire U.S. is renamed California with higher hopes. All states become countries and all cities become districts." By 1985, insects become the main food staple of the population and the middle of the country is designated the "Marijuana and Insect Corridor" since all the insects thrive on Cannabis plants for some reason.

Gamache came close to being prophetic at times but never got things quite right. Within his story line, he predicted that voting at home would become a reality in 1980 via the visual phone and vote turnout was doubled. Also, the "House Of Non-Representatives" is created by California's government with the purpose not to legislate, but intimidate. If this all sounds a little convoluted, it is. You have to remember there was some pretty powerful weed going around in California in 1971 and my bet is that Haskell and Gamache were high as kites when they made this record. There is plenty of Big Brother innuendo and numerous cheapo pix of faux-future interactions. The whole album package unfolds into a huge, full-color map of the "reconstituted" United States. It's wild, but let's not forget about the music inside this unusual package.

"California '99" featured lots of guest singers including blues great Jimmy Weatherspoon, Joe Walsh (fresh from the James Gang and later of The Eagles), Denny Doherty of Mamas and the Papas fame, a group called Big Wanda and the Wombats and supersoul singers of the day, Merry Clayton and Clydie King. The record was produced by Bill Syzmczyk worked with talented folks like B.B. King, Pharoah Sanders, The Eagles, John Lee Hooker, J. Geils Band, The Who, Santana, Elvin Bishop and Bob Seeger.

While Mr. Haskell was an undeniably brilliant arranger-conductor, he was not quite the songwriter that this album required. Instead of contributing an entire album's worth of sub-par material, Haskell mixed his own compositions with Robbie Robertson's "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down," which was performed passionately by Jimmy Witherspoon. What this song has to do with the future shock of America/California is beyond me, but there's certainly some kind of social-political message involved so let's just leave it at that. Joe Walsh's cameos on songs like "Jessica Stone" and "California Fairy Tale" are only moderately inspired but make the musical aspect of this package a bit more interesting. In terms of the rock opera syndrome, Haskell also borrows Pete Townsend's "Underture" from 'Tommy' to close out this unusual LP.

All in all, "California '99" is a product of its time and place. Somebody had an idea; someone else had the money, a few people agreed to contribute and presto! An expensive looking album came out and was promptly forgotten. Hold on a minute, this could have happened in today's market just as easily. Hmm, I wonder how much I could sell this puppy for on the Internet.....Mitch Myers, NewCity Chicago.........

Here is a truly odd addition to "Sci-Fi September." Yes, this is another Jimmie Haskell album, however this is a whole different type of beast than the space-age pop style stuff found on the previous offering of Countdown! 

The album was originally released in 1971. Jimmie Haskell was the arranger and conductor for the album along with being the composer for the original music found throughout. The album features guest vocals from a number of artists including Joe Walsh (James Gang/The Eagles), Denny Doherty (Mammas and the Pappas), Big Wanda and the Wombats, Merry Clayton, and Clydie King. Bill Szymczyk produced and engineered the album.

The actual release of this album has an incredibly unique fold-out cover that provides a detailed history of the fictional "California" starting from 1975 and going up until 1998. The cover alone makes this a desirable LP to get your hands on as it is rather entertaining in its own right.

This is a concept album based upon a story written by Tom Gamache. The narrative follows the story of a young-man who is out to follow his state-mandated "life progam." Along the way we find out that in this fictional world, America failed as a country and is now known as California. A Big Brother-style government is now in control and things don't seem to be too great on the whole. We find out about all of this through a mixture of the narrator straight forwardly discussing "historical events" and from exposure to "headlines" and auditory messages encountered throughout the album.

The album mixes original compositions and covers with mixed success. Some of the cover tunes, such as "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" [vocals by Jimmy Witherspoon] are decent tunes, but why they are on this album is rather confusing. By contrast, the original compositions are what grab my interest the most. "Appopopoulisberg" is the album's longest track and serves primarily to introduce us to the narrator. However, as the track progresses we are treated to some fun electronic sounds, a quick burst of stringed instruments, and finally cooled off with a sort of waltz. Another track of note,"a) intro b)prelude", starts off sounding like a library music inspired Moog jam, but then quickly explores some louder brass pieces reminiscent of soundtrack-style tunes.

The overall result of the album is somewhat confusing. It isn't by any means a masterpiece. In honesty, I'm often left trying to decide if this was meant as a serious cautionary tale or if it is a tongue-in-cheek send up of concept albums. The truth is probably somewhere in-between. Despite some uninspired moments on the album, overall I think it overcomes its failings. It is an entertaining listen and showcases some of Haskell's great arranging talents on numerous tracks...............

Some albums are more fun to own than to listen to. Jimmie Haskell’s California '99 is one of these. The record must be defined as some sort of rock opera with a rather odd content. Recorded in the early 70's it looks into the future, to the faraway 80’s and 90’s. USA is bankrupt, people eat insects that in turn feed on cannabis (which grows in the central region of the country, in the insects and marijuana corridor). USA is also renamed California and love is for the lower classes, almost forbidden. And not to mention, there are no clocks anymore, instead music is played - slow tempo in the morning and then faster and faster as the day goes by. To know what time it is, you just listen to the music.
The main character chooses not to be part of the military, instead he gets an alternative assignment, Situation 19 - Love as your burden. He must love three people simultaneously, namely Claudia, Jessica Stone and Barbara. Moreover, he must find and fall in love with them in that specific order. He gets two years to do this, he fails it will be the military anyway.

Yeah, the story goes something like that. Tom Gamache wrote it. When I’ve read online about the album a lot of people come back to the idea that the creators must have smoked large amounts of dope. Wonder why...

Jimmie Haskell has been a productive person, both as a writer and arranger of music. He has also acted as a conductor a lot during his career. He has received an Emmy and a number of Grammies. Besides various artists, Jimmie has been involved in a lot of soundtracks, such as Big and The Color Purple. 
The music at California '99 is nothing out of the ordinary, honestly, and not as weird as the story. The album consists of about as much story telling as music. Personally I think the narration becomes a bit boring after a while, even though the story itself is crazy enough. But if you’ve heard it once, you don’t need to hear it again. Different guests appear - Joe Walsh, Big Wanda And The Wombats, Jimmy Witherspoon and others. Some songs are covers, while others are written by Haskell. An odd bird on the album is The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down where Jimmy Witherspoon sings. A perfectly OK song, but a little odd in this context. The record ends with a cover of Peter Townshend's Underture.

The best thing about the album is the cover. You can unfold it into a poster, as large as six album covers. Some weird photos with accompanying descriptions on one side, and a map of the United States (no, California, of course) on the other. That’s kind of neat.
As mentioned, the music on the album might not justify a purchase, but the foldable cover along with the generally freaked out content still makes it fun to have in the collection. How the story ends is not revealed here, look up the album for yourselves........................

Joe Walsh, vocals
Denny Doherty, vocals
Michael Fennelly
Clydie King, vocals
Wombats, vocals
Merry Clayton, vocals
Ron Edgar
Jimmie Haskell
John "J.R." Robinson
Bill Szymczyk, producer/engineer
Jimmy Witherspoon, vocals
John Wonderling

A1 Overture 4:28
A2 Appopopoulisberg 4:13
A3 The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down 4:01
A4 To Claudia On Thursday 3:13
B1a Intro 0:21
B1b Prelude 2:53
B2 Jessica Stone 5:04
B3 California Fairy Tale 2:53
B4 Barbara 3:23
B5 Underture 3:56

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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