Show & Tell: Echo in the Canyon


Well, summer is in full swing, my tomato plants are catching up after a slow start and I finally got my feet into the ocean today. And to make things even better The Music Hall is serving up some very tasty movies for our dining and dancing pleasure.

First up for July is Echo in the Canyon, a documentary put together by Jakob Dylan (yes, he’s Bob’s boy, although he’d prefer to be known as the front man of The Wallflowers). Echo is the story of the early days in Laurel Canyon, when bands like the Byrds, the Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield and the Mamas and the Papas, galvanized by the sounds the Beatles were making, began developing what came to be known as the California Sound.

Dylan and producer Andrew Slater got fascinated by the surge of creativity among Canyon residents in the late Sixties and wanted to tell the story. Dylan’s reputation gave them entrée to a ton of interviews with survivors of the period and those who loved the music. There’s no Bob Dylan, but a bunch of familiar names show up to talk about the magic period when everyone was creating at a high level and inspiring others to do the same.

I’ll have to admit that I’m looking forward to Echo in the Canyon in part out of sheer nostalgia, for both the music and the period. I’m sure I’ve owned just about every album that gets talked about in the movie, first on vinyl, then on cassette, then on CD and now digitally. I can’t decide whether I’m just in love with the music of my youth or whether it really was better than anything that followed. That’s a pretty good question for discussion right there!

I’m prepared to see my musical heroes with wrinkles and paunches—I don’t look the way I did then either. But I think it will be worth it to hear the stories behind the songs told by the people who were there.

Wear your bell bottoms if you want to. I don’t have mine any more and couldn’t fit into them if I had them), but I was in Monterey when the Monterey Pop Festival happened. You bring your stories and I’ll bring mine. This movie should be a pure pleasure to talk about.

I’ll see you at 7:00 in The Historic Theater and we’ll swap stories.

And next Tuesday, we’ll be discussing The Serengeti Rules, a nature documentary about the beginnings of the scientific studies that energized our modern understanding of ecology.

Paul Goodwin