California ’99

california4Jimmie Haskell’s concept LP “California ’99, released in 1971 on ABC Records (ABCX 728) is an Orwellian vision of what the “future” (read: present) in California could be like. This interesting little tidbit comes across somewhat like a mating of Gattaca & Repo Man. The arrangement is entertaining and there are some good beats as well – Jimmy Witherspoon covers The Band‘s “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down“, and the first track of side two is featured on Diplo/TripleDouble’s “aeiou2” mix. Also, the theatrical monologues are definitely humerous the first couple times through.

The story is a bit ridiculous, but by blatantly connecting the ideas of “government” & “bank/money” Haskell serves to poke a finger in the eye of the US/Californian political populace. This is an interesting LP.

At the beginning the protagonist has chosen “non-military” as his “life direction”. Thusly, he is faced with two Govt. prescribed options: 1. Join the military. 2. Embark on a dangerous mission to “sleep with 3 women simultaneously” that may cost him a lifetime of financial debt to the the Government Bank of California. The actual description of his options is pretty hilarious ending with a promise that if he does not complete his appointed task in the allotted time, he will (of course) have to serve a 1 year military tour of duty.

Jimmie Haskell’s “California ’99” also comes in a slick, double-sided, 6 panel, fold-out LP cover where an updated (post “the big one”) USA is depicted including a flaccid Florida (now dubbed: “Great Florida Desert”) and a region called “Marijuana & Insect Corridor” stretching from South Dakota down through Oklahoma. The original LP also includes the entire lyrical and spoken content printed on the paper sleeve.

Considering the current military situation in the middle east and the credit crunch experienced in the US, it seems that Haskell may have been off by a hot decade, but somehow he was right on the money.

This LP is “CONDUCTED BY ARRANGED BY AND ONE-HALF OF ALL SONGS COMPOSED BY JIMMIE HASKELL” and also features songs written by Peter Townshend, J Stech & M Fennelly, JR Robinson, and D Rhodes & R Edgar.
California 99 inside cu1

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