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.
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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.
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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.
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