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Baker's Dozen

Howls From The Soul: Bobby Gillespie's Favourite Albums
Yousif Nur , May 4th, 2016 09:19

After the release of Primal Scream's eleventh album, Chaosmosis, the singer boils his record collection down to a mean 13, a selection that formed his "own private world" while he was growing up in Glasgow


John Phillips ‎– John Phillips (John, The Wolf King Of L.A.)
So the The Wolf King Of L.A. and There's A Riot Goin' On were both recorded in the same studio. John Phillips bought Jeanette McDonald, a Hollywood actress, a mansion in Bel Air. And he illegally built a studio in the attic, which was huge. I guess there were building restrictions, but he just wanted to build a recording studio in there. He recorded the album in that place. Now coming on to the transcendent, joyous, pop glory of The Mamas & The Papas, The Wolf King Of L.A. is a very strange album. I think John was hanging out with Gram Parsons and as a result, the record is a country-soul-pop album. In The Mamas & The Papas, he was writing for a pop audience and I guess that was a message to Michelle Phillips because they're both adulterers, I think. John would write a song and get Denny Doherty to sing it because he knew he was having an affair with his wife. John was quite a dark guy! They were very personal songs, but also universal because he was writing for a pop audience. But with Wolf King, he went solo. Phillips became deeply addicted to heroin, coke and everything else. He was a very advanced drug addict. Wolf King Of L.A. is a very soulful album. John wrote and arranged the songs for The Mamas & The Papas but his voice was hidden in the mix as Denny and Michelle had incredible voices. But on this album, it's just his voice. And I believe that the session musicians were Phil Spector's Wrecking Crew and are the same guys who played on The Mamas & The Papas records. They loved John Phillips and thought he was a fucking great guy.

It's one of those records I haven't stopped playing for 30 years and a great document of rock and LA culture in the late '60s. It's also got a great cover with John wearing a top hat standing on Malibu beach with the sun setting looking absolutely wasted.