Sunday, July 9, 2017

California Dreamin': Cass Elliott Before the Mamas & the Papas

I loved, loved, loved this graphic novel. Cass Elliott seems to have been born with that cool attitude that she had during her lifetime. She was cool even as a child. The book covers her life from birth until the release of the Mamas and the Papas first hit song California Dreaming.

She was born with the name Ellen Cohen and was especially adored by her father. As a child she was encouraged to eat because her parents did not have alot to eat when they were young. Cass had a great singing voice from the time she first began to sing. She was born with talent.

The black and white drawings show her becoming more and more overweight as she grew up. It did not bother her at all but when she was old enough to seek music jobs, music producers did not want to hire her because of the weight. As Cass sought the perfect band to sing with she used her strong personality to get ahead. She wanted to sing with a trio called the Journeyman, composed of John, Michelle and Denny. Having pushed her way into their lives she was able to become part of the group and the rest is history.

The book details how the band got their name, how Cass got her stage name, how California Dreaming was composed and how Cass's personality propelled her to success in the music business. I found only one drawback to the book. I had been expecting the artwork to be colored in psychedelic sixties colors. When it came in the mail I was disappointed to see that it was done in black and white drawings. Perhaps that was intentional by the author as the psychedelic sixties began at a time when the book's story ended. I would love to know from the author if this is true.

This book is a must read for anyone coming of age in the sixties or seventies when the music of the Mama's and the Papas was popular. It gives an inside view of one of the greatest music groups of our time.

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