Jesse Jarnow

“california” – dr. dog

“California” – Dr. Dog (download here)
from Takers and Leavers EP (2006)
released by PTV Records (buy)

(file expires November 1st)

Been taking a leisurely slog through Writing Los Angeles, an anthology of great writing about the place. Here, in an essay titled “Paradise, ” Double Indemnity writer James M. Cain writes about what he thinks of as the shallowness of L.A.:

But what electric importance can be felt in a peddler of orange peelers? Or of a dozen ripe avocados, just plucked that morning? Or a confector of Bar-B-Q? Or the proprietor of a goldfish farm? Or a breeder of rabbit fryers? They give me no kick at all. They give themselves no kick. The whole place is overrun with nutty religions which are merely the effort of these people to inject some sort of point into their lives; if not on earth, then in the stars, in numbers, in vibrations, or whatever their fancy hits on.

Thing is, all those things do have kick: what a weird, mystical place southern California must have been in 1933, between the wars. Dr. Dog evokes it perfectly on this Western Swing-on-a-soundstage number from their Takers and Leavers EP.


  1. Randy Ray says: - reply

    Great excerpt. Thanks, Jesse. I wrote about El Lay in one of my dust-riddled unpublished novels. Have you seen Chinatown–another great take on So Cal before the great population boom? Awesome script by Robert Towne, as you probably know.

  2. Susan says: - reply

    The Dr. Dog song, “California” was written and performed at the wedding of Charlotte and Jim Zeppieri, Scott’s cousin. They fell in love in California and had their wedding in Connecticut, hence the line, “though you’re far away, your love it here today.” Dr. Dog is pretty amazing, a bunch of family oriented, down to earth guys!

Leave A Reply