Jimmy Bryant's Southern California Earthquake tells the story of the February 9, 1971 San Fernando earthquake, also commonly known as the Sylmar earthquake due to the fact that the city of Sylmar was the location of some of the quake's most intense damage.
What makes this release a bit more interesting than most topical records detailing various disasters is that it was written and recorded by one country music's most spectacular guitarists ever, Jimmy Bryant. Bryant made a name for himself playing guitar in various country and hillbilly bands on the Los Angeles bar circuit in the early 1950s. This led to his status as a sought-after session musician, one who cut some of his most memorable work playing alongside the great steel guitarist Speedy West.
As for the Sylmar earthquake, it was, as are most earthquakes in heavily populated areas, a complete disaster. Sixty-five people lost their lives, but hundreds of thousands of residents of the San Fernando Valley suffered the disruption of electricity, telephone service, gas, and water. According to one source, one-third of all buildings in the San Fernando Valley were damaged by the quake and thirty schools were so badly damaged they had to be demolished and rebuilt.
The documentary video below, sadly plagued by egregious re-enactment scenes, memorably describes the quake as "shaking most of Southern California like an angry parent shaking a screaming child." Now there's a phrase I'll wager you won't hear again any time soon.