A great track with that supreme thick kind of arrangement that reminds me of Scott Walker's late 60s solo work.
Julie's vocal delivery is interesting. She's hipper sounding than Jackie Trent; more like a slightly looser Dusty Springfield. But she also has a weird kind of Annie Lennox way of sounding over the top.
The song is pretty simple, but the production and arrangement are so vibrant and colourful that it works very well.
'Laura' has long been my favorite standard. The tune is elegant and haunting, and completely devoid of some of the schmaltzy feel that plagues many popular standards.
Written as an instrumental for the 1944 film of the same name, this was composed as a piano-based number, and so Julie's version is perhaps not the most orthodox recording. However, it's incredibly powerful and atmospheric, and I *think* it's my favorite version.
The entire track lasts just 1 minute and 40 seconds. The first verse is sung as a solo voice without any accompaniment other than the spooky reverberation effect. When the music does come in, it's provided by a small jazz trio led by Barney Kessel. Kessel's delicate jazz chords and picking complement Julie's voice beautifully.
This track sounds better to me every time I hear it. Ironically, I had a copy of The Association's Renaissance LP for years, but for some odd reason didn't get as far as listening to this song until recently.
It's a very accessible but powerful late 60s pop song with a psychedelic edge. It can't have taken long to write, but the production is excellent, with a nice effect on the vocals, and a wonderful use of early 70s Beach Boys-style swelling vocal harmonies over the vocal phrase 'and all that's left for me to do...is cry'.
Musically, it's an upbeat track with a slightly claustrophobic arrangement. But it's cool - that's all part of the effect! As well as drums, vocals and upbeat guitars, they employ the koto, which adds an unusual edge to the sound.
19 Sep 04 ·konsu: Again, one of the most underrated of US pop bands. Confined to "Oldies" FM radio forever, except for the occasional DJ who is tempted by the album "filler" which is where their real gems lie. This album is almost never mentioned, even though this tune charted in the top 40. And it being overshadowed by their more popular Curt Boettcher produced LP "And Along Comes...". A great
tune, and a record that deserves more attention indeed!
This is taken from an album of spaghetti western themes that came out on United Artists records in the late 1960s. It has a similar sound to other releases of the era on that label, probably because Leroy Holmes was a staff arranger. I can definitely hear Al Caiola's guitar playing.
To my ears, the arrangement also has a hint of Quincy Jones's work on 'The Italian Job'. It's an upbeat, jerky track with a bassline so percussive that it almost sounds like part of the beat. The melody is carried by guitar, horns, and also some nice wordless vocals (right near the end there's an incredible descending vocal swell that's really something).
Overall, this has a slightly menacing, very hip sound. It might even work on the dancefloor!
In my experience John Gregory is one of the most consistently superb British arrangers of the 60s and 70s. I've never really heard anything I didn't like by him, although I understand that he was very prolific and that I've barely scratched the surface so far.
His arrangements have simultaneously a bite and a beauty that few others were able to match. Although not much of his work is available on CD, there's one excellent disc, 'Mission Impossible and other themes', that compiles most of his 'big band crime jazz' work, dating from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s. The disc isn't very excitingly packaged and can be had very cheaply, but it's full of outstanding tracks.
'Fire and Rain' is from a 70s album (I have it on a Philips sampler from the early 70s), and is a sumptuously arranged instrumental in the vein of some of the work of other British arrangers of the era, such as Johnny Harris and John Schroeder.
Of course, the song was written and originally recorded by James Taylor. His track is quite nice, but maybe it helped that I came to this version 'fresh', without having heard the original. This happens to me a lot, and Gregory's full arrangement and jazzy touches definitely elevate the track for me.
The melody is carried by a beautifully played trumpet, and later by the strings. There's a strong beat throughout, and a particularly groovy break towards the end with some great brass.