A blog about the things I find accidentally on Spotify while looking for something else

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Yummy, Yummy, Yummy - Julie London

Like many artists of the pre-rock 'n' roll era, Julie London found the sixties pop scene difficult to negotiate.  There was no longer a clear divide between adult and kids' pop, as serious but mellow young-folk such as Simon & Garfunkel, Jimmy Webb and that nice Paul McCartney moved in on the oldsters' turf.  So what to do?  By the later years of the decade, swingers and jazzers such as Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and even Sinatra were dipping their toes with varying degrees of enthusiasm in the waters of the new emerging pop canon, with multiple covers of Yesterday, Something, and Gentle on My Mind threatening to sink the Western seaboard.  This trend had run out of steam by the time of Sinatra's seventies comeback, where he effectively invented the 'vintage artist' career path that most ageing rockers now follow.
   So how did Julie 'Cry Me a River' London fare during this period?  On this 1969 album, and her final for Liberty, we can find out.  The thing is, Julie didn't really do 'fast'.  She was pretty much stuck on the 'slow and sultry' setting.  At best, she could work her way up to 'moderate'.  So here, everything is slower than you're used to.  This is fine on something like 'Light My Fire' as that's always being bloody slowed down, but 'The Mighty Quinn' is practically soporific, and seeing as it is the most inherently un-sexy composition this side of the Frog Song, 'sultry' isn't much use here.  The bubblegum title track is taken to somewhere that lies beyond ideas of 'good' and 'bad', while 'Louie Louie' has never rocked less, and having such a gloriously stupid song sung as if it means something can only end badly.  The version of 'Hushabye Mountain' here, however, is definitive.

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