Friday, July 15, 2011

Claudine Longet - Love Is Blue 1968

Claudine Longet's third album continues the middle-of-the-road tendencies of her first two, leading off with an oddly jaunty reinterpretation of "Falling in Love Again," Marlene Dietrich's theme song, whose jaded world-weariness Longet replaces with her own pleasantly insubstantial persona. With its cinematic background noise staging and odd ragtime piano accents, it recalls Harpers Bizarre's playful deconstruction of pre-rock standards. More successful are the straightforward bilingual version of the title track, one of the evergreen tunes of '60s easy listening; the oft-recorded Alan Gordon and Gary Bonner sunshine pop tune "Small Talk"; and a mournful, skeletal version of Randy Newman's little-known early tune "Snow" that's among Longet's finest interpretations of her career. Even better is Longet's take on the Bee Gees standard "Holiday"; Longet's endearingly pitch-poor, lispy vocals are tailor-made for this spooky, unconventional song, which arranger Nick DeCaro gives a suitably off-kilter arrangement featuring a chorus of wordless Longets between the strings and the increasingly florid piano accompaniment. Longet's next album, the masterful Colours, would benefit from even more of this gently psychedelic experimentation. AMG.

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