Sunday 27 May 2012

yho32 - composition ...

The thirty-second edition of YHO has on its front cover a still from a TV performance of Janis Ian singing The Man You Are In Me.  This issue takes as its starting point a sequence of LPs Janis made in the mid-‘70s and their wider context and connections.  Musically this mid-‘70s sequence frequently has the melodic invention and warm intimacy of the finest easy listening/adult contemporary sounds, but the songs never seem too smooth or self-absorbed, overly polished or plush.  There is a bit of an edge, an air of mischief, a suggestion of spikiness, a bit of bite.  She never gets too mystical, too ethereal, too wispy.  She is more earthy and argumentative than many of her contemporaries.  That may be part of the appeal.  In Janis’ case, it’s fascinating to look at her background, experiences, environment, influences, interests, attitude and approach.  It’s also revealing to look at her associates, the people she has worked with, by design or by accident, their connections, their significance.  So this issue flits back and forth through Janis’ career, and takes in a cast of characters including:
Ø  Shadow Morton
Ø  Brooks Arthur
Ø  Richard Davis
Ø  Charlie Calello
Ø  Laura Nyro
Ø  Bob Crewe
Ø  Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons
Ø  Herb Bernstein
Ø  Dusty Springfield
Ø  Ron Frangipane

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