Saturday, 29 November 2008

“Winkin’, Blinkin’ and Nod: The Kapp Recordings” by THE SIMON SISTERS [Carly and Lucy] (2006 USA-Only Hip-O Select CD - Erick Labson Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

This December 2006 Hip-O Select CD on B000708702 (Barcode 602517008861) is a US-only limited edition of 4000 and reissues the first part of LUCY and CARLY SIMON's musical career as THE SIMON SISTERS in the early Sixties.

"Winkin', Blinkin' And Nod: The Kapp Recordings" comes in a triple gatefold digipak sleeve with a 12-page booklet featuring photos of the album artwork, detailed reissue credits and snaps of the gorgeous gals on stage with their acoustic guitars and matching cardigans. There's even affectionate and revealing liner notes penned by Carly Simon herself.

Here's the folky breakdown for "Winkin', Blinkin' And Nod: The Kapp Recordings" by THE SIMON SISTERS (66:36 minutes):

1. So Glad I'm Here
2. Breton Lullaby
3. Delia
4. Will You Go Laddie Go [aka "Wilde Mountain Thyme"]
5. Chicken Road
6. Once I Had A True Love
7. Wind Spiritual
8. Winkin', Blinkin' And Nod
9. La Claire Fontaine
10. Rise Up
11. Lorca Lullaby
12. Waley, Waley (The Water Is Wide)
13. Sano Duso
Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "The Simon Sisters" released in early 1964 on Kapp Records KL-1359 (Mono) and KS-3359 (Stereo) in the USA - Stereo Mix Used

14. Cuddlebug
15. If You Go Down To The Water
16. Dinks Blues
17. Turn, Turn, Turn
18. Hold Back The Branches
19. Ecoute Dans La Vent (Blowin' In The Wind)
20. Motherless Child
21. No One To Talk My Troubles To
22. My Fisherman, My Laddie O!
23. Feuilles-Oh (Leaves)
24. If I Had A Ribbon Bow
25. Pale Horse And Rider
Tracks 14 to 25 are the album "Cuddlebug" released late 1964 on Kapp Records KL-1397 (Mono) and KS-3397 (Stereo) in the USA - Stereo Mix Used

The 1st generation stereo tapes have been remastered by one of Universal's top engineer's ERICK LABSON who has over 1200 mastering, remastering and audio restoration credits to his name. And he really has outdone himself here because the sound quality on this CD is beautiful - a really exceptionally transfer - clean and warm - it will thrill fans to the very core.

Musically the Sisters sound like Joan Baez meets a female Simon & Garfunkel circa "Wednesday Morning, 3 a.m." - freedom songs, lullabies, historical ditties, traditional airs - mixed up with an occasional original "Rise Up" and "Pale Horse & Rider". Their choices of cover versions were clever too - incredibly strong melodies given pretty and even beautiful renditions - "Will You Go Laddie Go" (the Wild Mountain Thyme song made famous by the McPeake family of Scotland) and "Waley, Waley" (The Water Is Wide song) particularly stick out.

It's not all peaches and cream of course. There are also times on these albums when the cute Sixties thing borderlines on twee and unlistenable - "Cuddlebug" for instance and the French language version of Dylan's "Blowin' In The Wind" are difficult to stomach. This is not the songwriting living life Carly Simon of the 1970s Elektra years, but someone working out their musical place in the world. Still, outside of the twee moments, there's great stuff on this CD to savour - "Hold Back The Branches" features lovely harmonies from Lucy - while "Dink's Blues" has a blistering lead from Carly that's incredibly accomplished - and the production quality on both tracks is fantastic.

Hip-O Select releases are not cheap for sure, but I've over 20 now and if you're into an artist, they're the best. These two albums have been off catalogue for the guts of 40 years now - and Hip-O Select have done their reissue proud.

This is a must-own for fans of the great lady - and besides, even standing beside a lamppost in a natty cardigan as she does on Page 1 of the booklet, Carly Simon still manages to look like sex on legs...effortlessly... Recommended.

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