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We've Only Just Begun

Claudine Longet

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Album Review

French pop singer Claudine Longet was never known for her strong vocals. A pretty face, Andy Williams' wife, and later a marksman of deadly skill, but never a great singer. 1969's We've Only Just Begun features Longet's fragile wisp of a voice trailing gently through some of the biggest soft pop hits of recent vintage as well as a few obscure tracks. The musical backing is cotton-candy sweet, overflowing with strings, gently strummed guitars, and waves of backing vocals in order to give listeners something other than her voice to focus all their attention on. Strangely it all adds up to a pleasurable listening experience. A little ironic but still better than it has any right to be. Longet's stilted phrasing and inability to emote even a little give the record an otherworldly feel that elevates the proceedings a notch above the easy listening norm. For some reason she sounds best on up-tempo tracks like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Make It With You," and Donovan's obscure "Electric Moon." Her take on Bobby Goldsboro's "Broomstick Cowboy" is almost exciting even. The ballads are decent enough, though she proves herself to be no Karen Carpenter on "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun." Where the albums falls apart is on the tracks like "Cry Me a River" or "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma," where they take an overly cutesy novelty approach. Nobody really needs to hear a riverboat jazz version of "Cry Me a River." Ever. Still, if you skip that song the record is quite enjoyable.

Biography

Born: 29 January 1942 in France

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s

Although French chanteuse Claudine Longet recorded a series of bewitchingly ethereal albums which are much revered by today's aficionados of smooth, sophisticated '60s pop, among the general public her career as a performer was ultimately dwarfed by the events of her personal life, most regrettably the 1976 shooting which killed her boyfriend, skiing star Spider Sabich. Longet was born in Paris on January 29, 1942; according to an excellent article in the magazine Girlyhead, she relocated to the...
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We've Only Just Begun, Claudine Longet
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