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Listening Booth: 1970

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iTunes Review

If you were ever wondering what a rich year 1970 was for pop music, just scan the titles of the songs on this collection of covers from that blessed year. John Lennon’s “Look At Me,” Paul McCartney’s “Maybe I’m Amazed,” Paul Simon’s “The Only Living Boy In New York,” Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic,” the list is long and impressive. Not a clunker in the bunch. India.Arie adds extra spice to Bread’s “Make It With You.” Aimee Mann charges up Badfinger’s “No Matter What.” Kristina Train throws her support behind Smokey Robinson’s “The Tears of a Clown” and Jim Lauderdale unleashes his inner hippie for a sparked-up rendition of the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie.” While all of these tunes were perfect in their original renditions, it’s always pleasant to hear someone with chops put his own spin on things. The bonus cut of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” could never replace Wonder’s charismatic original, but it’s a definite curiosity and a gutsy move all around.

Customer Reviews

Great Takes on Classic Tracks

Let me first say that I'm a huge fan of Marc's work, and as such could spend a ton of space raving about his skills as a songwriter, musician, and live performer. That said I'll try to refrain from gushing and instead offer a balanced critique of this album. The song choices and Marc's interpretations of the vast majority of them are fantastic. Often cover albums have at least one if not several tunes that stick out to the listener as being a reach or sounding gimmicky / over produced. That never happens here. The musicianship, production quality, and singing are all excellent. So much so that there are very few moments when a production or instrument choice falls flat (flute part in "Tears of a Clown" as the exception?). The roster of accomplished guest performers add to the record instead of getting in the way. This album is an easy listen in the best sense of the words. Look at Me, Maybe I'm Amazed, After Midnight, and New Speedway Boogie are simply outstanding. Even more so when you consider the artists being covered here. Lennon, McCartney, Clapton, and the Greatful Dead. Talk about putting yourself out there ! Mr. Cohn proves he's up to the task with inspired takes on these classics and creates a version of each that is instantly palatable, in part because it doesn't attempt to replace your love of the original. Sticking with Marc's usual pattern, and the pattern of the great albums he's honoring here, the tracks are ordered / grouped to be heard by the listener as "sides" and for the most part it works. The one shortcoming however is an obvious lack of up tempo numbers. The abundance of slow songs makes the album drag a bit. Had "Wild World" or "No Matter What" been done closer to the style and pace used by the original artists, Cohn's interpretations of those songs may have been diminished, but the album's overall flow and range of dynamics would have been improved. But no worries, because in the ITunes world of playlists, the addition of Signed Sealed Delivered (bonus track) helps improve the pace. By slipping it into the number 6 spot and using only one of "Only Living Boy in New York". or "Long as I Can See the Light" as the final track, the listening experience is improved. All in all, this is a very good record worth every penny spent.

Marc Cohn, Listening Booth 1970

Sadly disappointing effort by Marc Cohn, each cut sounds like the last, nothing memorable about this album. The arrangements sucked the energy out of "The Letter" and the soul out of Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed Delivered". For the person who thought these are all better than the originals, I suggest you get a copy of "Wings Over America" and "Moondance" and listen to Macca and Morrison's versions of those two classics. One final note, The Letter was originally released as a single by The Box Tops in 1967 not 1970, it was #1 on the charts for them that summer. Joe Cocker covered it on his his 1970 album Mad Dogs and Englishmen.

listening booth: 1970

Nice collection of tunes rehashed, reworked and with excellent back-up. Still remember seeing him and the piano at La Zona Rosa in Austin,Tx back in the late 90's. Love the voice. Check-out Badfinger's "No Matter What" with Aimee Mann.


Born: July 5, 1959 in Cleveland, OH

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

One Sunday morning in the early '70s, a youngster in Cleveland caught an earful of Van Morrison's Astral Weeks and his life was never to be the same. That kid was Marc Cohn, and soon after that morning, he bought everything Morrison had released to date, along with works by Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne. Soon thereafter, an older brother taught him a Ray Charles tune on the piano, and he joined a cover band, Doanbrook Hotel. He sang with them from junior high school until he left home for Oberlin...
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