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Gentle Soul

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Album Review

The Gentle Soul's sole album is suffused with pretty and wistful folk-rock tunes, deftly produced by Terry Melcher to incorporate dreamy orchestral instrumentation — harpsichord, flute, and cello — while retaining an understated subtlety. If you like the Stone Poneys, who made similar material in the late 1960s, there's no way you're not going to like this album. If you're sitting on the fence after that conditional recommendation, it might be too mellow for your tastes. If you want to know how exactly it might differ from the Stone Poneys, it's a little more on the soft-rock side, and definitely heavier on the male-female harmonies. All of which might be underselling the record, which is pretty attractive, though not astounding, on its own terms. That's probably Ry Cooder making his presence felt on the gutsiest and bluesiest tunes, "Young Man Blue" and "Reelin'," both of which feature excellent acoustic slide guitar. Although Pamela Polland and Rick Stanley sing and write well together, it's Polland whose personality comes through stronger, particularly as she takes the occasional unharmonized lead vocal and is the sole composer of one of the record's strongest tunes, "See My Love (Song for Greg)." Is this worth the three figure prices it commands on auction lists? No. But what is? It's decent music if you can get it.

It was finally reissued on CD by Sundazed in 2003 with the addition of nine bonus cuts, including all five songs from their late-'60s non-LP singles, an alternate take of the single "Tell Me Love," and three previously unreleased outtakes, among them the early Jackson Browne composition "Flying Thing." With the exception of a bluesy 1968 version of "2:10 Train" (also covered by the Stone Poneys and the Rising Sons), most of these have a poppier sound than the album, sometimes showing the influence of the Byrds and the Mamas & the Papas in the harmonies and guitar parts.

Biography

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s

Gentle Soul were the singing-songwriting duo of Pamela Polland and Rick Stanley, and made one LP for Epic in 1968 that bridged the folk-rock and singer/songwriter-soft rock eras. The self-titled album, despite coming out on a major label, is extremely rare, and has never been issued on CD. Produced by Terry Melcher (the Byrds, Paul Revere & the Raiders), it had quite a stellar supporting cast of session musicians, including Ry Cooder on guitar, Van Dyke Parks on harpsichord, Paul Horn on flute,...
Full Bio
Gentle Soul, Gentle Soul
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