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Never Been Gone

Carly Simon

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Album Review

After the 2008 commercial disaster that was Carly Simon's This Kind of Love, issued on the now-defunct Starbucks' Hear Music imprint, this collection of rearranged and re-recorded versions of her hits seems like a logical step backward in order to move forwards. Released on the Iris imprint and produced by "Paphiopedillium" (a group effort comprised of Simon, her son Benjamin Taylor, Larry Ciancia, Peter Cato, and David Saw, the band of players on this set), Simon's on acoustic guitar with her voice right up front. The arrangements are considerably starker than their original versions (she doesn't have the same kind of recording budget as she did when she was with the major labels, but perhaps she would have chosen this manner of delivering these songs even if she had), and her voice is considerably lower, dictating that she transpose keys on many of these selections. That said, hearing songs such as"Boys in the Trees," with its faux-Brazilian rhythms and her ever-so-slightly more raspy delivery is, in some ways, preferable to its original single version, simply because it is more believable. Also included are a lightly funky "You Belong to Me," with its rubbery bassline and accented backing chorus. The notorious "You're So Vain" sounds here like it comes out of time and space; as if she is singing the song from the place of painful memory and reminiscence, rather than as a song that relates the importance of the learning experience it originally provided for her. It's more fragile, less militant, less angry, and is far lower in pitch than its original version. "Anticipation" is so utterly tender and wispy, it feels like a brand new song — and yes, that's a good thing. The melody is there, the arrangement is beautifully supportive, but the song is sung from the palace of wisdom here; and while it cannot replace the original, it does become a righteous addendum to it. The melancholy and darkness in "That's the Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" is utterly present in this version, which is all the mores striking given when it was written; it comes off as a song of surrender. This kind of "redo-the-hits" project is very common from veteran artists in the 21st century.

Customer Reviews

OK, let's cut her a break, huh?

Carly Simon is 64 years old. She's not going to sound like she did almost 40 years ago. That said, I'm appreciative of her revisiting some of her classic material in less heavily produced arrangements. They are indeed far more intimate than the originals, and I came away from many of the songs with new (mostly positive) points of view about the tunes. For longtime Simon fans, I'd definitely recommend this release. For those who have not been exposed to the original material, get to know those first before listening to this.

Never Been Gone but man is she back

This album is like having an intimate performance by Carly Simon in your living room. These classic songs have been wonderfully rearranged and recorded. A must in any collection.

Nobody does it better

I have to say at first listen I wasn’t sure, but 2 days later I believe these new arrangements to be really fun and addicting. Anyone who has seen Carly perform in the past 2 years knows that this is her sound right now. I think Ben’s(Taylor) influence really works here. I hope the put out a b-sides as well..The whole reason we love carly is that she marches to her own drum, takes chances and does not it play it safe. Obviously they had a blast recording these songs and it all transpires to my living room. I love that. I love Never Been Gone..

Biography

Born: June 25, 1945 in New York, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Carly Simon was one of the most popular of the confessional singer/songwriters who emerged in the early '70s. The youngest child in an upper-class New York family (her father, Richard Simon, co-founded the Simon & Schuster publishing company), Simon got her start in music as part of a duo with her sister Lucy (who later wrote the music for the Broadway show The Secret Garden). The Simon Sisters had a chart single with "Winkin' Blinkin' and Nod" in April 1964. But Simon's solo debut did not come...
Full Bio