My Record Collection 206

Jennifer Warnes – famous for being more than just a backing singer with Leonard Cohen in the Seventies, she has had a sporadic solo career.  She release 4 albums in the late Sixties and Early Seventies, which were compiled into a 1992 album Just Jennifer –  not much to say about this, pleasant songs and a lot of cover versions, her voice is pretty soft and subtle, and doesn’t really do justice to most of this material.   Although her rendition of ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ and ‘Just Like Tom Thumb Blues’ are quite good.   In 1979 ahe released my favourite album of hers Shot Though The Heart – with a great cover too.  Well, this album is such a favourite; I played it non-stop for weeks back in the day.  I especially love the title track ‘Shot Through The Heart’ (there goes the gunman) followed by ‘I Know A Heartache When I See One’, but the best was ‘Don’t Make Me Over’ (a Baccharach/David song) and a great version of Dylan’s ‘Sign On The Window’.  The whole album just seems to roll along.  Brilliant.  Almost as good, and again a real departure was this almost collaboration with Leonard Cohen, with whom she had sung in the studio and on tour.  It included two, at that time, unrelease Cohen songs, which I think Jennifer recorded at least as well as Cohen himself.  They also collaborated in the writing of ‘Song Of Bernadette’ – a highlight of this album Famous Blue Raincoat (1986).  My favourites are probably the title track, ‘Came So Far For Beauty’ and ‘Ballad of The Runaway Mare’….but who can fault the splendid duet ‘Joan Of Arc’, here Jennifer  is Joan and Leonard the fire.  Wow.   I mwntioned before that Jennifer is only a sporadic album  maker and it was only 1992 that saw her next effort – The Hunter.  Well, after those two incredible albums it must have been hard to come up with a third, and so it turned out.  Overall, a disappointing album I am afraid.  Maybe I was expecting too much, but I was under awed.  Reading the extensive credits of both performers and producers it is no  wonder.  The album sounds over-produced and overworked and lacking in any identity.   Or maybe I am being a bit harsh; re-listening, the album is not so bad – just not as brilliant as I fel it might have been.  Maybe it is the song choices, best are ‘Rock Me Gently’ and ‘The Lights Of Luisiana’.  I also have a best of – which tanspires to be taken from just 2 albums; Jennifer seemed to be any quite a few different labels in her career. Still, not a bad selection – except of course, no ‘Up Here Where We Belong’.   A bit of a wasted talent in some ways – but still two brilliant albums is better than most.

The Waterboys – an Irish band, led by Mike Scott (see S).  Their biggest selling album was Fisherman’s Blues 1988 – Actually, the only one of theirs I own.  And it is pretty damn good.  With this album, they apparently re-discovered their Irish roots.  Musically, it is quite folky, with fiddles and acoustic instruments.  The songs are, of course, what makes the album so good.  The iconic ‘Whole of The Moon’ is great, as is ‘When Will We Be Married’ and ‘A Bang On The Ear’.  But somehow the record, too long, tires as it goes on. 

JENNIFER WARNES ~ Famous Blue Raincoat ~