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Playing Possum
1975

  "The cover of Carly Simon's enjoyable new album is an indication of its best songs, which celebrate the body at play." Stephen Holden
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After The Storm
Love Out In The Street
Look Me In The Eyes
More and More
Slave
Attitude Dancing
Sons of Summer
Waterfall
Are You Ticklish
Playing Possum

   

None of the songs on this album have been performed by Carly Simon to capture on film and share here.

Check out more videos from this album here ~

Lyrics and Music by: Carly Simon

Heat's up, tea's brewed
Clothes strewn around the room
Looks like a wind swept through
Made a wild man out of you
And doesn't anger turn you on
An expectation of a calm

After the storm
And your body feels so warm
After the storm

The wind's pulling the moon down
Under the eiderdown
You're taking me to town
And you're tossing me around
You come on like a hurricane
I'm settling like your weathervane

After the storm
And your body feels so warm
After the storm

Piano: Carly Simon
Drums: Andrew Gold
Bass: Klaus Voormann
Electric Guitar: Lee Ritenour
Percussion: Alan Estes
Alto Sax Solo: Trevor Lawrence
Strings and horns: arranged by Carly Simon; Orchestrated by Perry Botkin, Jr.

© 1975 C'est Music ASCAP

Lyrics & Music by: Carly Simon

I've seen the sidewalks
And I've been aware
Of all the lamps and tables
And the paperback books
That you've thrown out there
All your artifacts
In disrepair
Make up a pile so high
Could tie up the traffic in the thoroughfare

Put your love out in the street
Put your love out in the street
Put your love out in the street
Put your love
Out in the street tonight

I don't mind your sinning
I'm no saint myself
And if the neighbors call you a hellcat
Then let them call me Jezebel

Cause I've come to know you
I've come to know you so well
From spying on you from my bathroom window
In this cheap hotel

Put your love out in the street
Put your love out in the street
Put your love out in the street
Put your love
Out in the street tonight

So let flow the hydrants
And we'll dance in the spray
And we'll wash out our dirty laundry
In the alleyway

Put your love out in the street
Put your love out in the street
Put your love out in the street
Put your love
Out in the street tonight

Piano: Carly Simon
Drums: Andrew Gold
Bass: Willie Weeks
Guitars & Tamborine: Andrew Gold
2nd Piano: Billy Mernit
Percussion: Emil Richards
Background Vocals: Carly Simon, Rita Coolidge, Clydie King, Rodney Richmond
Strings arr. & cond. by Perry Botkin, Jr.

© 1975 C'est Music ASCAP

Lyrics & Music by Carly Simon

Won't you give me all your limes
And I will give you a reason
I'll rub them on my body
And smell just like the West Indies

And when I'm feelin' like the islands
And I'm giving you all my sighs
I beg you when you love me
Look me in the eyes

It's your heat that makes me warm
Makes me climb on you like a tree
And I don't need no fancy dancing
When you bend over me

We'll be like two lazy sunbathers
Swaying palm trees against the sky
And I beg you when you love me
Look me in the eyes

Acoustic Guitars: Carly Simon, James Taylor
Electric Piano & Arp Synthesizer: James Newton Howard
Percussion: Alan Estes
Background Vocals: Carly Simon, Vini Poncia

© 1975 C'est Music ASCAP

Lyrics by: Mac Rebennack (aka Dr. John)
Music by: Alvin Robinson

I want to give you more
More and more
More and more
More than just a melody
To let you know that I love you

I want to give you more
More and more
More and more
More than just a song to sing
To let you know that it's the real thing

I want to make us be
You and me
In close harmony
I want to make us be
You and me
In close harmony

Serenades and symphonies
Lullabyes and sweet melodies
We'll make romantic rhapsodies
Music, maestro, if you please

I want to give you more
More and more
More and more
More than just a love affair
Cause, darlin', you can find that anywhere

Lay your head upon my breast
Fondle me with tenderness
We've got the key to happiness
Close your eyes and I'll do the rest

I want to give you more
More and more
More and more
More than even life itself
I wouldn't settle for nothing else

Drums: Ringo Starr
Bass: Klaus Voormann
Piano: Dr. John
Guitars: Alvin Robinson, Jeff Baxter Percussion: Freddie Stachle
Tambourine: Richard Perry
Background Vocals: Maxine Willard, Julia Tillman, Carolyn Willis

© 1975 Rizzum Music BMI

Lyrics by: Jacob Brackman
Music by: Carly Simon

Listening for your footsteps
Just waiting like a fool
Burning with a fever
Only you can cool

The clock beside my pillow
Has ticked away the night
Like a heartbeat mocking me
Until the light

Gotta stop these thoughts about you
Gotta learn to live without you
Gotta find some freedom for this weary slave

'Cause I'm hungry for you
And I'm longing for you
And I'm burning for you

I worship your opinions
And I imitate your ways
I try to make you grace me
With a word of praise

However much I tell myself
That I'm strong and free and brave
I'm just another woman
Raised to be a slave

Slave, nothing but a slave
Mind of a slave
Body of a slave

I find I gave away the soul
That I wanted you to save
I'm just another woman
Raised to be a slave

Hungry for you
And longing for you
Burning for you
And I'm longing for you
burning for you
And I'm yearning for you
Longing for you

Piano: Carly Simon
Acoustic Guitar: James Taylor Drums: Russ Kunkel
Bass: Lee Sklar
Electric Guitar & Mandolin: Lee Ritenour
Background Vocals: Carly Simon, Rita Coolidge, Clydie King
Strings, Horns & Woodwinds arr. & cond. by Perry Botkin, Jr.

© 1975 C'est Music / Jacob Brackman ASCAP

Lyrics by: Jacob Brackman
Music by: Carly Simon

There's a new kind of dancing
That's gonna be the rage
You just leave yourself behind
Like an actor on a stage

Cop a different pose
From the pose you're in
Shine a different attitude
From underneath your skin

Attitude dancing
Strut around the floor in a different attitude
Attitude dancing
Any attitude is the proper attitude
Attitude dancing
Don't be afraid to change your attitude
Attitude dancing
Free up your spirit with a new attitude

It don't even matter
If you stretch or shake
And it don't really matter
What moves your body makes

And it don't really matter
What steps you choose to do
Only one thing matters
Is your attitude
Your attitude

Attitude dancing
Strut around the floor in a different attitude
Attitude dancing
Learn to move in another attitude
Attitude dancing
Find the groove in a new attitude
Attitude dancing
Don't be afraid of a new attitude

It don't really matter
What steps you choose to do
Only one thing matters:
Is your attitude

Your attitude, attitude dancing
Strut around the floor in a new attitude
Do the locomotion in a new attitude
Do the mashed potato in a new attitude
Do the hully gully in a new attitude

Find a role you like
Capture it and freeze
Then turn it around
A hundred and eighty degrees
Or if you're at a loss
Observe some natural dude
And turn into a mirror of his attitude
Attitude, attitude, attitude
Dancing

Piano: Carly Simon
Drums: Jim Gordon
Bass: Willie Weeks
Guitar: Andrew Gold
Conga: Eddie Bongo
Background Vocals: Carly Simon, Carole King, Abigale Haness, Kenny Moore
Strings arr. by Paul Riser

© 1975 C'est Music / Jacob Brackman ASCAP

Lyrics & Music by: Billy Mernit

It makes me smile
To think of what we dreamed of

Where are those sons of summer now
With their wild-haired women in their
patchwork gowns
Who could laugh the lights away
Nights on the beach and bay

The course on farms
And the course in the bar
Sweet smokin' in the back of the car
Always the first time shines to last like a morning star
Like a morning star

It's been a while since the last time we were dancing
Where are those sons of summer now
With their long-limbed ladies who all knew how
To chase the blues away
I've got the blues today

Your ivy days and your clubhouse ways
Wine mug nights when the music played
Love that is real will not fade away like a morning star

Where are those sons of summer now
The winter has come
And you don't know how to turn your
Dreams into coal
Your books won't hold you

The woods get cold
And I feel too old
I begin to questioning your schoolboy soul
Clever remarks that once won my heart
When the fire won't light
Will they lose their spark

And I can't help but get a little bit blue
Thinking about the precious nothing we once knew

Piano: Billy Mernit
Vocals: Carly Simon

© 1974 Thorkus Pub Co. / Emotion Picture Music ASCAP

Lyrics & Music by: Carly Simon

Something's going down like a waterfall
Some strong feeling's some old love
I saw you and it made no sense at all
Now I feel like there's too much caffeine in my blood

Like a waterfall goin' down
Like a waterfall washing me down
Spinnin' me around
Lord, and I'm drownin'
Like a waterfall going down
Just like a waterfall washing me down
Like a waterfall going down and down and down

You're an old lover making new contact
Making those cold defenses melt
And though lying in your arms is after the fact
Once again I'm feeling like I've never felt

It's like a waterfall going down
Like a waterfall washing me down
Spinnin'me round

Lord, and I'm drowning
Like a waterfall going down
Just like a waterfall washing me down
Like a waterfall going down and down and down

Piano: Carly Simon
Acoustic Guitar: James Taylor
Drums: Russ Kunkel
Bass: Lee Sklar
Electric Guitar: Lee Ritenour
Clarinet: Lon Van Eaton
Flute: Derrek Van Eaton
Background Vocals: Carly Simon, James Taylor

© 1975 C'est Music ASCAP

Lyrics & Music by: Carly Simon

Are you ticklish
Or did I just hit a funny bone
Are you ticklish
Are we really alone?

Do you like me
Or am I just hoping for too much
Do you like me
Do you like to touch
Do you like me

I hear there's another side to you
Well there's another side to me too
Let's get over to the other side
Real soon

I hear there's an underneath to you
Well there's an underneath to me too
Let's get down underneath
Real soon

Are you lonesome
Well everybody's lonesome
So it's safe to assume you're lonesome
But are you ticklish
Are you ticklish

Piano: Carly Simon
Drums: Irv Cottler
Bass: Joe Mondragon
Clarinets & Trombone arr. & cond. by Perry Botkin, Jr.

© 1975 C'est Music ASCAP

Lyrics & Music by: Carly Simon

We lived up in Cambridge
And browsed in the hippest newsstands
The we started our own newspaper
Gave the truth about Uncle Sam
We loved to be so radical
But like a ragged love affair
Some became disenchanted
And some of us just got scared

Now are you playing possum
Keeping a low profile
Are you playing possum for a while

Then you moved to the country
Bought a farm and tilled the land
Then you took your books to India
And got hooked on a holy man
But the wells they do run dry
And the speeches turn to words
And the woods are full of tigers
And freedom's for the birds

Now are you playing possum
Keeping a low profile
Are you playing possum for a while

Now you run a bookstore
And you've taken on a wife
You wear patches on your elbows
And you live an easy life
But are you finally satisfied
Is it what you were lookin' for
Or does it sneak up on you
That there might be something more

Now are you playing possum
Keeping a low profile
Are you playing possum for a while

Piano: Carly Simon
Drums & Acoustic Guitar: Andrew Gold
Bass: Willie Weeks
Harmonica: Tommy Morgan
Pedal Steel: Sneaky Pete
Sitar: Lon Van Eaton
Background Vocals: James Taylor
Strings arr. by Carly Simon; Orchestrated by Perry Botkin, Jr.

© 1975 C'est Music ASCAP

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Playing Possum Album LP Cover
Photo: Norman Seeff

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Playing Possum album LP back
Photo: Norman Seeff

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Playing Possum album LP sleeve
Photo: Norman Seeff

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Playing Possum photo session outtake
Photo: Norman Seeff

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Playing Possum photo session outtake
Photo: Norman Seeff

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Playing Possum photo session outtake
Photo: Norman Seeff

Special thanks to:


Jake Brackman, Rodney Richmond, Donna Crowell and Helen Wynn

 


Release Date: April 1975
Label: Elektra Records
Album Billboard Peak: #10

Single (Attitude Dancing) Billboard Hot 100 Peak: #21 - Adult Contemporary:#18
Single (Waterfall) Billboard Hot 100 Peak: #78 - Adult Contemporary:#21
Single (More and More) Billboard Hot 100 Peak: #94


Produced by: Richard Perry
Recording Engineers: Bill Schnee (all tracks except)
Norm Kinney: Look Me In The Eyes
Andrew Berliner: More and More

Primary Recording Location: Sound Labs, Inc.
Add'l Recording Locations: Sunset Sound Recorders, Crystal Sound, A&M Studios, Burbank Studios
Assistant Engineers: Reed Stanley, Larry Emerine
2nd Lieutenant: Charles Beasely
Remix Engineers: Bill Schnee, Norm Kinney
Disc Cutting Engineer: Doug Sax, The Mastering Lab

Personal Management: Arlyne Rothberg, Inc.
Photography: Norman Seeff
Art Direction: Glen Christensen

James Taylor appears courtesy of Warner Bros. Records
Ringo Starr appears courtesy of EMI Records and Apple Records
Carole King appears courtesy of Ode Records
Lon and Derrek Van Eaton appears courtesy of A&M Records
Dr. John appears courtesy of Atlantic Records
Andrew Gold appears courtesy of Asylum Records
James Newton appears courtesy of Buddah Records
Billy Mernit appears courtesy of Columbia Records
Rita Coolidge appears courtesy of A&M Records
Jeff Baxter appears courtesy of Warner Bros. Records

 

Rolling Stone cover - Carly Simon - Playing Possum album

Rolling Stone cover - May 1975
There Goes Sensuous Simon ~ Written by: Ben Fong-Torres
Cover photo: Tony Lane

A Session with 'Fired Up' Carly Simon: 'Oh My Gosh, Here's This Body Again!'

For a story on Carly Simon, I had not intended to take the obvious tack - her sexual image. But it appears to be in the air and as unavoidable as the air itself.

On Playing Possum: "I felt very sexy when I wrote most of the songs" A lot of the songs are quite...sensual. It's more body than mind. I felt it more in my stomach than in my head while writing it and performing it." In short, this song is, "less intellectual" than some of her other compositions.

I think after Sarah was born, after the whole maternal feeling of your body, and the breast-feeding and the feeling of being essential to someone else's life - which is about as heavy as a woman could ever feel - after that passed and my body began to assume its former shape, there was a sort of renewal of the lust; there was a sort of 'Oh, my gosh! Here's this body again,' and I sort of got turned on by it."

On Slave: "I'm anticipating that there will be a little scurry of female, uh, hair on the back on first hearing. It says 'I'm just another woman raised to be a slave,' and they'll say, 'How dare she do that, she's supposed to be a liberated woman, and here she's talking about being a slave!

The thing that I feel is that it is true. I do feel, sometimes, a victim of my own enslavement, but I'm angry about that in the song. It's,'Goddamnit, sometimes I actually still feel like a slave! That's what the sentiment is."

On Performing: Manager Arlyne Rotherberg: "I wouldn't push her, because the fear is overwhelming. She suffers great pain. I'd feel like Judy Garland's manager if I pushed her."

Carly: "My idea of what I would most like to do would be to perform under an assumed name at a small club where nobody knew me, and I could sing my ass off, just sing great in a situation like that, where nobody expected anything of me, nobody came in loving me or wanting me to fail."

On the Album Cover: Carly's guess as to what Sears finds so offensive about the cover that they've banned it from their stores: "The bottom is sort of bottoming out, but there's nothing else. I guess it is pretty sexy. If it wasn't me, I'd probably be turned on."

Note: The full article can be read at Rollingstone.com for a subscription fee.

Phonograph magazine cover - Carly Simon - Playing Possum album

Phonograph Record cover - May 1975
Carly Simon: Attitude Dancing ~ Written by: Tom Nolan
Cover photo: Norman Seeff

At home with a leading member of rock's jet-set, Carly Simon discusses her latest album and her attitudes about marriage, parenthood, and womanhood.

She is, in person, more interesting-looking than beautiful. The planes of her face are unusual, which accounts for her great affinity with the camera. Beauty is included, of course, in her face-to-face self; and when she breaks into a broad grin, the sight is dazzling.

On Playing Possum: "I'm pleased with the album, or at least with 85% of it, which is a high percentage for me. I'm usually super-critical. It's probably looser than my other albums; it rocks a little more. I see all the songs as being about sex, except for the one which is about politics.

My songs, used to be almost like entries in a diary. I would write down pretty much what had happened to me. But this past year, my experience has been primarily as a mother. I had no perspective on that; nor would I want to fill up an entire album with lullabies about my child.

So I drew on hypothetical situations more than I have in the past. For the first time I put myself into the role of a story-teller, drawing not specifically from my own experiences but from experiences that I might have had, of might yet have."

On Marriage: "Some of the songs that I've written about James are out of a need to work out problems that are too personal to put on disc. It would lack consideration. Very often those things remain lyrics; I don't even bother making them into songs

Being married to another musician is very familiar. It's like an extension of my home situation as a child, with all sorts of people around making music, and a certain amount of sibling rivarly. Like when James wants to borrow my guitar, 'I don't want you to borrow my guitar. I'm using my guitar.' It's kind of funny, but it's nice. There are predictable problems, but I love being married to James. I really do."

On Performing:"I just feel downright frightened in front of a huge crowd. When I'm standing up on stage with all this energy coming at me, it seems to strike me, like a bolt and I panic."

On turning 30: "The song Playing Possum came out of a sadness, a concern about turning thrity, and how about things that once seemed so important lose their magic as more practical things take over.

Thirty, itself, is a very definitive age somehow. Whatever the expectations were when you were growing up, when you're thirty - there you are. Is this where you're going to stay? Laying back in your comfort? Or do you get restless again and want to make a change?"

Rolling Stone

Album Review ~ by Stephen Holden Read

"Simon has largely abandoned plaintive balladeering for a blunt style that means to be aggressively sexy."

USA Today

Chatter Read

Since the songs on her new album, Playing Possum, are "mostly about sex," says Carly Simon, "it seemed right to display my body on the cover." That she does, thanks to an unusually brief chemise selected by Sarah Maria, her 15-month-old child by superstar husband James Taylor. Inadvertently—while strapped to her Ma in a Gerry backpack, Sarah Maria snitched the nightie off a New York department store rack and jammed it, hanger and all, into the carrier. Simon says she only discovered her daughter's "first—and I hope last—shoplifting crime" after returning home.


Hi there, Playing Possum is my favorite album of yours, and 'Look Me In The Eyes' is a beautiful track. The song has some of the most beautiful words I've ever heard.

I wanted to ask, what or who inspired the wonderful lyrics.."Won't you give me all your limes and I will give you a reason, I will rub them on my body and smell like the West Indies"?

Thanks for giving me the chance to ask a question. Fondest wishes and all the best.
Nia - North Wales, UK


I had had a boyfriend named Rodney. Not really a boyfriend boyfriend, but a crush. A long time ago. Way before James so let's not start any tortured gossip, but he wore a certain cologne that was basically lime juice as far as I could tell. He smelled so much like the West Indies that he stood timeless under an exotic palm in Tortola, half in and half out of the water. Simply that. Intoxicating.
Love, Carly - 2/18/03


Dear Carly,
Another Playing Possum question. I've been wondering, what WAS Carole King singing at the end of "Attitude Dancing?"

The background vocals at the very end sound like she slipped into a foreign language or something. How did she end up singing for you? I sing in the car with you, well, maybe one can call it singing! Thank you for so much beautiful music!
Love, S. Jordan - Austin, Texas


Believe it or not, I can't quite remember the translation of what Carole and Abigail sang. I think I'll have to look at the lyrics and see if I can make them out. To my recollection, I think it was things like "strike a pose" in Spanish. Any old thing that can be done with an attitude, but I don't remember now which verbs we chose. Imagine that. forgetting.
Love, Carly - 7/11/02
PS. Carole has always been a friend. Thank God.


Your music has been a part of our lives and marriage from the beginning. I did have a question regarding "Sons of Summer" which appeared on the "Playing Possum" album in 1974.

Was there a specific person or place that the song was directed to? It seemed at once to be sad, joyful, and reminiscent of a particular place or time. The harmonies were perfection and it remains my favorite of your songs.
Our Fond Aloha, Steve & Jan Perry - Wahiawa, Hawaii


This song was written by a friend of mine named Billy Mernit. Amazingly talented lad. He was responsible for pointing out the clouds in my coffee that eventually went into the lyric of "You're So Vain".
Carly Simon 10/22/01


Carly,
I love your song "Are You Ticklish?" I would love to know it's deeper meaning. Also, are YOU?
Crydun-Ohio


Extremely.
Lots of nerve endings responding on high voltage energy. Very ticklish. I think of course it's also another meaning for 'sensitive', and possibly amused by my attentions.
Love, Carly - 1/30/03


Dear Carly,
I recently played the song Waterfall from Playing Possum and even though I know the words by heart, I pulled out the tiny liner notes included in the CD. To my amazement, Russ Kunkel plays drums on this song! I absolutely love his contributions to Spoiled Girl and Coming Around Again, but I don't think I ever realized that he worked with you that early on.

After doing an extensive "google" search on the net, I came up empty handed as to what he's doing with this talent these days. Would you happen to know?
Thanks for the joy your music brings to the world, Kevin - St. Louis, MO


Dear Kevin,
I love Russ Kunkel too. He is every singer's favorite drummer and I just was told last night as a matter of fact that he's Levon Helm's favorite drummer. He is brilliant as a person as well. I don't know what he's doing these days. I hope it's something that's worthy of the talent he always brings to whatever project he's doing.

I believe he did more for my career as a writer, arranger and producer than anyone. He kept pushing me in the best possible way when I was writing the music for "Heartburn" and the ensuing album "Coming Around Again", to write the bass parts, guitar and strings myself and play them on synthesizers. For the final recording we of course got reasonable people to play those parts. (I mean, don't kid yourself, that's not me being Billy Paine!!!) You only have to get me started on what a magical person he is. Generous and brilliant.
Love, Carly - 8/29/02
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