REFLECTIONS - 2004


  • Reflections
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Liner Notes

We all, at some part of our journey, come from drums. A womb with a heartbeat. Our gestation must be remembered and at least my attempt to re-link to it has been defined (unconsciously until now) by my extreme comfort in a rhythmic context. Drummers have driven me. I love the accents subtle and less subtle which connect up into heartbeats, hard and softer, that let me know what I care about. I also drive drummers. Beg them to hit the toms harder, a 'step on the gas' tactic that has to be more primal than intellectual. They have been there for me and as I listen to this collection, it is the drummers who have played on these tracks that I want to thank individually.

Jimmy Bralower, Ray Cooper, Mickey Curry, Barry Desouza, Steve Gadd, Jim Gordon, Robin Gould, Jamey Haddad, Jimmy Johnson, Jim Keltner, Russ Kunkel, Jimmy Maelen, Rick Marotta, Ralph Mcdonald And Andy Newmark. Carly Simon

Credits

Release Date: May 4, 2004
Label: BMG Heritage
Album Billboard Peak: #22
Certified Gold in 2007

This Compilation Produced for Release by Carly Simon
Executive Producer: Joseph Dimuro
A&R: Gary Pachecho & Gary Peterson
Remastering: Bill Inglot & Dan Hersch at Digiprep
Project Directors: Victoria Sarro & Matthew Stringer
Art Direction: Erwin Gorostiza
Design: Kiku Yamaguchi
Front & Back Photographs: Bob Gothard / Arista Archives

Special Thanks: Rachel Bickerton,, Malia Doss, Jimmy Edwards, Dennis Garces, Kevin Gore, Steffen Hartlieb, Jeremy Holiday, John Hudson, Robin Hurley, Kevin Kiernan, Iris Maenza, David Mclees, Justin Pae, Brian Piperno, Sue Raffman, Bettyann Rizzo

Personal Management: Kerri Brusca
Legal Representation: L. Lee Phillips
Carly Simon’s Official Website: www.Carlysimon.Com
Webmaster: Jodie Wright

Original Recordings Produced by Eddie Kramer, Paul Samwell-Smith, Richard Perry, Arif Mardin, Mike Mainieri, Russ Kunkel, Bill Payne, George Massenburg, John Boylan, Carly Simon, Rob Mounsey, Frank Filipetti & Don Was

That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be
From: Carly Simon

Legend In Your Own Time
From: Anticipation

Anticipation
From: Anticipation

The Right Thing To Do
From: No Secrets

You're So Vain
From: No Secrets

Mockingbird - (with James Taylor)
From: Hotcakes

Haven't Got Time For The Pain
From: Hotcakes

Nobody Does It Better
From: The Spy Who Loved Me Soundtrack

You Belong To Me
From: Boys In The Trees

Jesse
From: Come Upstairs

Coming Around Again
From: Coming Around Again

Give Me All Night
From:Coming Around Again

The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of
From: Coming Around Again

All I Want Is You
From: Coming Around Again

Better Not Tell Her
From: Have You Seen Me Lately

Love Of My Life
From: This Is My Life soundtrack

Like A River - (single version)
From: Letters Never Sent

Let The River Run
From: Working Girl Soundtrack

Touched By The Sun
From: Letters Never Sent

Amity
From: Anywhere But Here Soundtrack
A Standup Woman (Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know)

Carly Simon holds a special place in the hearts of millions of Americans who grew up listening to her haunting love songs, hook-rich anthems, and her lifelong quest for transience. Her dusky alto voice, bell-toned and ringing with intelligence and humanity, is instantly recognizable wherever you hear it – the radio, the movie theater, the market, the hairdresser. She can be singing about anything – her family, her loves, her friends or her obsessions – but you know that with Carly, you’re getting that insight into human truth that music can provide. She was part of the amazingly protean songwriter movement of the early Seventies, when young performers were expected to write their own material, and it had to be great. Carly and the best of her generation came up with now-classic songs that spoke to the largest audience in history, often in the most revealing and soul-baring ways.

In that sense, Carly Simon has never let us down. For three decades she has written as if her essential spirit was on fire. Her great hit records were crafted with a writerly technique, splicing images and emotions together with the candor of a memoirist and the narrative drive of a novelist. The twenty songs in this collection pulsate with a passionate womanly vision that maintains her in the top rank of artists who work in the mystic continuum of the Great American Songbook.

It was never easy for her. Although music filled the houses she grew up in, Carly was the youngest of three daughters, and both her older sisters were musically gifted. Shy, tall and awkward as a teenager, Carly was the Simon sister least expected by her family to shine on her own. But she had an excellent ear, and the Simon household was a giant music box. Her father, the legendary publisher Richard Simon, was an accomplished pianist. Her glamorous mother, Andrea, was a fine singer and an enthusiast for all types of music. Composers like Richard Rodgers came to the family’s parties, where the three sisters were expected to entertain.. Her two maternal uncles, Peter Dean and Fred “Dutch” Heinemann, were both musicians who influenced Carly. (Another uncle, George Simon, was one of the earliest writers on jazz.) As Carly grew up, the popular music of the day – Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Broadway musicals – played constantly on the Simon family’s hi-fi and radios.

Then there was the folk music revival that coincided with Carly’s early adolescence. She began playing the guitar, and listened very carefully to the great voices of the movement – Odetta, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, Peter, Paul and Mary. Her own voice turned out to be a natural instrument that chimed perfectly with the sweet soprano of her older sister Lucy. By the time Carly was 18, the Simon Sisters were singing in folksong coffeehouses like the fabled Mooncusser on Martha’s Vineyard, the island off Cape Cod where her family summered.

The girls sang so beautifully together (and did it with such mesmeric cool) that they were offered a spot on the folk music TV show Hootenanny in 1964. Carly and Lucy performed “Wynken, Blynken and Nod” and "Turn, Turn, Turn" to the general astonishment of the program’s huge national audience, your correspondent included.

While still in college, Carly was signed by the talent managers who handled Bob Dylan. Thinking Carly could be “The Female Dylan,” they had her record with his touring group, The Hawks (who later became The Band). These tapes, now lost, showcased Carly as a folk rocker, performing other people's songs, but Carly had already begun trying to write her own music. For several years in the late Sixties, she worked on the fringes of the New York rock scene, singing with various groups in different settings, trying on various musical personas, until a confluence of imitative styles emerged as one voice.

That moment came in 1970, when Carly signed with Elektra Records. The labels executives had to be talked into letting her record her own songs. Her first album, Carly Simon, was released in 1971and already featured some of Carly’s stylistic trademarks – lovely melodies, gently teasing lyrics, clever expressions of passion and love. Carly and her young band went on the road to support her album and successful first single, “That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be,” whose ironic take on conventional society’s expectations for young women echoed the nascent movement for the rights of women.

Touring America, opening for established acts, Carly learned to communicate with larger audiences. Friendships with established songwriters like Cat Stevens and Kris Kristofferson sharpened her own skills and inspired new songs, such as "Anticipation," which was dedicated to the latter. By 1972, Carly’s second album, Anticipation, recorded in London, was hailed by Rolling Stone as one of the best records of the year.

Another track recorded in London that year guaranteed Carly Simon her seat in the pantheon of rock. A year earlier, she had written a song called “Ballad Of A Vain Man” on her aunt’s old piano in her apartment on 35th Street in New York. Working with producer Richard Perry at Trident Studios in London, she went through three drummers and hundreds of takes trying to get the song right. One night Carly was working on the vocal tracks with singer Harry Nilsson when Mick Jagger dropped by the session. Mick joined in on the song’s choruses, and Harry graciously bowed out after expressing the opinion that she and Mick were doing fine on their own. After the track was already mastered, Carly re-titled the song “You’re So Vain.”

Released as the first single from Carly’s No Secrets album in late 1972, “You’re So Vain” was an immediate sensation. The record spent three weeks at #1 on Billboard’s singles chart, while No Secrets was the top-selling album in America for five weeks in early 1973. (Mick Jagger’s vocal with Carly on “You’re So Vain” was – and remains to this day – un-credited.) Over the years, many candidates have been proposed for whom “You’re So Vain” was written about, but Carly has kept her inspiration to herself. Her only comment to date: “Those who think they know, don’t.”

Another song on No Secrets, “The Right Thing To Do,” was deliberatly about someone in particular. . One night in 1972 Carly had attended a New York concert by James Taylor in Carnegie Hall. Carly went backstage to say hello during the intermission, and the two singers had their date later that night. They were wed within a year, and for almost a decade, lived in a celebrity marriage whose ins and outs Carly would chronicle in her best-selling albums of the Seventies.,.

This was the beginning of Carly’s heroic run of hit records – twelve singles and ten albums in the Billboard Top Forty. “Mockingbird,” recorded with her husband James, guitarist Robbie Robertson, Dr. John, and an all-star band of L.A. musicians, was a Top Ten record in 1974 and the first single on Hotcakes, the hit album that also featured one of Carly’s most enduring songs, “Haven’t Got Time For The Pain,” which she wrote with her longtime collaborator Jacob Brackman.

In the mid-Seventies, Carly stopped performing on the regularly, and her natural shyness led her to turn down starring roles in several films. Instead Carly devoted her time to her daughter, Sally, born in 1974. In 1977 she emerged from retirement to record “Nobody Does It Better” for the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. (This is the only song in this set on which Carly does not have a composer’s credit.) That same year she dashed off the lyric to the great ballad “You Belong To Me” with Michael McDonald, then the lead singer of the San Francisco band The Doobie Brothers, to meet a deadline for a Doobies recording session. Carly’s own version, backed by the legendary New York session ensemble known as Stuff, was released on her Boys In The Trees album in 1978, which was Carly’s return to recording and touring after her first foray into motherhood. A decade’s prodigious output of original songs climaxed in 1980 with “Jesse,” a country-rock masterpiece that featured backing vocals by James Taylor, as well as daughter Sally’s first appearance on record.

During the early 1980s, Carly concentrated on raising her second child, Ben Taylor, and began working with Clive Davis’s Arista Records, a collaboration that produced a string of superb records and some of her finest mature work. Four tracks on this compilation come from a single album, Coming Around Again, released in 1987. The title song, written for the soundtrack to the film Heartburn. “Give Me All Night” and “All I Want Is You” are two of her sexiest and most heartfelt songs of desire. And “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of,” full of worldly wisdom and savoir-faire, is one of the best songs ever written about, as Carly dryly puts it, “trying to push this big rock called marriage up the hill.”

Carly’s movie work continued with “Let The River Run” for the film Working Girl, which won an Oscar for Carly as Best Original Song, and “Love Of My Life” for This Is My Life. She also wrote an opera, Romulus Hunt, and recorded two splendid albums of classic songs, including Torch and My Romance. “Better Not Tell Her,” one of the best (and most subversive) songs ever written about affairs of the heart, was the lead track on her 1990 album, Have You Seen Me Lately?

One of Carly Simon’s great strengths as a songwriter is her reportorial skill. In 1994 she lost two of the most important women in her life, and the last three songs in this set form an emotional suite of ballads about mothers and daughters, and the impenetrable love that binds them. The first two come from the album "Letters Never Sent". Carly wrote “Like A River” for her mother, Andrea Simon, and “Touched By The Sun” for a close friend and mentor who died of cancer. Carly was herself diagnosed with breast cancer soon afterward, but kept on creating through debilitating bouts of surgery and chemotherapy. She wrote children's books for Doubleday, scored animated features for Disney and recorded Film Noir, an ultra-cool album of songs from hard-boiled crime films of the 1940's. With fighting of a lioness, she emerged from ordeal cancer-free, and still working to support the legions of people dependent on her generosity.

The final song in this set, “Amity,” is a 1999 duet between Carly and her daughter Sally, written for the film Anywhere But Here and recorded on Martha’s Vineyard, where Carly makes now her principal home. Carly’s burnished singing contrasts nicely with the purity of Sally’s sweet voice, which carries distant but unmistakable echoes of the Taylor family’s distinctive Carolina vocal timbre.

Apart from the sheer musicality and undeniable star power of this sampling of Carly Simon’s songs, what remains for me is her acute and critical intelligence, and an almost therapeutic ability to conjure empathy and compassion via the popular ballad. “Take a look around now,” she sings. “Take a new picture.” This is unusually good advice, from a singer and writer who reminds us that hard times give us an opportunity for growth.

“Experience teaches wisdom,” Bob Marley used to say, and Carly tries to use her own life’s trials and triumphs to illuminate our own. Her music has always had this trick of making me think about my own struggles, using hers as a template on which I can project my own reflections on the experiences that mark our lives. I realised a long time ago, that Carly’s great songs will live on, as long as they remain in the keeping of those that understand their entire value, their deepest meaning, and the transcendental distinctions of her powerfully evocative works of art.