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(28:07, Fruits de Mer Records)
I confess I laughed when I saw this described as being a 14” release, but that is because what we have here is a double vinyl EP of five songs lasting some 28 minutes. As one expects from this label, what we have here are modern versions of lost gems and classics, and here we are treated to “Mr Fantasy” (originally by Traffic), “I Talk To The Wind” (King Crimson), “Sun Goes Down” (Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich), “Sympathy” (Rare Bird) and “Dreams” (Tonton Macoute). Some very well-known numbers on here, but I was astounded to see a new version of “Sympathy”. The very first time I heard that song, many many years ago, I put it on repeat and was just blown away by its simplicity, its lyrics an its grandeur, and I confess I never thought I would hear a version which could ever do it justice. However, here it commences with just Jacqueline with a small amount for reverb for company, with non-one else making their presence felt until the chorus when a warm and delicate bass underpins the voice. The guitar finally makes its presence felt with shimmering picking, and the Hammond Organ and drums come in for the second verse. It is dynamic, it is carefully arranged, and pays homage to the original while never trying to be a copy, and it simply blew me away. So much so that I found it somewhat hard to play the other songs on this release, but I need to also make a very special mention for “I Talk To The Wind” which takes a classic song and yet again imbues it with new life. I hope a copy of this gets to Ian McDonald, as I am sure he will thoroughly enjoy what has happened to a song which first appeared some 50 years ago. Yet another absolutely essential release from Fruits de Mer.
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