We've Only Just Begun & Let's Spend The Night


aec.ccl7690.2 4/26/05 New

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    We've Only Just Begun & Let's Spend The Night Collectables

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Review Text French pop singer Claudine Longet was never known for her strong vocals. A pretty face, Andy Williams' wife, and later a marksman of deadly skill, but never a great singer. These two albums serve as proof of that. We've Only Just Begun (1969) features Longet's fragile wisp of a voice trailing gently through some of the biggest soft pop hits of then-recent vintage as well as a few obscure tracks. The musical backing is cotton-candy sweet, overflowing with strings, gently strummed guitars, and waves of backing vocals in order to give listeners something other than her voice to focus all their attention on. Strangely, it all adds up into a pleasurable listening experience -- a little ironic but still better than it has any right to be. Longet's stilted phrasing and inability to emote even a little give the record an otherworldly feel that elevates the proceedings a notch above the easy listening norm. For some reason, she sounds best on uptempo tracks like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Make It With You," and Donovan's obscure "Electric Moon" -- her take on Bobby Goldsboro's "Broomstick Cowboy" is almost exciting. The ballads are decent enough, though she proves herself to be no Karen Carpenter on "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "We've Only Just Begun." Where the album falls apart is on tracks like "Cry Me a River" and "What Have They Done to My Song, Ma," where they take an overly cutesy novelty approach. Nobody really needs to hear a riverboat jazz version of "Cry Me a River." Ever. Still, if you skip that song the record is quite enjoyable. So is the album it is paired with on this 2005 release from Collectables. On Let's Spend the Night Together (1972), she takes a slightly hipper approach both in the song selections (the Beach Boys' "God Only Knows," Neil Young's "Birds," Leonard Cohen's "Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye") and in the arrangements, which are heavy on the acoustic guitars and light on the strings and backing vocals. Longet still sings like a French mannequin, but the surroundings give her more of a chance to show a touch of emotion -- and she does here and there, especially on "God Only Knows" and Kris Kristofferson's "When I Loved Him." Her relaxed bongos-and-slide-guitar version of "Let's Spend the Night Together" is a real easy pop gem; it's hard to believe it hasn't shown up on more compilations and it's also hard to believe anyone could resist her request. No one is going to mistake her for an important artist, but this record and We've Only Just Begun show that she really is no joke, either. ~ Tim Sendra

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. (They Long to Be) Close to You - 3:11
  2. 2. Peace Will Come According to Plan - 3:16
  3. 3. Broomstick Cowboy - 3:59
  4. 4. Long Long Time - 3:23
  5. 5. We've Only Just Begun - 3:05
  6. 6. I'll Be There - 3:45
  7. 7. Ain't No Mountain High Enough - 4:33
  8. 8. What Have They Done to My Song, Ma - 3:49
  9. 9. Cry Me a River - 4:41
  10. 10. Make It With You - 4:34
  11. 11. Electric Moon - 4:15
  12. 12. Prologue/While You're Sleeping - 3:27
  13. 13. God Only Knows - 4:33
  14. 14. Every Night - 3:38
  15. 15. Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye - 3:02
  16. 16. Wake Up to Me Gentle - 3:38
  17. 17. Jealous Guy/Don't Let Me Down - 4:40
  18. 18. When I Loved Him - 4:05
  19. 19. Birds - 3:04
  20. 20. Remember the Good - 3:09
  21. 21. Sleep Song - 3:53
  22. 22. Let's Spend the Night Together - 4:52
  23. 23. Epilogue/While You're Sleeping - 3:27

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