Listen – Janis Ian – Go’Way Little Girl – MP3
I hope the dawning of a new week finds you well.
My current batch of struggles continues unabated, so I figured since the blogging isn’t contributing to the trouble, and in fact works wonderfully as a mental health preservative, the show – as they say – must go on.
Some years back, whoever happened to be reissuing the Verve records catalog put out a 2CD set that contained the four albums that Janis Ian had recorded for that label as a teenager.
Like most folks, all I was familiar with was her 1973 Top Ten record ‘At Seventeen’, one of the most depressing (yet defiant) records ever committed to vinyl. At some point in the 80s I became aware that this had not in fact been her first hit, having made the charts in 1967 with ‘Society’s Child’ (which had actually been recorded in 1965, and released three separate times before becoming a hit. I first heard that tune on a weird sampler of Mercury/MGM/Verve 60s stuff that included Keith, the Sir Douglas Quintet and Spanky and Our Gang.
Anyway, back when the Verve comp came out, it got all kinds of wonderful reviews, all indicating that Janis Ian’s catalog was both deep and consistently interesting. Naturally, rube that I am, I neglected to get a copy, and regretted it ever since.
Not too long ago I was out digging the market du fleas, and happened upon Ian’s eponymous first LP for Verve, which contained ‘Society’s Child’.
Man, what a good record.
Ian was only in her mid-teens when she recorded her first album, and was fortunate enough to be working with the man who built the sound of the Shangri Las, George ‘Shadow’ Morton. Where ‘Janis Ian’ might have been just another earnest exercise in folkie asceticism, Morton and Ian laid on just enough melodrama, mixed in with a healthy dose of mid-decade sonic flavour, i.e. ringing electric guitars, fuzz, echo and bits and pieces of psychedelic wonderfulness.
Unlike the vast majority of LPs that I buy, I actually recorded the entire ‘Janis Ian’ LP, and I’m glad I did. It’s a lost classic that was perhaps too stylistically broad (and maybe just a touch too dark coming from a 15 year old) to make the impact it deserved to.
The track I bring you today, ‘Go ‘Way Little Girl’ sounds like an instrumental outtake from some Laurel Canyon folk rock session, with vocals by a precocious, angry New York poetess. There are hints of Dylan at the fringes, but not too much.
Very groovy indeed.
I hope you dig it, and if I can keep my shit from unraveling in mid-week I’ll be back later in the week with some more coolness.