Listen – Claudine Longet – Jealous Guy / Don’t Let Me Down – MP3
I hope the completion of another week under the lash finds you well, or at least well enough to appreciate something on the mellow side.
I have to begin by saying that I wouldn’t have heard this track if it wasn’t for my man Alejandro over at La Colmena de Humo. A while back he sent me an MP3 of today’s selection thinking (correctly) that I’d dig it, and (naturally) I did.
While I would say that I was certainly aware of Claudine Longet, as actress (‘The Party’), personality (married to Andy Williams and involved in a hugely scandalous shooting in the 70s) and even singer (her records are big faves the Easy crowd), I would also say that none of those things would have spurred me on to investigate her any further, especially by buying any of her records.
Before I heard today’s selection, my impression of her (which I still feel is largely correct) was as a very pretty, marginally talented chanteuse who got as far as she did in show business via a combination of her good looks, marriage to one of the bigger stars of the 60s (Williams) and her very essence as a representative of a certain very specific, very groovy end of the zeitgeist, that being the sexy French girl singer end, inhabited by the likes of France Gall and in a much more musically substantial way, Francoise Hardy.
There’s just something very fresh, attractive, and international jet-set-y about the idea of a beautiful Gallic waif, whispering heavily accented sweet nothings into our ears, and Claudine Longet fit that mold as well as anybody.
That all said, when Alejandro sent me the recording in question, my regard for his superior taste in music overpowered any suspicions I might have had about Miss Longet and I gave it a listen.
Good thing too, because much to my surprise, her 1972 medley of John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’ and the Beatles’ ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ (though there’s barely enough of the latter sewn into the lining of the former to constitute a full-fledged medley) was surprisingly good.
Certainly it might take some of you a moment or two to adjust to the odd juxtaposition of Lennon’s lyrics and Longet’s whispery, vaguely Fudd-like delivery (like ‘I began to lose con-twowww…’), but you soon find yourself overpowered by the charm of the enterprise. The arrangement (laid down by a set of crack LA and Nashville sessioners) is quite good (I don’t know that I’ve ever heard a synthesizer employed more subtly), and the overall effect is to remind you what a great song ‘Jealous Guy’ is.
There are a number of excellent interpretations (I’m partial to Donny Hathaway’s), and Claudine Longet’s ought to be near the top of the list.
I hope you dig it too, and I’ll be back on Monday.