I come to you this week with something especially groovy, and in the words of Slim Gaillard, “mellow as a cello’.
I always knew of Kenny Rankin as a kind of pop/jazz singer, but it was only a few years ago that someone hepped me to his 1967 debut album ‘Mind Dusters’.
Though Rankin had done some work as a songwriter and pop singer prior to ‘Mind Dusters’, his 1967 album is a really nice collection of the kind of folk/jazz/pop fusion (with a tiny bit of period specific psych touches) that was making the rounds back in the day.
The track I bring you today is a song that I knew for years, but had no idea was a Kenny Rankin original.
‘Peaceful’ was first recorded on ‘Mind Dusters’ but soon became a minor pop standard of sorts, being covered by Bobbie Gentry, Georgie Fame (who had a UK hit with it in 1968) and the Friends of Distinction, and then a few years later by Helen Reddy, who had her third US hit (after ‘I Don’t Know How To Love Him’ and ‘I Am Woman’) with the song.
Rankin’s version moves along at a brisk pace, with orchestra backing and a sitar in the chorus. The song has especially lovely chord changes, and his singing is great.
Rankin’s 1969 LP ‘Family’ is also excellent, continuing in a similar vein with covers of the Beatles, Buffalo Springfield and Bert Jansch.
I hope you dig the sounds, and I’ll see you all next week.
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