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Originally released in 1990 and 1994, respectively, the music found on this twin-cd set is a good representation of American adult radio listening of the time. Though not exactly pop music of the day Simon’s classy vocals and involved arrangements demonstrate the power of her work (both vocally and lyrically) as the lady and those in tow compliment one another.
Simon’s quality vocals ensure the listener is in for an easy, if at times a less than thrilling ride. With some of the negativity out of the way I now offer the positives. First you have the album, Have You Seen Me Lately? With the excellent, impassioned “Better Not Tell” the opener the listener is served a slice of vintage Carly Simon! Followed by the tender, piano warmed likewise impressive “Didn’t I” as things start away good. Only from then on the album tends to be patchy. You could argue I am guilty of setting her too high a benchmark, then again its one Simon herself set a few years earlier. “Life Is Eternal” like most songs on the album it comes with a full production, but it rises above this. And with fleeting moments of magic littered less liberally I found myself struggling to pick out genuine highlights. Albeit as just noted there is snatches of her incredible vocals occasionally captured on “Don’t Wrap It Up” and sombre “We Just Got Here” plus stripped down, interestingly worded “It’s Not Like Him”. All of which are well worth a closer listen.
Letters Never Sent is a mixture of joy and sadness as she speaks of losing her mother, and the aftermath on moving ballad “Like A River”. “Touched By The Sun” is a dramatic affair, likewise can be said of the interesting and varied production given to “Halfway ‘Round The World”. Warmed in harmony vocals, harmonica (Taj Mahal) and synthesiser plus guitar and percussion it is a royal mix. “The Reason” focuses more on her wonderful, pure vocals as she enjoys some cheery harmony vocals, and thankfully a more sympathetic production than on some songs. As her vocals are allowed more room to breathe.
On the tender side Simon is joined by Andreas Vollenweider on “Davy” and when Simon performs the beautiful, acoustic tune “I’d Rather It Was You”. Nestled among it all is a cameo, stripped down piece performed by her son Ben Taylor via “Time Works On All The Wild Young Men”. If only the record contained more of Taylor, and better still Simon and him sing something together.
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