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Two Fine Albums
on 6 August 2002
This cd consists of two first rate albums by New York hustler and three octave angel Harry Nilsson. "Harry" may be his finest album opening with the deliciously sweet (but strangely not cloying) "Puppy Song" written at Paul McCartney's request for Mary Hopkin and later covered by David Cassidy. The album's roots lie nearer to vaudeville and ragtime rather than, say more mainstream rock'n'roll - this was the age of Sgt Pepper after all and Nilsson was certainly under the Beatle spell covering "Mother Nature's Son" with a perhaps overrespectful fidelity. McCartney's "For No-One" clearly inspired the delightful "Mournin' Glory Story" an unsentimental, sympathetic tale of homelessness. Other highlights include the lilting "Maybe" and the truly beautiful "I Guess The Lord Must Be In New York City" written for "Midnight Cowboy" but passed over in favour of "Everybody's Talkin" from the "Aerial Ballet" album.
The second part of the CD consists of "Nilsson Sings Newman" an unselfish tribute from one great songwriter to another. "Cowboy" sung acapella (with only wind sound effects) is positively stunning whilst "Caroline", written especially for this album highlights Nilsson's genius for multitracking his own voice. "Vine Street", previously performed by Van Dyke Parks opens the album in style and is soon followed by the unbearably poignant "Love Story" each track is a gem but the prize must surely go to a delicate version of "So Long Dad" a story of a father's loneliness and a son's selfishness.
This CD will be a positive joy to those who love strong melody allied to wit and intelligence carried off with a light touch. Treat yourself.