Album Review: Songs From the Trees: A Musical Memoir Collection (Elektra/Rhino) Release date: November 20, 2015 – Carly Simon
By Cathy Rockwell
Longtime fans of Carly Simon are often able to visualize where they were or what they were doing when they first heard one of her many classic hits such as “Anticipation,” “You Belong to Me,” “Nobody Does it Better,” or “You’re So Vain (duet with Mick Jagger).” Whether a diehard fan or not, since the Bronx-born singer started with her older sister Lucy as the Simon Sisters and performed in Greenwich Village in the early 1960s, Simon has been known as being one of the most talented and well-known singer-songwriters of her generation and now of all time.
Carly Simon is the youngest child in an upper-class New York family. Simon’s father Richard Simon co-founded the Simon & Schuster publishing company. As she started her music career early with her sister Lucy as part of The Simon Sisters, her solo debut album did not happen until February 1971 which was simply self-titled, Carly Simon. In 1972, Simon married singer-songwriter, James Taylor.
She has won countless awards for her impeccable work. Simon sang the theme song to the James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, which earned her a gold Top Ten hit. In April 1978 she released her seventh album, Boys in the Trees that resulted in another Top Ten hit “You Belong to Me” and a Top 40 duet cover of “Devoted to You” with James Taylor. Simon’s 1987 album Coming Around Again went Platinum and the title song “Coming Around Again” was featured in the 1986 film Heartburn. In 1988, Simon’s “Let the River Run” from the film Working Girl earned her a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe and an Oscar.
Her most successful musical period came between 1972 and 1978 when she was married to James Taylor. Although the former couple no longer speak, Simon has remained close friends with his brother Livingston for decades. Simon has been married one other time and has been engaged two other times.
In 1998, she had a double-mastectomy and chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer. Although she had had a lump in her breast for several years, doctors had advised against surgery. After her longtime friend Linda McCartney died of the disease, however, feeling devastated and shaken from her loss, she underwent the procedure.
The new album is a 31-song double-disc musical memoir of the singer/songwriter’s incredible career. It would be a difficult task to sum up Simon’s musical journey and adventures in life in just one album, but this album does just that. What is quite brilliant is Simon’s official memoir book, Boys in the Trees was released four days following the album release. It serves as the perfect companion for fans to learn more about the singer/songwriter’s life – from her childhood to multi-award-winning artist.
Songs on the double-disc album have been remastered and sound flawless. It is like listening to the songs for the first time again. There is an emotional and heart-felt gem on the album’s bonus tracks. “I Can’t Thank You Enough” – the song is a duet with her son, Ben Taylor, who she had with famous musician James Taylor.
Finally, “Showdown” is a previously unreleased song that was originally recorded during her 1978 Boys In the Trees sessions. It is a traditional Simon classic.
Simon’s sophisticated songwriting has actually become more creative throughout her career. She continues to be an inspiration and gains new fans all over the world for her ongoing work. Her music has been categorized as folk, pop, soft rock and adult contemporary.
Whatever way you may want to describe her music, she will always remain an American music icon, a singer/songwriter, an advocate, a musician, and a survivor. She remains true to her roots and doesn’t change her style but evolves which is truly amazing in the music world today. The album is a perfect combination of her many popular songs and a stellar collection of hits.
Disc One: Boys In The Trees, Winken’, Blinkin’ And Nod – The Simon Sisters, Orpheus, Older Sister, It Was So Easy, Embrace Me, You Child, Hello Big Man, Two Hot Girls (On A Hot Summer Night), It Happens Everyday, His Friends Are More Than Fond Of Robin, I’m All It Takes To Make You Happy, That’s The Way I’ve Always Heard It Should Be, I’ve Got To Have You, Anticipation, Legend In Your Own Time, Three Days
Disc Two: Julie Through The Glass, We Have No Secrets, You’re So Vain, Mind On My Man, Mockingbird, After The Storm, Haunting, In Times When My Head, You Belong To Me, We’re So Close, From The Heart, Come Upstairs, The Right Thing To Do
Bonus Selections: Showdown, I Can’t Thank You Enough
Photo copyright (Album): Rhino Entertainment
Photo copyright (Simon & Taylor): Rolling Stone