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Never Been Gone
Format: Audio CDChange
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2009
This album is, largely, good. I've been a Carly fan since her first album in 1971. Yes, her voice isn't as strong as it once was, but, overall at 64, it's damn good! The two major disappointments here are "It Happens Everyday" and "You're So Vain," which are both terribly flawed by hokey background vocals by Carly and others. In "Everyday," that happens to be Carly screeching something about girls packing their suitcases to live in friends' SoHo apartments. It's like a fingernail on a chalkboard. And her son's hokey and poor arrangement, with background vocals repeating "give it to the girls" is laughable and, together, these flaws ruin a song I believe is one of Carly's best from "Hello Big Man." The other real disappointment is "You're So Vain," again flawed by a hokey background vocal about "I need more cow milk." Just hokey, cheap and sounding like it was recorded in a garage. Come on, Ben and Carly, you can do much, much better! Because Carly has distinguished herself from her contemporaries and the motley crew of sleazy songstresses of today, I guess we expect more from her, which may be unfair.

The new songs are good, "Ain't No Freedom" and "Songbird." I wonder when "Ain't" was wrtten. The first part of "Songbird" is obviously a demo recording from '70 or '71, and the second part is Carly recording anew. It works well. I think the two best cuts are "Never Been Gone," and "Let the River Run." Both are beautiful. Carly's voice sounds strong and the melodies are beautiful. "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be" and "Anticipation" are both very good and, IMHO, more upbeat than the orginals, though I love the originals. All in all a good album, flawed by a couple of really hokey, stupid arrangements, that stick out like sore thumbs and cast a negative influence on the entire album. Too bad, because otherwise this could have been a four-star or even five-star IMHO. Looking forward to some new Carly material which, I hope, isn't flawed by any future hokey arrangement.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
I have never written a review here, but have read my fair share. In my opinion, this is one of carly's best work in years. Her vocals sincere, moving and heartfelt. The influence of her son Ben, probably made for some of the playful touchs here and there. I have listened to Carly ALOT, for more years than I care to say. Let's just say from day one. She shines here and sounds like she really enjoyed this labor of love. 5 stars. Buy it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2010
I agree with the amateurish sound review, but I love the fact that the album sounds as if you had invited Carly and children home and Ben grabs the guitar after dinner. Very intimate sound, great surprising rearrangements. Careful, this review comes from a guy that prefers the bonus Acoustic tracks on the "Carly Simon - A Moonlight Serenade On The Queen Mary II" with just the guitar player and her daughter, more than the actual concert.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2009
We were lucky to see Carly perform many of the songs from this new album in New York at Lincoln Center, Tuesday night, as part of the Grammy Museum Series. Each song was a GEM! No one wanted the evening to end! Beginning with "Let The River Run" after which she received a standing ovation and ending with an oh so beautiful version of "Coming Around Again." Was there ever another way? There were many tears in the eyes of the audience when she began to sing Coming Around Again--what a song--this version is very emotional and Carly gave it a poignancy that only years and living life can bring.

Another amazing song--actually an INCREDIBLE performance--- was "You Belong To Me"... Carly was joined by John Forte (of the Fugees) on this and together the chemistry was fantastic! A whole new way of looking at this great song! Carly performed this with John Forte on the album and on the Today show yesterday.

The musicians were fabulous--you knew that as soon as they began playing--the sound was GORGEOUS-- can't think of a better word--These musicians are also with her on the album, Peter Calo, Teese Gohl, David Saw, D.J. Logic. What a combination--Peter and Teese have been with Carly on many of her great albums and concerts(which we would love to have more of!)

Part of the proceeds of this album go to the Carly Simon Music Initiative--a collaboration with the Berklee School of Music. The group concentrates on bringing the therapeutic benefits of music into the community.

Great listening on this album-- a whole new way of looking at some of Carly's favorite hits. Carly is a fascinating individual who brings intelligence to music and lyrics--this is no exception!
Thank you Carly!
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2009
What is about age that softens things for so many of us? Don't be a hater and please take the chance and explore these new interpretations of these old hits from this classic artist. The sadness is gone from "It Happen's Everyday', the anger from "You're So Vain', but there is still lot's of the fun. Several of these performances even surpass the orginals....."Let the River Run", the title track, and the re-working "Boys in the Tree's will have Joni Mitchell feeling she is missing a cut from 'Court and Spark'. One new song "No Freedom" comes off like a fascinating Beatles 'Sargent Pepper' time-warp. "Songbird' and the merging of the old with the new is the collection's one big miss. A great Carly song but she should have just re-recorded it in today's voice, which is incidentally, still pretty good. It is clear Simon is still a very vital, relevant musician and like all great artist's, always taking chances.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
I've loved Carly Simon's music since the beginning of her career. Every time she puts out a CD (record) she surprises in many ways. Redoing some of her old classics in new fresh arrangements is fun...although I do like most of the originals. I think the standouts on this CD are Boys in the trees, That's the way I've always heard it should be, You belong to me, ain't no freedom, Never been gone, Let the river run, and The right thing to do. It may take time to get used to her deeper voice, but it does sound nice. It is warm, and rich. Carly is an artist and likes to experiment with different sounds, and styles and that's what makes her the best. Now going on an indie label she is headed in a new direction. We can only hope for more wonderful music from her.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2009
When I first heard she was rerecording her hits I was a little disappointed. Did we really need another version of Your so Vain? Most of these tracks are on 2 or 3 Carly albums already. But it's a lot more enjoyable than I expected. The highlights are You Belong To Me, Anticapation and YSV. They sound different enough to warrant the rerecordings. She is not going to make any new fans, but for old ones like me, this is a real treat. Scary cd cover for such a beautiful singer.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2009
As of this writing, Carly Simon is 64, and has Never sounded better. Now, my previous reviews of her albums reveal that I've had a vicarious crush on her for 35 years, and am NOT an unbiased reviewer. Still...

...What Carly has given us is a reworking of 10 of her previous songs, and two new ones. Covers? Yeah, I guess so, but these are complete new arrangements. You CAN tell old from new. Instantly. Guess what? Some of these renderings actually sound BETTER than the originals. Of course, Carly has had a lot of years to refine her art, and to decide just what she wants to convey. The two BIG HITS..."Anticipation" and "You're So Vain"...naturally had to be included, and they are. But all of them are like a first-time meeting, which I guess is the case.

All-in-all, GREAT album!! If one or two of my personal favorites didn't make the cut, so what? (Personally, I would have enjoyed "Better Not Tell Her"). The sound/engineering is fantastic. If you're a Carly fan, of course this is a must. If not, you might want to grab "Reflections" along with it. Carly, I love you. Ten stars, at least!!!

Yeah, yeah, I know...the cover is yuck, especially for the girl on "Boys in the Trees" and "Hotcakes"...and she's STILL HOT!! The music is ten stars, though...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 7, 2012
just with her name and talent, how can she go wrong., that said, i am a huge carly fan, i own all of her cds, on records, cassettes, and cd, with spoiled girl and hello big man being my absolute favorites, this one is a twist on older well know carly simon songs. after the 3rd listen i was hooked, it brought back memories from hearing them the first time, now just more upbeated.. carly, i have said it before and i will say it again, you are timeless!!!!!!!!! you are fabulous!!!!!!, you can not go wrong with any of your albums.. never been gone reinvents itself.. keep up the good work, looking forward to many many more cds.. thank you kenny p
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2009
I like the gentle rhythm--it works for the place in life that I find myself these days. I like songs in which I can hear the words clearly enough to sing along, have the warm comfort of familiarity, and that don't overwhelm me with noise and words that feel like punches! NBG does this perfectly.
I still love it when Carly does background vocals--she harmonizes so well with her own voice! The easy background of Ben and David also work well with these songs. The throaty and mellow pitch of her voice is the amber heat of aged brandy. She sounds like she is having fun doing this. The skill to take well known songs and re-invent them is the mark of real talent. Carly Simon continues to create amazing music. NBG is a winner with me.
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