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Torch

4.6 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 15, 2008
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Carly harkens back to classic torch songs for this intense album.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 15, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rhino Flashback
  • ASIN: B001AUKUSQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,882 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Gary F. Taylor HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
At first glance Carly Simon would seem an unlikely talent for a collection of 20th Century pop classics--her unique vocals, that mix the quality of speech with music, would seem at odds with the strictness of the material. But instead of approaching the music with the full orchestrations of Bette Midler or Linda Ronstadt, she offers a stripped down interpretation, and the resulting music has the feel of a smoky, almost-empty nightclub, where the singer sits on a stool surrounded by a bare-bones band and sings not for you, but very powerfully for herself.

1981's TORCH is an incredible recording. Opening with "Blue on Blue" and continuing through such classics as "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good," "Body and Soul," and "Hurt," Simon demonstrates a range of emotion that transcends her more typical off-the-cuff sound, a combination of fire and ice that recalls the great jazz singers of the 1940s and 1950s but which somehow never sounds less than absolutely contemporary. This is classic torch at its slit-your-wrists best, a bonfire of dying emotions.

It is impossible to select a favorite from the material Simon offers on this recording, but if I were pressed, I would likely pick the closing "Not a Day Goes By"--curiously, the only greatly then-contemporary piece in the collection, written by Broadway's Stephen Sondheim for the play MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG. Again, Simon and Sondheim are not a combination that you would think would work... but with this recording Simon makes it her own, and it is difficult to imagine any other singer who could best her. Strongly recommended.

GFT, Amazon Reviewer
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Format: Audio CD
Carly Simon released this tour de force as she was going through her public divorce with James Taylor. Needless to say things were not going her way at this time, and if you can not feel the pain in her soul from the recordings on this album, you have no emotion!

I remember first listening to this on vinyl back in the late 70's when it was first released, on a snowy night, alone at the then very deserted off season Jersey Shore. If I could get through a listen under those conditions, anyone can.

Her gut renching read of "Body and Soul", "I Got It Bad", "Hurt" and others give early Blueswomen (Lady Day, Ethel Waters and the like) a run for their money.

The mosy haunting track to me is "What Shall You Do", that song had me yearning to call child protective agencies.

This album is that haunting.
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Format: Audio CD
If I had to choose items to take on a deserted island. . .this recording would be at the top of my list. The songs from "Torch" got me through most of my college years, and more often than not, brought much comfort for hard times. Every single cut deserves attention, beginning with the haunting "Blue of Blue." It starts with a soulful riff on sax, and Carly responds in kind. This is the epitome of the classic torch song . . "So kick me. . .I won't feel a thing." The second cut is "I'll Be Around" a song from the 30s that again exemplifies what "Torch" is all about. . . the agony of unrequieted love. Third comes one of Duke Ellington's signature pieces, "I've Got It Bad and That Ain't Good." Rarely has a pop singer shown the versatility that Carly shows here. Not only does she feel the "blues" inherent in this classic, she makes the listener feel it to. Next is a Hoagy Carmichael song "I Get Along Without You Very Well" with its tongue-in-cheek/heart-on-sleeve lyrics. The beat is gently but driving. . a very attractive "modernization" of this 40s tune. From the 1920s comes "Body and Soul", one of the greatest standards ever written. Her version is dramatic without becoming maudlin, a sheer joy for those who love sad songs! The next is a song from the 50s. "Hurt" tells it like it is. And with Carly's voice, she, unlike other singers who have revived songs of this era, lets you hear the hurt in her rendition. "From the Heart" is pure Carly, "One of us slipped last night and said I love you in the middle of the madness between the dark and the light." There is no wonder who this song is referring to.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
The closing song on Torch is Sondheim's Not A Day Goes By - at the time a relatively new song which, in some ways, puts pay to the notion of Torch as an album of 'standards'. When it was released, Torch was something quite new - an album which mined the past (and the present) for the passion and heartache Simon was clearly experiencing as she recorded the songs here, but which was orchestrated with elegant modernity. This modernity is perfectly expressed in Hoagy Carmichael's I Get Along Without You Very Well which is underlined by the use of a sythesizer adding a suitable sense of the sombre. Simon sings the song straight and without theatrics but with plenty of passion. Torch is a more than suitable tittle for this album - Simon has never sung with as much passion or fluidity and she seems to be able to do anything she wants with her voice, none of those off key moments that have crept into her latter day singing. Its easy to imagine her in the studio giving it her all and then some. Perhaps Simon's phrasing is not as masterful as on the later album, My Romance, but that is a tame and almost too tasteful outing by comparion with Torch.
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