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
After waiting a year and a half for Carly's new Album,I was very dissapointed with "Torch." I wanted to hear some good old rock and roll,or the great ballads Carly has written over the years. I was still a young Man.After playing this new record,I knew this was something special.The only original song on the CD from Carly is "From the heart." Carly also wrote additional lyrics to "Blue of Blue," and"What shall we do the the Child." This is the first record Carly was high lighted as a singer,not a songwriter,and she comes out a winner.Even Rolling Stone Magazine gave this album a 5 star reveiw."Blue of Blue," with David Sanborn on Alto sax, is a classic. What a fantastic openning number to start this record."I'll be around," a 1942 song by Alec Wilder sounds so much like a new song,this would have been a great single.I remember seeing "Hurt" on one of the video stations. Carly lets it all out.When Carly toured in 1980 for her "Come up Stairs Album,I saw her concert.It was a bad day for Carly,and the last time she performed live untill 1987.She closed the show with "Body and Soul," from this CD. This tape has Carly's Body and Soul in every number.Look for Carly's new CD,"Bedroom Tapes,"I already pre-ordered the tape on Amazon.com.I have a feeling this one's going to be the best Carly has ever recorded
Carly Simon is not only a talented/multi-awardee singer but a very prolific songwriter as well. My first Carly Simon album was "The Best Of Carly Simon" which features her first solo hit "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be. I bought "Torch" in an album format when it first came out in the 80's and upgraded it to a CD just a few years back. It has a fabulous collection of tear-jerking torch songs that only Carly can deliver passionately and coming from the heart, such as, "Body and Soul," "I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good," "Spring Is Here," and "I Get Along Without You Very Well." It also includes her very own composition, "From The Heart" (about the break-up of her marriage with JT).
Guests include two of the finest musicians in the jazz scene, David Sanborn and Lee Ritenour (whom I've watched performed at the Universal Amphitheatre in the 90's). This is Carly's first attempt to record standards and she did a great job! Her powerful and husky voice that's distinctively her own makes her style so unique.
Highly recommended, give a listen to Carly Simon, the torch singer of today!
Long before what's-her-name...Linda something...did that album with Nelson Riddle and everyone from Toni Tenille to Pia Zadora rushed out to make a standards album, Carly did it first and better. This is the second album in the Mike Mainieri trilogy, and a total departure for Carly. "Torch" was recorded after the break-up of her marriage to James Taylor, and every song is about unrequited love and longing. It is very intimate and personal, one of those rare works where the life of the artist fully merges with the art. Mainieri's arrangements are sparse, tight, elegant, and gorgeous, while Carly's interpretations of these classics are heartfelt and moving. Her original compositions ("Blue of Blue," "From the Heart" and "What Shall We Do with the Child") blend in seamlessly alongside the old warhorses "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good," "Spring Is Here," and the album's triumph, "Body and Soul." "Pretty Strange" with its muted trumpet is also a knock-out as well as the Sondheim closer "Not a Day Goes By." It's all deliciously depressing, and very carthartic following a break-up. Carly's two subsequent standards albums ("My Romance" and "Film Noir") aren't in the same league, but "Torch" is among the best of her albums ("No Secrets," "Boys in the Trees," and "Hello Big Man.") Speaking of "Hello, Big Man," Carly's third Mainieri album is inexcusably out of print. Too bad.
Far from the smooth pop she is known for, Carly's album Torch covers some of the most beloved torch standards of all time, and includes some lesser-known contemporary songs by noted songwriters (Not A Day Goes By, Sondheim). The revelation of this album is Carly's game interpretation of the material, which can -- and will -- survive without her; the vocals are assured, mature and in most cases completely captivating. A particular highlight is I Get Along Without You Very Well, which, though standard, was new to me on this album, and which conveys a haunting sadness. This is an album for the candles, low lights, etc. -- you get the idea. Good and enjoyable, if not classic -- for the same effect done without peer, try Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now, which makes nary a misstep.
This is as much a plug for (...) as it is for Carly Simon's "Torch". I bought the vinyl when it was first released, and fell hard - I didn't realize the connection between her artistic expression and the breakup of her marriage to James Taylor, but in retrospect, it makes a sad kind of sense. After it's initial release, it just kind of disappeared, dropped below the radar, and I couldn't find a copy of this for nearly 20 years. Then I found it here, on (...) and only then icked up my copy of the CD, and boy, am I glad I did. Each cut gets better than the last, and to not be affected by the time she sings "Not a Day Goes By" indicates to me you're very possibly made of stone. The emotion is genuine, the technique is flawless. This album was the first time I ever heard Carly sing anything but her own material, and it was a revelation. This CD is a must-have for anyone who's got a taste for the standards, for a great set of performances by one of our top singer/songwriters, or a soundtrack to a flawless romantic evening. I haven't stopped listening to this disc in days, and don't expect to stop now.
After the release of Come Upstairs, I was expecting Carly to do something different, but not something like this! At first I was disappointed cause I could see there would be absolutely no airplay whatsoever. But I realized Carly was going to do what she wanted to do, and keep the rest of us guessing. Now, almost 20 years after it's release, it's considered a classic, and rightly so. Before Linda Ronstadt teamed up with Nelson Riddle, Carly did it first. I think "Not A Day Goes By" is the best sounding song here. I've actually heard "I Get Along Without You Very Well" and it sounds great. "Body and Soul" is a great interpretation. The release is not perfect, "Blue of Blue" and "I'll Be Around" are the weakest cuts. Everything else on here is great. If you need some mood music for a romantic time, slip this one on the CD player and watch out!