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Marc Cohn - Listening Booth: 1970

1970 was a milestone for Marc – and for pop culture at large, given the unprecedented range of notable artists who made the charts that year. It was the momentous beginning of a new decade, and Cohn himself was moving closer to the precipice of young adulthood. The songs of that eventful year would stick with him forever, the way they would with anyone of a tender age just discovering the deeper meanings and life lessons – the romance, the sex, the sadness, the fun — to be gleaned from a seemingly simple pop tune.
Collaborating with longtime producer-arranger-multi-instrumentalist and fellow Grammy Award winner John Leventhal, Cohn doesn’t merely recreate the sounds of this storied time. On Listening Booth:1970, he transforms songs from such artists as Cat Stevens, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Smokey Robinson, Creedence Clearwater Revival and even Bread into tracks that are warm, soulful, more than a little sexy and full of easy-going charm. These highly personal interpretations say as much about Cohn’s own history – his experiences, his memories, his inspirations – as about the legacy of these songs. They’ve been so creatively and confidently re-imagined, and sung with such feeling, they practically feel brand new.

As a songwriter and singer, Cohn combines the precision of a brilliant tunesmith with the passion of a great soul man. He’s a natural storyteller, balancing the exuberant with the poignant, and able to distill universal truth out of his often romantic, drawn-from-life tales. He similarly finds the emotional essence in the vintage songs he’s just recorded, even as he brilliantly reshapes his source material. Cohn’s own career took off at the turn of another decade, in 1990, with the recording of his critically acclaimed, self-titled debut disc, which yielded such classics in their own right as “Walking In Memphis,” “Silver Thunderbird,” and the lovely “True Companion.” For Cohn, 1970 – -which saw the release of Moondance, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band to name but a few — “was still the golden age of the single, but was also the beginning of the golden age of the Album. Even while all these deeply personal and poetic records were being released, there was this eclectic mix of pop music on the radio; it was great to be able to explore that range on this record. Just as a consumer and a total music fan, if I saw a sequence on a record that had songs by Paul Simon, Badfinger, John Lennon, Cat Stevens, The Grateful Dead and Bread, I would immediately be intrigued, and I’d probably buy it just to find out how badly the artist had lost the plot! But somehow all those disparate styles and approaches to songwriting seem like they belong together.”

Marc Cohn - Listening Booth: 1970 


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