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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Noel Harrison - "Collage" Vinyl, LP, Album, 1967 (Reprise Records)

Noel Harrison is known for his role in "The Girl From U.N.C.L.E., as well as being the son of Rex.  But he also made a series of albums, and had a huge hit with Michel Legrand's "The Windmills of Your Mind."   And he had been making recordings since the late 1950s.  A recording artist of good taste and his very last album was a recording of Jacques Brel songs - which makes perfect sense with what one thinks of Harrison's music career.  "Collage" is the ultimate 1967 folk/pop album from Harrison.  It's interesting to note that the songwriter/singer was in full bloom at this time, but Harrison is mostly a singer who covered songs.  But his taste was exquisite, and this is one of my favorite albums from that period of time.  Mostly due to his liking, but also he had that British/French attitude towards the craftsmanship of a good song, and '67 produced a lot of great music in that category.   

He covers Dylan's "Just Like A Woman" but also "Suzanne" by Leonard Cohen.  He also had the wisdom to do "Museum" by Donovan, which is a fantastic underappreciated piece of work.   A Bob Lind song (another underrated figure) and a great version of "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum.   And of course, it ends with "Strawberry Fields Forever."   The beauty of the album is how Harrison approaches the material.  It doesn't feel like he's just singing the hits of the day, but for sure he had an individual and real connection to these songs.