Glenn Yarbrough

Honey & Wine

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On his prior 1967 LP, For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her, Yarbrough had tried to move into contemporary folk-rockish covers, with negligible sales and not much greater artistic success. With Honey & Wine there also seemed to be inclinations to update his sound, but great uncertainty as to which way his music should pull. There was just a bit of a nod to pop/rock on the album, primarily in the title cut, a cover of a relatively little-known Gerry Goffin-Carole King composition. That song is a bluesy, very good yet underrated tune, but Yarbrough was not the best guy to sing it convincingly; look for the Hollies' version instead. Much of the rest of the disc was given over to Rod McKuen covers with soppy MOR arrangements, which were sometimes (as on the excruciating "Happy Birthday to Me" and the cringingly upbeat "Ain't You Glad You're Livin', Joe") about as bathetic as McKuen ever got, which is saying something. A couple of Mason Williams tunes, "Here Am I" (with period pop harpsichord) and the bossa nova-flavored "They Are Gone," are better but hardly memorable. In all, it's a nearly terrible recording of sluggish easy listening pop, and not worth the money you'll be charged if you find it in the dollar bin. Some interesting names pop up among the arrangers, though, including Williams, a pre-Bread David Gates, and Mort Garson.

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