Kim Carnes

Kim Carnes

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Kim Carnes' 1975 self-titled A&M album resulted in her first hit, "You're a Part of Me," which went Top 40 in 1976 on the adult contemporary charts (a different version of her original tune, a duet with Gene Cotton on Ariola Records, went Top 40 two years later). The strongest track, though, is her raspy reading of "Somewhere in the Night," an eventual hit for both Barry Manilow and Helen Reddy. She had competition in this race, however, as Steve Cropper's 1975 production of Yvonne Elliman, the Rising Sun album, contained the same tune that Kim Carnes and her producer, Mentor Williams, had crafted for this outing. Carnes and her husband, Dave Ellingson (both alum of manager George Greif's New Christy Minstrels), use this vehicle to showcase their co-writes and Kim Carnes solo originals. "It Could Have Been Better" and "Nothing Makes Me Feel As Good As a Love Song" are fine tunes on their own, but Kim Carnes' artistic (and commercial) success is at its best as an interpreter of other people's music. She does a terrific job on Dorff & Brown's "Waiting for the Pain to Go Away" and the aforementioned Kerr/Jennings tune "Somewhere in the Night." That her biggest hits were covers of Smokey Robinson and Jackie DeShannon tunes validates the opinion that Carnes could work magic with other people's music. That's not to take away from her strong originals like "What Good Is Love" or the co-write with her husband, "Good Old Days." The latter could be the sequel to Elton John's "Country Comforts," and either he or Rod Stewart should give the title a shot. With mega musicians backing her, including Steve Forman, David Foster, Jim Keltner, and Leland Sklar (who also shows up on Yvonne Elliman's Night Flight, if you're wondering the connection between these artists and how they might hear the same tunes to record), among others. Like Elliman, Kim Carnes enjoyed a huge worldwide smash sometime after her 1975 work; both women's albums went pretty much unnoticed, and they both deserved more chart activity. Having producer David Briggs doing string arrangements on the Kim Carnes album is a plus, and shows the quality surrounding this project.

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