Jesse Colin Young

The Soul of a City Boy

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Twenty-two-year-old Perry Miller was spotted by pianist/composer Bobby Scott at Folk City in Greenwich Village and signed to Capitol Records under the auspices of Scott's employer, Bobby Darin. Scott took Miller, now renamed Jesse Colin Young, into New York's A&R Studios in the spring of 1964, and they emerged four hours later with this 31-minute, 11-track acoustic-guitar-and-vocal debut album. Young proved to be an adept guitarist conversant with all the basic fingerpicking folk patterns, and to have an expressive, elastic tenor voice with just a touch of graininess to keep him from sounding too smooth. His six originals were fine but unexceptional, and his covers of songs like "Rye Whiskey" were pleasant. In the folk boom of the early '60s, The Soul of a City Boy was just one more entry in the dominant style, and it would not be remembered today if Young had not gone on to bigger and better things. But it demonstrates that in his early 20s, he had a good grasp of the playing, singing, and writing talents upon which he would build in later years. The album did not sell upon release, but when it was reissued for the second time in January 1974 in the wake of the success of Young's Song for Juli album, it made the charts for several weeks. (Originally released as Capitol 2070 in April 1964, The Soul of a City Boy was reissued under the misleading title Jesse Colin Young & the Youngbloods in 1967 with the same catalog number; reissued under its original title as Capitol 11267 in January 1974; and reissued under its original title as One Way Records/CEMA Special Harkets S21-17526 in 1995.)

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