Nancy Priddy

You've Come This Way Before

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Nancy Priddy's sole, obscure solo album is the kind of idiosyncratically weird effort that could have only been made in the late '60s, when all sorts of pop and underground influences were combining with a naïveté unreplicated ever since. In some ways it's an off-the-wall singer/songwriter album drawing from both folk-rock and psychedelia. The trippy lyrics are often Through the Looking Glass-like dreamy jottings from a woman who's just gone to the other side of reality, overawed and only slightly intimidated. The sense of a child let loose to romp in the fields is amplified by Priddy's oft-girlish vocals, as heard on cuts like "Ebony Glass," and trendy psychedelic-style echo and high-pitch modulations are added to some of the instruments and vocals on various tracks. Structurally, the songs -- written by Priddy with several collaborators, including John Simon, Manny Albam, and Everett Gordon, all of whom contributed arrangements to the album -- zigzag all over the map, shifting tunes, meters, and moods unpredictably, and sometimes with little rhyme or reason. Yet at the same time, it's sometimes dressed up in unabashedly late-'60s commercial pop/rock and pop-soul production and orchestration, even to the point of employing trumpets that sound fresh off a Dionne Warwick session. It's often as if the creator and her coconspirators couldn't quite decide whether they were aiming for the pop market or the freaks. Sometimes the result's haunting and enticing, yet on the whole it's an uneasy mix that doesn't cohere, the songwriting not being quite up to the apparent far-out ambitions of the project.

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