Esther Ofarim

Esther Ofarim [Philips]

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It's hard to ascertain a year for this LP given the lack of readily available Esther Ofarim discographies, but judging from the sound and songs covered, it's almost certainly from the very end of the 1960s or the very beginning of the ‘70s. As with an entirely different album titled Esther Ofarim from 1972 (on Columbia, produced by Bob Johnston), the approach in this recording often recalls that of Judy Collins in its eclectic selection of material (some in English, some in other languages) and its carefully accented orchestral arrangements, although this is less explicitly reminiscent of Collins than the Johnston-produced LP. In fact, it's distinctly inferior to that 1972 disc, with some lethargic and unimaginative covers ("God Bless the Child" and Weill-Brecht's "Moon of Alabama," for instance). There can't be many covers of Ringo Starr's "Don't Pass Me By," but the one here isn't brilliant. On the other hand, the interpretations of "Saturday Night at the World," "Partisan," and Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire" are quite stately and haunting, sounding very similar to the better parts of the 1972 Columbia album. In fact, Ofarim would re-record "Partisan" for the Columbia LP (on which it was titled "Song of the French Partisan").