Jennifer Warnes

Jennifer [Compilation]

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Not to be confused with other Jennifer Warnes releases titled "Jennifer," this is a CD compilation that combines her first two albums onto one disc. As another point of confusion for both fans and retailers, Warnes was known simply as "Jennifer" when these LPs -- I Can Remember Everything and See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me -- were released in 1968 and 1969, respectively. Warnes was known primarily as a member of the cast of the TV program The Smothers Brothers and as part of the Los Angeles production of the stage musical Hair at the time, and these records were largely overlooked, the singer not really attracting attention for her studio releases until the 1970s. Although these efforts are dated in a lightly psychedelic pop-folk way, actually they're not without their attractions. Warnes' vocals are appealingly soft (in fact sometimes almost whispery) yet supple, and the production, especially on I Can Remember Everything, is commendably spare and understated. The same applies to some of See Me, Feel Me, Touch Me, Heal Me, yet that record was more erratic, in part because the tone was far less consistent, Warnes also throwing in some pedestrian country-rock, a selection from the comic opera Don Pasquale, and a couple songs from Hair. There are also arguably too many cover versions of rock numbers by the likes of the Beatles, Who, Rolling Stones, and Bee Gees, and the songs especially supplied to Warnes weren't outstanding, though they were largely likable and suitable for her style. If she'd only managed to latch onto one or two standout songs written especially for her, she almost certainly would have had a good chance at making a stronger commercial impact and getting her recording career off the ground sooner. It's understandable if many Warnes fans, and Warnes herself, view these LPs as unrepresentative of her work, as her approach would change considerably as she matured as a recording artist. Yet at the same time, such is its period appeal that it might well be enjoyed by fans of late-'60s pop-folk who might not hold affection for her later, more renowned records and wouldn't necessarily expect to like this stuff. The CD's value is enhanced by thorough and thoughtful historical liner notes, though it's noted that Warnes "respectfully declined to be involved with this reissue."

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