Jim & Jean

People World

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For their third (and subsequently final) album People World (1968), Jim Glover (guitar/vocals) and Jean Ray (vocals) veered farther away from the folk-rock blend that had informed their previous two long-players, settling into a comparatively pop-driven direction. The platter is a mixture of solid originals and a wide array of interesting covers -- especially the amalgamation of Phil Ochs' "Ringing of Revolution" incorporating the garage rock anthem "Hang On Sloopy," Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone," and Pete Seeger's "Guantanamera." Their interpretation of another Ochs composition, "Cross My Heart," is one of the disc's best offerings as Jim & Jean's compact vocals are perfectly suited to the track's heartening nature. Despite People World being their only effort to impact the charts, it is a relatively haphazard collection, which may have something to do with the host of musical arrangers, conductors, and producers calling the shots behind the scenes. The lack of a unified sound does not detract from the strength of Ray's trippy "Topanga Road" -- a composition purportedly about the Buffalo Springfield's March 20, 1968, drug bust which Jim & Jean narrowly avoided themselves -- or the distinct Burt Bacharach-influenced score to "What's That Got to Do With Me?" Although undeniably indirect, "Hanoi Hoe-Down" melds a trippy Eastern-flavored melody that is shrouded in not so oblique references to the concurrent conflict in Vietnam. Glover's "People World" concludes the LP with an upbeat and thoroughly optimistic viewpoint and became Jim & Jean's only single to reach the Top 100, placing at number 94 despite being a formidable regional hit. In 2004 People World and its predecessor, Changes (1966), were coupled on a two-fer CD issued by Collectors' Choice Music, making both titles once again available after several decades out of print.

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