Julie Covington

The Beautiful Changes

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Julie Covington's official debut album (she'd done a couple of privately pressed platters prior to this) grew out of "The Magic Wasn't There," a failed single that was still impressive enough to get EMI Records to cut a full album on her. Her alto is pleasing once one gets accustomed to it -- hers isn't a "pretty" voice so much as a highly expressive one -- and she almost seems to be "acting" as well as singing on "Ice Cream Man" and "If I Had My Time Again," even as she hits some gorgeous upper register notes. Her accompaniment ranges from flute and sitar to small orchestra, and no two of these 13 songs sound alike -- she's equally good on pop, folk, and rock ("Queen of Night"), though she throws something extra special into the blues number "He Just Don't Appeal to Me," the highlight of the album.

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