Caroleen Beatty

You're Only as Pretty as You Feel

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You're Only as Pretty as You Feel, by Caroleen Beatty (with Mushroom and Heavy Friends), is something of a sequel to Mushroom's collaboration with Gary Floyd, Mad Dogs and San Franciscans. Both albums feature great songs from the '60s and '70s, but not performed as a retro-homage or with tongue in cheek. Instead, one gets the sense that these are tunes that the musicians really enjoy, and really enjoy playing. The songs may look on paper like they wouldn't necessarily hang together (Bill Withers, Pentangle, Jefferson Airplane, Brian Auger and Julie Driscoll, and Ginger Baker's Air Force), but the band pulls it off like the glory years of free-form FM radio, where just about anything could happen. Beatty has a strong and sultry voice that's versatile enough to handle all this material with equal aplomb and Mushroom have proven time and time again that they can do damn near anything musically and make it seem easy. And who else would have the guts to cover "Toady" and play it straight? The only problem with You're Only as Pretty as You Feel is its relatively brief running time. Let's hope it's just a preview of further collaboration.

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