Saturday, April 11, 2009

An Interesting Miss

Cher's 3614 Jackson Highway is now available via download from Rhino, and it's such an intriguing misfire. She recorded it with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section in 1969, covering Dylan, Buffalo Springfield, and Dr. John's "Walk on Gilded Splinters" - the latter a rock/soul version that is one of its stronger tracks. Ultimately, the album didn't work because she's not a blues or soul singer, and no amount of soulful support could change that. It could mitigate her shortcomings, but she was a rock star even then, and the subtext of all her performances was her persona. Where the subject matter was too weird to fully move into - "Gilded Splinters" - or the song so malleable that anyone could find a place in it - "Tonight I'll Be Staying Here with You" - she shines, and she was enough of an actress to make "(Just Enough To Keep Me) Hanging On" credible.

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