Thursday, May 29, 2014

LIBBY TITUS - "Darkness Til Dawn" w/ Carly Simon and Craig Doerge

One of the sure-thing albums released in 1977 was Columbia's "Libby Titus," the second album simply titled "Libby Titus." It features one of her best-covered songs, "Love Has No Pride," and several songs by Carly Simon, including one with Simon's music and Libby's lyrics ("Can This Be My Love Affair"). Another excellent song is a co-write with Jacob Brackman: "Darkness Til Dawn." Brackman, of course, often co-wrote with Carly.

The first cut on the album, "Fool That I Am," (co-written with Al Kooper), was the choice when the timorous, unusual beauty with the very pale complexion and mass of curly black hair turned up as the musical guest on a "Saturday Night Live" episode. In an age that seemed to say it was all right to be a bit quirky (Diane Keaton, Jill Clayburgh, Kate Bush), Libby fit right in.

The album also includes tasteful takes on both Leiber & Stoller's "Kansas City" and Cole Porter's ironic lynch-mob song "Miss Otis Regrets." Somehow these extremes, as well as Libby and Carly's originals, all fit together seamlessly. The musicians who dropped by for the sessions reads like a Who's Who of the era. Phil Ramone produced most of it. The credits include Hugh McCracken, Tony Levin, Robbie Robertson, John Gueren, Grady Tate, Garth Hudson and in backing vocals…Carly Simon, Paul Simon and James Taylor.

Your download, "Darkness Til Dawn," has Libby's voice complimented by Craig Doerge on solo piano. You may know that name from his work as a member of The Session, and on albums by James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Harriet Schock, Judy Henske and many more. In a music world loaded with performers who can play piano, it's quite an amazing achievement that Craig Doerge has been the "go to" keyboard player for so many decades.

Libby's first "Libby Titus" album (with a color cover) was released back in 1968. On the Hot Biscuit label, it's covers of pop songs of the day. Her style back then was fairly close to Judy Collins, most evident in her interpretations of Paul Simon's "Cloudy" and The Beatles' "Fool On the Hill," and most certainly Joni Mitchell's "Michael From the Mountains," which was popular via a Collins cover.

The Titus of '68 was more songbird than chanteuse…the style of her more mature second record. It was her last record. She didn't retire, she simply performed in intimate nightclubs where sophisticates appreciated Cole Porter as well as Carly or Paul Simon. She also continued her songwriting. Her co-writers include some famous names: Burt Bacharach, Martin Mull, and a guy by the name of Donald Fagen…her husband since 1993. Extra trivia note: her daughter is Amy Helm. She and Levon Helm were an item in the late 60's and early 70's.

LIBBY TITUS Darkness Til Dawn

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