Hello Hello: The Best of Claudine Longet (British issue: Rev-Ola CR REV 119, released October 2005)
1. Hello, Hello
2. White Horses
3. Meditation (Meditacao)
4. Am I Blue?
5. The Look of Love
6. Lazy Summer Night
7. Manha de Carnaval
8. Small Talk
9. A Man and a Woman
10. Both Sides Now
11. Dindi (Jin-Jee)
12. Walk in the Park
13. I Love How You Love Me
14. Sleep Safe and Warm
15. Creators of Rain
16. How Insensitive (Insensatez)
17. Hurry On Down
18. Everybody's Talkin'
19. Man in a Raincoat
20. Love Is Blue (L'Amour Est Bleu)
21. I Think It's Gonna Rain Today
22. Think of Rain
23. It's Hard to Say Goodbye
25. I Don't Intend to Spend Christmas Without You
Tracks 1, 3 and 9 are from Claudine
Tracks 5, 7, 13, 15, 16, 19, 22 are from The Look of Love
Tracks 8, 11, 12, 20, 23 and 24 are from Love Is Blue
Tracks 4, 10, 17 and 21 are from Colours
Tracks 6 and 18 are from Run Wild, Run Free
Tracks 2, 14 and 25 are non-LP singles.
Parallel product from the UK, notable for its large quantity of tracks. Almost 72 minutes' worth! This as close to a "definitive" anthology as we'll ever get, despite the omission of the ever-elusive "Nothing to Lose." The tracks are said to be remastered, and comparing the three songs found on both this disc and the Varèse anthology indeed revealed quite a bit less hiss on this version of "Small Talk."
It's interesting how strongly this collection favors Longet's second and third A&M albums -- especially considering that her debut was her best-selling record. Hello, Hello has 19 tracks in common with an earlier Japanese compilation, and I wonder if steep licensing fees explain why it dropped that disc's two Beatles covers. If you buy this disc and Cuddle Up with Claudine, there is no reason left to get the Varèse compilation unless you simply must have fresh CD versions of "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and "Here, There and Everywhere." The Varèse disc has greatly inferior liner notes, as well.
Steve Stanley's notes for the booklet are lengthy, well-written and informative, and include a few factoids which I didn't know. Such as news about a car accident in 1970, Longet's charity work for asthma and her pre-Las Vegas career (she first acted at the age of 10 in "The Turn of the Screw," and later worked for three years with a French television repertory company). The notes are absolutely gonzo about dates as well, and include the exact birthdays of her children (really, more information than we needed), the release months of her A&M albums (I quickly added this information to the site) and, perhaps most impressively, the days on which almost all the tracks were recorded. My one major misgiving is that the otherwise exhaustive notes skip over even hinting at the scandal which wrecked her career, which just doesn't seem like responsible journalism. Here's how the closing text nimbly breezes over the Sabich shooting:
"...Even then, at the peak of her fame, she admitted: 'If I stopped working tomorrow it would be alright with me.' This statement would prove to foreshadow the future, for since the mid-seventies, Claudine has shied away from public appearances and retired from professional life altogether. Claudine has since spent her time in Colorado, tending to her garden and enjoying her obscurity."
Wow. It's as if even citing "Aspen" (uh oh...associations with skiing!) rather than "Colorado" was deemed as hitting too close to the bone.
Now, the big news is that the liner notes include a September, 2005 message from Longet herself. A message which presumably hinged upon the condition that the shooting would not be mentioned anywhere in the CD. (I wonder if the omission of my site's URL was also mandated?) I hesitate to post the entire text (perhaps that's too much of a "spoiler"), but rest assured that it is obviously written in her "voice." The light, sketchy, poetic syntax -- the brief sentences, the ellipses, the lazy capitalization, the quirky indentations -- will be familiar to anyone who has seen her own liner notes for an old Nick DeCaro album.
Central features: She poses a recurrent "forest" metaphor ("magnificent, gentle, unknown, magical, and...scary") for what it was like to begin a singing career as such an innocent novice. She mentions loving the three Jobim songs she recorded, and liking the man himself. She praises the gentle patience of DeCaro and Tommy LiPuma. She loves "I Think It's Gonna Rain Today" and "Hello, Hello." She also writes a couple of affectionate paragraphs about "Nothing to Lose" and the making of "The Party" -- which makes no sense at all, since the track is not included on the CD!
As for those minor proofreading quibbles which I'm prone to make, here are a few. The back cover lists four incorrect song titles: "Meditation (Meditatcao)" ("Meditacao" has an extra letter), "Am I Blue" (no question mark), "Sleep Safe" ("...and Warm" is missing) and "I Think It's Going to Rain Today" (it's "Gonna" rather than "Going to," a mistake which is also found in the essays of Stanley and Longet). Oddly, the track listing inside the booklet does not have these mistakes, but adds a more substantial goof: The Love Is Blue album is said to contain "I Don't Intend to Spend Christmas Without You," but not "It's Hard to Say Goodbye." Wrong on both counts. I suspect this was just a careless numerical glitch, resulting from citing tracks "24 & 25" rather than tracks "23 & 24."
There's one additional issue, where I don't know if an error was made or not. The booklet lists the French lyricist of "Love Is Blue" as "Lemaire," whereas the original A&M record says "Cour." A websearch reveals that both men are named Pierre, but gives multiple contradictory links which list either one name or the other as the writer. About six times more pages list Cour, but I don't know which name is officially correct.
The back-cover text, which may not be readable in the above scan: "Conveying more with her frothy, French-accented whisper than most vocalists ever communicate with a scream, Claudine Longet enraptured the world with her exotic, hushed elegance, soft, breathy vocals, and undeniable radiance. Having released a series of lovely, low key albums amid the highly-competitive late sixties pop landscape, Claudine created a musical niche for herself that was both unique and perplexing: Her music was decidedly too 'establishment' to capture the teen market and a little too saucy for the Easy Listening crowd. Rev-Ola is very proud to present the definitive Claudine Longet A&M anthology for the first time ever! Featuring rare photos, liner notes by Steve Stanley, and an exclusive new essay from Claudine herself!"