Let's Spend the Night Together (Barnaby/MGM BR-15001, released 1972) [Japanese reissue: Vivid M131540]
Front Back

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1. Prologue/While You're Sleeping 3:29 (Ken Mansfield-Dann Lottermoser)
2. God Only Knows 3:33 (Brian Wilson-Tony Asher)
3. Every Night 2:37 (Paul McCartney)
4. Hey That's No Way to Say Good-Bye 3:03 (Leonard Cohen)
5. Wake Up to Me Gentle 2:37 (Ken Mansfield)
6. Medley: Jealous Guy/Don't Let Me Down 3:40 (Lennon/Lennon-McCartney)

1. When I Loved Him 4:05 (Kris Kristofferson)
2. Birds 3:04 (Neil Young)
3. Remember the Good 3:08 (Mickey Newbury)
4. Sleep Song 2:53 (Graham Nash)
5. Let's Spend the Night Together 3:52 (Jagger-Richards)
6. Epilogue/While You're Sleeping 3:29 (Ken Mansfield-Dann Lottermoser)

Produced by Ken Mansfield
Arranged by Dann Lottermoser
Engineer: Ed Abner
Piano: Paul Parrish (except on "Remember the Good," J. Grauer)
Acoustic Guitar: Larry Carlton, Dick Rosmini, Dann Lottermoser
Electric Guitar: Larry Carlton
Drums: Larry Brown, John Guerin
Bass: Steve La Fever, Reinie Press, Joe Osborn, Bill Perry
Bass Flute & Recorders: Tom Scott
Arp Synthesizer & Melodica: Larry Muhoberac
Marxophone: Dann Lottermoser
Recordist: Bill Conrad

Singles
Let's Spend the Night Together/Wake Up to Me Gentle (Barnaby 2060)
Remember the Good/While You're Sleeping (Barnaby 5001)
Every Beat of My Heart/Sugar Me (Barnaby 5021)
Who Broke Your Heart/Goodbye, Jimmy, Goodbye (Barnaby 603)

Analysis

With Let's Spend the Night Together, Claudine found herself in the hands of producer Ken Mansfield. Mansfield was best known as the former manager of Apple Records' stateside offices, but had become president of Barnaby Records in 1971. Later, he produced artists including Waylon Jennings, Jessi Colter, Doyle Holly, David Cassidy and even Don Ho.

Mansfield aimed to cast Longet as a more contemporary artist, and thus chose material by acclaimed singer-songwriters rather than deskbound writers-for-hire. He also hired a slew of top-notch session men, including bass legend Joe Osborn, drummer John Guerin, woodwind ace Tom Scott and not-yet-famous guitarist Larry Carlton. It's worth noting that Colours is the only other Longet album which has full musician credits -- Mansfield obviously wanted to stress the players' expertise.

Let's Spend the Night Together remains Longet's most poetic album. The airy instrumental which begins and ends the record acts as a conceptual frame, and several songs are further unified by a light "sleep" motif (which Mansfield admits was accidental). There's an earthy sense of band chemistry not found on her other albums, and the stereo effects allow individual parts to be easily heard. ARP synthesizers now jump into a pivotal role (usually substituting for a trumpet, trombone or flute) and, thankfully, the choral voices of her previous record have been dropped.

The songwriters collected on Let's Spend the Night Together are impeccable, though they were probably less than thrilled with these innocuous treatments. The highlights come early, with dreamy versions of Brian Wilson's masterpiece "God Only Knows" (the overdubbed harmonies in the closing are particularly sweet) and Paul McCartney's underrated "Every Night." The latter could be more expressive -- her hesitant delivery clips too many notes -- but when she reaches into her upper register for the wordless "ooh" passages, the track soars. Another jewel is her cover of Graham Nash's "Sleep Song," a timeless melody with a graceful flow. The sparse arrangement of this waltz makes it one of her most affecting tunes ever.

Other songs thoughtfully blend love and remorse, sometimes evoking images of her own failed marriage. "Remember the Good" (written by Mickey Newbury, whose "Sweet Memories" had been crooned by her husband) seems especially personal with its resigned lyric and half-whispered vocal. A haunting recorder part sets the mood, along with a sea of ARP strings. Kris Kristofferson's "When I Loved Him" is a similar dab of romantic nostalgia, though it's marred by its ending: an extra minute of unfocused, piano-and-congas jamming which could have been lifted from a nearby Traffic album. Oh well...at least, the session cats found a place to show off their licks. Elsewhere, the stoic elegance of Leonard Cohen's "Hey That's No Way to Say Goodbye" is way beyond Longet's emotional depth, but the arrangement has lots of fun with its goofy headphone bounces and twittering synthesizer fugue.

Four lesser tracks fill out the record. "Birds," a haunting ode taken from Neil Young's After the Gold Rush, gets a fairly straightforward rendition with some pleasing flute. "Wake Up to Me Gentle" is a mild little tune written by Mansfield himself, in which the metallic clamor of the Marxophone (an esoteric, autoharp-like instrument) simulates a ringing alarm. The title cut, easily the most radical reinterpretation, warps the Rolling Stones' original melody and chords while slowing the tempo to a lazy, syncopated bounce. The almighty conga drums pop up again, and the breaks have some cute interplay between flutey ARP runs and George Harrison-like slide guitar. Listen for the peculiar "oom" sound which is looped on the rhythm track, and Longet's attempt to desexualize the lyric by switching the chorus to "Mama needs you more than ever." Finally, there's the most idiosyncratic piece of all: a bizarre medley of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" and "Don't Let Me Down." This one blends Lennon's then-current hit (here, changed to "I'm just a jealous kind" to fix the gender) with the "I'm in love for the first time..." bridge from the earlier Beatles song. The introduction's stilted bass line and Longet's blank "da da da dah" vamping (substituted for Lennon's whistling) may cause a few chuckles, but this is part of the track's naive charm.

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