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Kathy McCord|New Jersey to Woodstock

New Jersey to Woodstock

Kathy McCord

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As a teenager, Kathy McCord, the sister of Billy Vera, made a 1970 self-titled singer/songwriter LP that's gotten some attention among collectors, though it was barely known at the time of its release. This two-CD collection features that album on disc one, with the addition of a couple non-LP bonus tracks from a 1968 single, while disc two is entirely comprised of unreleased recordings spanning 1972-1979. While it's described as "folk-psych" on the back cover blurb, there isn't much that's psychedelic about the 1970 album; it might have attracted notice from folk-psych collectors, however, due to a slightly idiosyncratic ambience informed by the tone of the psychedelic times. It's more promising than it is enduring, McCord singing with a lower-than-average voice and a good measure of reserved containment, at times suggesting -- as absurd as some dedicated cultists might find the comparison -- traces of a hipper Karen Carpenter. Her compositions are rather even-tempered, subdued reflections with hints of folk, jazz, Tin Pan Alley (on "Baby James" and "Velvet Smile"), and hippie mysticism. They're given some touches of flute, strings, and (at least on "Rainbow Ride") furious rock guitar to embellish the guitar, piano, and singer/songwriter base of the arrangements. The songs aren't melodically arresting or lyrically pointed enough to mark this as a standout, even among obscure early-'70s singer/songwriter albums. Most of them are pleasantly slightly moody pieces, the only cover being a low-key version of the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home," here retitled "I'm Leaving Home."
In the bonus material, the 1968 single holds some interest, as the two songs were written or co-written by noted composer Chip Taylor. Of these, "I'll Give My Heart to You" is a fair pop ballad, while "I'll Never Be Alone Again" (written by Taylor and Al Gorgoni) is the most psychedelic track on the compilation, not so much in its yearning romantic tune as the odd production, which almost makes the backing sound as if it were recorded from a distance in a deserted castle. It's hard to judge the progression of her work on the 1970s material featured on disc two, as none of the tracks are dated to specific years within their 1972-1979 range. But these generally find her moving to a more mainstream and R&B-influenced singer/songwriter sound (not that she was too far from that mainstream to begin with). The songs and production lose some of the aura that might make her attractive to folk-psych fans, but her singing does improve and become more energetic and soulful, especially on "I Wanna Know Why" and "Shine On," where she really wails. The reissue includes detailed liner notes by both McCord and Vera that shed light on the history of a performer whose history has been mysterious to the collectors who tracked down her 1970 album.

© Richie Unterberger /TiVo

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New Jersey to Woodstock

Kathy McCord

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1
Rainbow Ride
00:05:11

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher - Kathleen McCord, Composer

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

2
I'm Leaving Home (She's Leaving Home)
00:04:23

John Lennon, Composer - Paul Mccartney, Composer - Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Sony ATV Music Pub (UK) Ltd, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

3
Candle Waxing
00:04:15

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

4
Baby James
00:03:17

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

5
The Love Flow
00:03:03

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

6
New York Good Sugar / Love Lyric #7
00:03:59

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

7
For You, Child
00:03:10

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

8
Jennipher
00:04:42

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

9
Take Away This Pain
00:05:38

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

10
Velvet Smile
00:03:18

Billy Vera, Composer - Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher - Vera-Cruz Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1970 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

11
I'll Give My Heart to You
00:03:49

CHIP TAYLOR, Composer - EMI Blackwood Music Inc, MusicPublisher - Kathy McCord, MainArtist

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1968 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

12
I'll Never Be Alone Again
00:02:29

Al Gorgoni, Composer - CHIP TAYLOR, Composer - EMI Songs Ltd, MusicPublisher - Kathy McCord, MainArtist

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 1968 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

DISC 2

1
New Horizons
00:03:29

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

2
Acapulco
00:03:11

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

3
Baby, Come out Tonight
00:02:58

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - EMI Music Pub Ltd, MusicPublisher - JONATHAN THREE MUSIC CO, MusicPublisher - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

4
That's a Love That's Real
00:03:58

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - EMI Music Pub Ltd, MusicPublisher - Jonathan Three Music, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

5
No Need to Wait
00:03:15

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Higher Music, MusicPublisher - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

6
I'll Be Lovin' You Forever
00:03:23

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

7
Magnolia
00:03:10

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

8
Madman
00:03:56

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Higher Music, MusicPublisher - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

9
Captain Cody Memorial
00:03:57

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Higher Music, MusicPublisher - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

10
Keep Peace in the Family
00:03:43

EMI Songs Ltd, MusicPublisher - Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Jonathan Three Music, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

11
You'd Convince the Devil
00:02:45

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - EMI Sosaha Music, MusicPublisher - R2M MUSIC, MusicPublisher - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

12
Who's Been Coolin' You?
00:06:00

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Higher Music, MusicPublisher - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

13
Don't Go Talkin' to Strangers
00:04:05

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

14
Every Little Thing You Do
00:03:57

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

15
I Wanna Know Why
00:04:39

Sony Atv Harmony Uk, MusicPublisher - Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

16
Shine On
00:03:59

Kathy McCord, MainArtist - Kathleen McCord, Composer - Higher Music, MusicPublisher - Baby Grand Music Co, MusicPublisher

(C) 2011 Ace Records (P) 2010 Billy Vera c/o Vera-Cruz Music Co

Album review

As a teenager, Kathy McCord, the sister of Billy Vera, made a 1970 self-titled singer/songwriter LP that's gotten some attention among collectors, though it was barely known at the time of its release. This two-CD collection features that album on disc one, with the addition of a couple non-LP bonus tracks from a 1968 single, while disc two is entirely comprised of unreleased recordings spanning 1972-1979. While it's described as "folk-psych" on the back cover blurb, there isn't much that's psychedelic about the 1970 album; it might have attracted notice from folk-psych collectors, however, due to a slightly idiosyncratic ambience informed by the tone of the psychedelic times. It's more promising than it is enduring, McCord singing with a lower-than-average voice and a good measure of reserved containment, at times suggesting -- as absurd as some dedicated cultists might find the comparison -- traces of a hipper Karen Carpenter. Her compositions are rather even-tempered, subdued reflections with hints of folk, jazz, Tin Pan Alley (on "Baby James" and "Velvet Smile"), and hippie mysticism. They're given some touches of flute, strings, and (at least on "Rainbow Ride") furious rock guitar to embellish the guitar, piano, and singer/songwriter base of the arrangements. The songs aren't melodically arresting or lyrically pointed enough to mark this as a standout, even among obscure early-'70s singer/songwriter albums. Most of them are pleasantly slightly moody pieces, the only cover being a low-key version of the Beatles' "She's Leaving Home," here retitled "I'm Leaving Home."
In the bonus material, the 1968 single holds some interest, as the two songs were written or co-written by noted composer Chip Taylor. Of these, "I'll Give My Heart to You" is a fair pop ballad, while "I'll Never Be Alone Again" (written by Taylor and Al Gorgoni) is the most psychedelic track on the compilation, not so much in its yearning romantic tune as the odd production, which almost makes the backing sound as if it were recorded from a distance in a deserted castle. It's hard to judge the progression of her work on the 1970s material featured on disc two, as none of the tracks are dated to specific years within their 1972-1979 range. But these generally find her moving to a more mainstream and R&B-influenced singer/songwriter sound (not that she was too far from that mainstream to begin with). The songs and production lose some of the aura that might make her attractive to folk-psych fans, but her singing does improve and become more energetic and soulful, especially on "I Wanna Know Why" and "Shine On," where she really wails. The reissue includes detailed liner notes by both McCord and Vera that shed light on the history of a performer whose history has been mysterious to the collectors who tracked down her 1970 album.

© Richie Unterberger /TiVo

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