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Neil Sedaka: Come See About Me LP (1983)

Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:36 pm

I bought this Lp when I was about fifteen or sixteen in a second-hand record store. It's one of those rare occasions when a Neil Sedaka album has no Sedaka-penned songs on it. No doubt after the flop albums of the late 1970s, Sedaka was looking for a change and floundering a bit - and continued to do so until he got another hit with The Miracle Song.

Come See About Me is be Sedaka's tribute to the era when he started in the business, with many of the songs coming from the late 1950s and early 1960s (It's All In The Game, Earth Angel, Since I Don't Have You, Cathy's Clown, Searchin' etc). Not all of the songs are successes - It's All In the Game and earth Angels are rather insipid, for example. But the remarkable thing about this forgotten album is the sheer amount of energy in it. Sedaka sounds as if he is having a ball, now that he is no longer tied to the easy listening/soft pop arrangements of the previous decade. Here is Sedaka back at the piano with a smile on his face having a good time. He stretches out too: Four of the ten songs hit the four-minute mark - considerably longer than the originals he is covering. The album's final track is probably the stand-out: a near four a half minute romp through Lloyd Price's Stagger Lee complete with some great piano solos from Sedaka that sound as if they came straight out of I Go Ape or Bobby Darin's Bullmoose (on which he played piano). The only thing that mars the album is the 1980s production, but it was in at the time and we can't go back and change that!

All too often, Sedaka's attempts at other people's songs are too gushing or cloying, so I still find this album something of a revelation, and it is recommended if you happen to find it kicking around a used record store (it's never been released on CD). I'm off to see Sedaka in ten days time; he's one of the very few left from the Brill Building and, although his vocal range seems slightly smaller than in the old days, he is still in remarkable voice for a man of 73 and still seems to love what he is doing, even if that love can be just a little too saccharine at times.