Thursday, December 20, 2012


YEAR:  1968
LABEL:  Elektra
TRACK LISTING:  Tin Angel,  Something in the Way She Moves,  Urge For Going,  Sunshine Sunshine,  The Glory of Love,  Shadow Dream Song,  The Circle Game,  So Long,  Rockport Sunday,  No Regrets,  Coda
IMPRESSIONS:  Tom Rush is one of my dad's icons.  He met him back in the 1970s and in the last ten years my parents have travelled up north many times to see him perform live; Rush has invited my parents to sit on stage while he performed and has referred to them lovingly as "my stalkers".  Needless to say, I've had this album around in my life practically as long as I can remember.  As the itunes review for the album rightly states:  "...THE CIRCLE GAME is a perfect song cycle, telling the story of a relationship from start to end."  The review goes on to tell us that "This album is often cited as the catalyst for folk singers becoming singer/songwriters and as a key influence on the music that would dominate the early '70s."  All this is most probably true.  Another reason why this album was so important is that it introduced three then-practically-unknown songwriters by the names of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Jackson Browne; all of whose songs Rush recorded on this superb song cycle.  Then, of course, there is Rush's own much-covered self-penned song "No Regrets" which the Walker Brothers later had a big hit with.  To top it all off, Rush's instrumental "Rockport Sunday" holds a special place in my heart since it is about my favourite place on earth:  Rockport, Massachusetts.  Neither my parents nor I would never have known about Rockport if it hadn't've been for this song.  And my mother requests it every time they see Rush in concert.  As previously noted, THE CIRCLE GAME thematically "tells" the story of the path of a relationship from beginning to end by the choosing of the expertly-sequenced songs.  Rush's recording of Joni Mitchell's song "The Circle Game" pre-dates her own and, with all due respect to the great Joni Mitchell, Rush's version of "Urge For Going" is the definitive version on record.  James Taylor's "Something In the Way She Moves" receives an unexpected up-tempo rendition; as does the perennial song used in the film "GUESS WHO'S COMING TO DINNER":  "The Glory of Love".  And then there's the gorgeous rendition of Jackson Browne's "Shadow Dream Song" which, again, is the definitive version to my mind.  Itunes goes on to call this album "Essential"; and it's hard to argue that fact.
MY FAVOURITE TRACKS:  Tin Angel,  Something in the Way She Moves,  Urge For Going,  Shadow Dream Song,  The Circle Game,  So Long,  Rockport Sunday,  No Regrets
FACT SHEET:  THE CIRCLE GAME is Tom Rush's sixth album.  "Tin Angel", "Urge For Going" and "The Circle Game" were written by Joni Mitchell.  "Something in the Way She Moves" and "Sunshine Sunshine" were written by James Taylor.  "The Glory of Love" was written by Billy Hill.  "Shadow Dream Song" was written by Jackson Browne.  "So Long" was written by Charlie Rich.  The cover photograph features Tom Rush with his then-girlfriend Jill Lumpkin and the iconic (in our household) photo was taken by Linda Eastman (later to be better known as Linda McCartney).  The instrumental coda which ended the original album was always left off cd reissues until it was restored to the 40th Anniversary edition along with bonus tracks of the single versions of "Something in the Way She Moves" and "Urge For Going" along with take one of "The Circle Game".   

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