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Lovely Sad and Scary

Live at Carnegie Hall, 1973
Dory Previn
Dory Previn is very up-front about her personal problems -- and she has had some to be up-front about. But she makes lovely sad (and funny -- often both at once) and scary music out of them.

This album, culling songs from her several previous albums and setting them in a live-performance milieu with a full band, is a compelling document of her style, her presence and her music.

"Mythical Kings and Iguanas" and "The Lady with the Braid" are meditations on wanting what you have not and on denying that you need what you have. "Kings" is wistful, regretful and confessional. "Lady" is scary and so very sad, as the lady asks "Would you care to stay all night and save my life?"

"Mary C Brown & the Hollywood Sign" (allegedly inspired by a real-life suicide in which an unsuccessful starlet hanged herself from the sign) is about giving up/in, and beyond that a meditation on the glitter of show-biz and the way Hollywood represents and reflects the zeitgeist of America.

"Twenty Mile Zone" is a sardonic account of the time she was arrested for driving peacefully along and screaming as loudly as she could in the privacy of her car. Funny and disturbing.

Other outstanding songs include "Angels & Devils the Following Day"; a meditation on what makes a good relationship, "Left Hand Lost"; about being born left-handed and made to change to be "normal" (as a natural left-hander who wasn't forced to change, this song is scary to me) and "Moon Rock", a peppy upbeat look at a lot of things only marginally related to its ostensible subject.

This is the Dory Previn album to buy to introduce yourself to her music.