JENNIFER
Reprise 2065, 1972

The Jennifer in question is Jennifer Warnes, who was going by "Jennifer Warren" back in those days, days which included a year's run as Sheila in the Los Angeles company of Hair, an appearance on The Bold Ones (playing a singer suffering from progressive deafness), and, most visibly, a position as a semi-regular on the legendary Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour during the late Sixties.

Cover art Jennifer was actually Warnes' third album. She had signed with London Records, which issued two albums on the Parrot label, to scant notice. Meanwhile, she continued to sing, appearing regularly on the Southern California coffeehouse circuit that also spawned Linda Ronstadt and Jackson Browne. The eminent Jack Nitzsche got Warnes a hearing at Warner Bros., which sent her into the studio with John Cale at the helm.

What Cale came up with was sort of Judy Collins Nouveau: an eclectic mix of songs from all over the place that had nothing in common but the need to be sung with some degree of precision, something Warnes could do easily. Cale's production is clean, almost clinical; it's easy to imagine some listeners put off by the seeming sterility of the proceedings. But Warnes herself, while never exactly scruffy, comes off as a real person who only just incidentally never sang a wrong note in her life.

Afterwards, Warners and "Warren" said their goodbyes. Jennifer Warnes would turn up again in 1976, and this time she'd sell: "Right Time of the Night", written by Pete McCann, made the Top Ten, and she nailed down her True Artist credentials in the Eighties with a collection of Leonard Cohen songs titled Famous Blue Raincoat. Five of these tracks ("In the Morning," "P. F. Sloan," "Sand and Foam," "All My Love's Laughter," "These Days") turned up on a Raven (Australia) compilation called Love Lifts Us Up 1968-1983 (RVCD 185).

Further exploration: Find out what's going on at the official (and newly remodeled!) Jennifer Warnes site.

Track listing:

  • In the Morning (Barry Gibb)
  • P. F. Sloan (Jimmy Webb)
  • Empty Bottles (John Cale)
  • Sand and Foam (Donovan)
  • Be My Friend (Andy Fraser-Paul Rodgers)
  • Needle and Thread (Gunston-Dove)
  • Last Song (Jennifer Warren)
  • All My Love's Laughter (Jimmy Webb)
  • These Days (Jackson Browne)
  • Magdalene (My Regal Zonophone) (Gary Brooker-Keith Reid)

Personnel:
Wilton Felder, Richard Hayward, Russ Kunkel, Spooner Oldham, Ron Elliott, Milt Holland, Jackson Browne, Jim Horn, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, John Cale, St Paul's Cathedral Boys Choir (on "P. F. Sloan")

Produced by John Cale
Engineer: Phil Schier
Recorded at Whitney Studios, Glendale, California
Mixed at Wally Heider's, Hollywood, California

Updated 4 July 2004


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Copyright © 1997-2004 by Charles G. Hill
Cover art © 1972 by Warner Bros. Records Inc.
Thanks to Robrt Pela.