Jean Carn – 1976 – Jean Carn
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Jean Carn’s self-titled debut for Gamble & Huff’s Philadelphia International Records could be subtitled “Philly soul at its best.” Released during the era of emerging sophisticated soul-formatted FM radio stations, Jean Carn provided perfectly suited singles, the wise R&B hit “Free Love” and format-friendly, radio-aired LP tracks: the airy ballads “No Laughing Matter“, “I’m in Love Again” and the jazzy “You Are All I Need“. “Free Love,” “Time Waits for No One,” “You Got a Problem,” and the second single “If You Wanna Go Back” were all long-running hits on Billboard’s Hot Disco charts.
A classy affair that merged the best of ’70s soul and jazz with solid song-writing and tight instrumental support (MFSB, Instant Funk).
A1 Free Love 4:11
A2 No Laughing Matter 4:55
A3 I’m In Love Once Again 6:54
A4 Don’t You Know Love When You See It 5:18
B1 Where Did You Ever Go 3:58
B2 You are All I Need 5:36
B3 If You Wanna Go Back 3:27
B4 You Got a Problem 3:21
B5 Time Waits for No One 4:19
I dare say that this is the finest artistic achievement of Messrs. Gamble and Huff and their organization, as well as Ms. Carn. I refer specifically to JEAN CARN, which is not to diminish HAPPY TO BE WITH YOU, an equally fine achievement. I would also like to say that pairing Jean Carn with the Gamble-Huff organization was a match made in heaven.
And that pretty much describes this debut album featured here. A distinct slice of musical heaven. The voice! The songs! The orchestrations! If you are a fan of jazz-influenced R & B, there is no finer set of music. I always thought that pairing the great Lou Rawls with G & H was a stroke of genius. While Mr. Rawls’ efforts with the team usually sold better, the overall craftmanship and execution of the Philly music organization was never better than on JEAN CARN.
ARTISTRY is the main word and the main thrust here. All involved appeared to be concerned only with creating a musical masterpiece. I cannot imagine my music collection without this sparkling gem. Perfect from start to finish, with enough variety of sound and texture to captivate. Hard to pick a favorite. “Free Love“, the first single, is the pinnacle of the classic 70’s Philly sound, while “If You Wanna Go Back” expands the sound a bit. “No Laughing Matter“, incorporates the best Philly elements with a classical jazz feel. “I’m in Love Once Again“, is different, also a jazz vibe, and almost an “ambient” piece, but, at the same time couldn’t fit better. “Don’t You Know Love” is in a similar vibe as Billy Paul’s “Me and Mrs. Jones,” but with a harder edge. “You Are All I Need” is in a laid-back mood, but still moving, swirling, and intoxicating. “You’ve Got A Problem” is a dance-influenced self-help message song, and “Time Waits for No One” is a soul-dance gem.
Highest recommendation for lovers of soul/jazz and incredible vocal artistry and dexterity.