MacArthur Park

MacArthur Park

by Richard Harris

CD

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Overview

This CD reissue from England is almost (but not quite) identical to Raven Records' Richard Harris: The Webb Sessions 1968-69 from Australia, combining the contents of the albums A Tramp Shining and The Yard Went on Forever. The difference is the absence of the last Richard Harris-Jimmy Webb collaboration, "One of the Nicer Things," which appeared as a free-standing single in 1969. Alan Hodgson's annotation is slightly less informative than the notes by Jimmy Webb on the Raven CD. On the other hand, this disc is also about $3-$5 cheaper, so budget-minded fans may appreciate it. As for the sound, it is superior to any of the LP versions of A Tramp Shining, with Webb's reliance on stereo separation for important timbral effects coming through bright and sharp throughout -- a small, muted string orchestra coming up opposite an electric guitar and bass on one song, an electric piano or harpsichord tinkling from one speaker, while a big-scale orchestra pumps out rich horn playing from the other. Moreover, at this late date, the background chorus on "If You Must Leave My Life" sounds amazingly like the Fifth Dimension -- their radiant singing and clear, upbeat sound recalls the pop-soul work of that group. Either this CD or the Webb Sessions CD is preferable to the domestic A Tramp Shining CD, which is inferior in sound and packaging.

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