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Mary Fahl - Can't Get It Out Of My Head

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 7 / 1 / 2023



Mary Fahl - Can't Get It Out Of My Head
Label: Rimar Records
Format: CD

intro

Haunting new abum from ex- October Project singer-songwriter Mary Fahl who reinterprets ten songs from her youth., making these the definitive cover versions.

It is an apt title; although for her latest album Mary Fahl has chosen (not for the first time) to cover songs written by other artists. Each and every one of the tracks takes on a new life in her reading. Fahl first came to notice musically during her tenure with October Project. The outfit released two albums which were well received and it was obvious even then that Fahl was a unique, expressive singer. While her influences, it seems, are many, little of those really show in Fahl’s vocals. Although Joni Mitchell and Judy Collins are often mentioned as an influence it’s certainly doesn’t materialise in Fahl’s vocals. Fahl’s vocals soar, and there’s none of the little-girl-lost nuances which many female singers employ (although coming from a listener that is a sucker for that vocal style, that’s not a criticism against those singers). Fahl is a soul singer, who sings from the heart and soul in a voice that is unforgettable, believable and expressive. Fahl is no stranger in reinterpreting songs from other artists. In 2011 Fahl finally released ‘From The Dark Side of the Moon’ in which she re-imagined Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ album; a stunning arrangement and performance of the classic album which proved that when Fahl lent her voice and talent to well-known songs the result was breathtaking. On that album Fahl was joined by Mark Doyle who not only co-produced the set but also provided most of the instrumentation. For ‘Can’t Get It Out Of My Head’ Fahl has once more employed the services of Doyle; he produced the album and, apart from drums and the strings. he played every instrument heard on the songs. During these challenging last few years Fahl decided to comfort herself in the music she loved during her teenage years and to record her own take on some of them. To quote Fahl’s own words in the notes which accompany the CD, “The challenge was to make each of these songs our own and hopefully as good as the originals or why bother.” So Fahl and Doyle approached the project with the right idea. All too often an artist takes the easy path and injects little or nothing of their own identity into a song they never wrote. Fahl is certainly not guilty of that. Fahl’s choice of songs is faultless. Ten tracks each of which take on new feeling in Fahl’s capable hands. The album starts with ‘Can’t Get it Out Of My Head’, one of ELO’s best songs in a catalogue of shiny gems. Fahl’s vocals, as usual, are impressive, especially as the song builds; shorn of ELO’s usual pomp it will move the listener in a way Lynne and company never did. The strings are sympathetic and Doyle’s guitar adds a finesse which the original, good as it is, lacked. The Rolling Stones ‘Ruby Tuesday’, drawn from their best, most experimental era, is given a lovely string- arrangement, Fahl’s vocals particularly suited to the sentiment of the song. Although Jagger’s vocals on the original were impressive, Fahl sounds less vulnerable than the co-writer. Fahl’s take on The Moody Blues' ‘Tuesday Afternoon’ is simply staggering. If you are new to Fahl’s work then this song is a good place to start, especially if you are familiar with The Moodies original. It displays all that is special about Fahl and Doyle working together. Each song could be picked for special mention; there’s something to discover in each of Fahl’s selections that wasn’t heard in the original or simply wasn’t there to begin with but Fahl’s rendition of Nick Drake’s ‘River Man’ deserves a word or two. Forsaking, maybe wisely, Drake’s guitar for Doyle’s piano and replacing the string arrangement with Fahl’s layered vocals in the bridge lends the song an even more chilling, wintery feel. It takes a brave soul to try to add something or even match the beauty in any of Drake’s recordings but Fahl and Doyle should be proud of what they have accomplished here. It’s simply stunning. There are some surprising choices here. The Mamas And Papas' ‘Got A Feelin’ is obviously shorn of Michelle Phillips' beautiful delicate vocal style and therefore takes on a completely different hue. A prime example of why Fahl should be considered a soul singer above any other description. Fahl tackles songs by Neil Young, George Harrison ( a lovely take on ‘Beware of Darkness’) and Richard and Linda Thompson, all given new life by Fahl. Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’ shows that for all the power in her vocals Fahl never forsakes sensitivity. And Doyle’s guitar on this track as throughout the whole album…majestic. Which leaves the choice of the expected Judy Collins song, ‘Since You’ve Asked’, Fahl’s vocals send shivers up the spine. Listening to this song in particular the listener wonders if there is any other female singer walking the same path as Fahl just now. She’s certainly one of the most powerful and expressive and obviously not afraid to tackle (and win!) songs others might be tempted to cover but worried if they can do justice to the original. The originals of most of these songs have been heard so many times through the years that any new reinterpretation has to be something really special to demand repeated listens; at times during ‘Can’t Get It Out Of My Head’ one can’t help but think these are the versions to go for in the future.



Track Listing:-
1 Can't Get It Out Of My Head
2 Ruby Tuesday
3 Tuesday Afternoon
4 River Man
5 Got A Feelin'
6 Don't Let It Bring You Down
7 Comfortably Numb
8 Since You Asked
9 Beware Of Darkness
10 The Great Valerio


Band Links:-
https://maryfahl.com/
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100044794981066
https://twitter.com/MaryFahlMusic


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