Saturday, August 31, 2013
Carly Simon - Hello Big Man
Side one begins with "You Know What to Do", the mid-tempo dance track about a woman that is pursued by a man who both excites her and worries her at the same time. As the first single, it peaked at number 83 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 36 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
For "Menemsha", Simon sprinkles in a bit of African rhythms and children chanting to give it an exotic flavor. The song is about Menemsha, Maine, a small fishing village in Martha’s Vineyard near where Simon lives.
The B-side to the second single was "Damn You Get to Me", a gentle ballad that goes from acoustic guitar to a swaying string arrangement.
Bob Marley wrote and recorded "Is This Love?" for his 1978 album Kaya. Simon covers that reggae song here with some assistance from reggae producers Sly and Robbie (Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare).
"Orpheus", the B-side to the first single, gets its title from the legendary Greek musician/poet/prophet of the same name. I have to wonder if song is about musician James Taylor whom Simon was married to from 1972 until they divorced in 1983.
Side two starts with "It Happens Everyday", a song about dealing with a big break-up. Again, I wonder too if this song is in reference to Simon’s marriage that ended around the time this album was recorded.
"Such a Good Boy" picks the tempo a bit with a bouncy, whimsical beat. Simon and Taylor’s son Benjamin was six years old at the time and would appear to be the natural subject of this one.
The title track "Hello Big Man" was also the second single. This one paints the images of a traditional, lifelong marriage that worked on so many levels. Simon waxes nostalgic on the type of marriages her parents and others of that generation experienced.
"You Don't Feel the Same" goes with a simple, acoustic accompaniment that allows Simon’s soprano vocals to soar freely.
The album closes with the reggae-flavored "Floundering", a song about a woman seeking professional help at every turn in hopes to get her life back on track.
All in all, I rather liked Hello Big Man. Clearly Carly Simon was going through a transitional period in her personal life, and the music here reflects some of that with experimentation and self-reflection.