CD Janis Ian [1967] (CD 6635394),
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Janis Ian [1967]

  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): UICY94567

  • Credits

    This is the eponymous debut long-player from Janis Ian, who had already written and recorded this disc of completely original material at the tender age of 15. Her brutal honesty and in-your-face ethos were at least three decades too early for the mid-'60s American mainstream pop consumer. However, by the turn of the century, the same audience would embrace similarly liberated and otherwise angst-ridden female artists such as Jewel and Alanis Morissette. The album was commissioned by Atlantic Records who, after hearing the highly controversial material, copped out and declined to release it. After being shopped around to a majority of the major and independent record labels, the single "Society's Child" was picked up by the Forecast subsidiary of the primarily jazz and vocal pop Verve Records. The song's subject matter -- dealing with teenage interracial relationships -- garnered the attention of conductor Leonard Bernstein, who featured it in a segment of his CBS-TV prime-time network special Inside Pop: The Rock Revolution. This exposure garnered more attention for both the track and the young artist.
    In early 1967 this album was released, revealing the depth of Ian's craft. While her roots are decidedly folky, her material traverses through a number of genres. One of the more prominent motifs is the dark Baroque flavor accompanying tracks such as "Society's Child," "Janey's Blues," and the stunningly poignant "Hair of Spun Gold" -- a deliciously noir tale that had been published in 1963 by the acclaimed and revered folk music journal Broadside when Ian was a mere 12 years old. There are also a couple of trippy blues-rockers, such as the precocious "Too Old to Go 'Way Little Girl" and the punky protest-filled "Younger Generation Blues." However, the vast majority of Janis Ian is steeped in the acoustic-based folk music that she had immersed herself in during her concurrent sets in and around Greenwich Village at venerable venues such as the Gaslight Caf and Kettle of Fish. "Then Tangles of My Mind" and the Dylan-esque "I'll Give You a Stone if You'll Throw It" are both intimate examinations. Also noteworthy are the teen prostitution "Pro-Girl" and "New Christ Cardiac Hero," a biting satire of the ambiguous social role that was being acted out by most organized religions of the time in an attempt to remain relevant to an increasingly disenfranchised youthful audience. The confrontational nature of much of the material on this disc would carry over into her three remaining efforts on Verve/Forecast, as well as become a touchstone for Ian's future works. ~ Lindsay Planer

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