Feb 152012

I’ve just heard on the radio that Dory Previn has died at the age of 86.

Sometime around 1981, having mined the Leonard Cohen canon and on the lookout for something a bit less frivolous, I was delighted when a friend played me Mythical Kings and Iguanas.

I’ve returned to it often ever since. I am possibly in a minority in the Hall in admitting to enjoying confessional singer-songwriters, but that album knocks most other albums of the genre that were being made at the time sideways, a quiet and extremely controlled dissection of a howl of agony which, as the last song winds down, it is quite clear has only just begun. You get the sense that if she allowed herself to let rip at any point she would never get up again. This is, in fact, Lou Reed as he was always meant to sound

I know very little about her life other than that she married Andre Previn, and when he left her for Mia Farrow she had a breakdown and made a short run of albums to exorcise her distress, all of which are worth a listen, although Mythical Kings is the best one to start with for the uninitiated. A glimpse at Wikipedia suggests that the last 3 decades had been happier times for her, and even collaborated with Andre Previn again in 1997. Her last live appearance was in 1988; I wish I had been there.


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