Songs for Old Lovers
'The title of this album, Songs for Old Lovers, correlates with Frank Sinatra's first album for Capitol Records, 1954's Songs For Young Lovers. The cover artwork emulates the iconic cover of Sinatra's 1955 collaboration with arranger/conductor Nelson Riddle, In the Wee Small Hours (Randy looking even more dejected than Frank, thereby adding a touch of parody to the moodiness of the image). And Randy's etching on the back panel is based on the back cover of 1958's Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely. Even these liner notes, if I've done my job correctly, will conjure the album essays of Pet Welding and even Stan Cornyn. Yes, Songs for Old Lovers is a true concept album which pays tribute to some of the earliest concept albums of American Pop Music and the great American songwriting tradition. Randy's original compositions here are responses to American popular songs from the 1930s and 40s and, in one or two cases, the 20s, songs recorded by the likes of Sinatra himself, Peggy Lee, Marilyn Monroe, Chet Baker, Judy Garland, and Nat King Cole. Some of the songs are answers to questions posed by the original, some are variations on themes presented therein, others are retorts, replies, even ripostes. There are also nods to the songwriting styles of the day throughout, both harmonically and lyrically. Mike West, who has been producing Randy's records for the past five years or so, evinces this homage through his elegant arrangements. Mike usually works with Randy in a bluegrass/country/folk/blues idiom. But, as evidenced here, these guys can do anything! A familiarity with the material Randy references on this record could enhance the listener's experience but it is not a prerequisite; Songs for Old Lovers stands on it's own as a collection of eloquent, subtle, forlorn, poetic, and sometimes wry ballads and saloon songs.' -from the liner notes by Montague Z. Young. 'Paradoxical Love Chants: I've been listening to Randy Kaplan's Songs for Old Lovers in the car. I find that it definitely helps temper the usual disgust and hatred I feel for other drivers, most of whom are old - too old to be driving - but probably not lovers. Anyway, I really like it. About time someone took an ironic pin to the sacred bubble of love, while doing it in such a loving way. Very cool concept. The record could have been titled: Love Songs For Old Post-Modernists. The arrangements, instruments and, of course, Randy's voice are all spot on. Hope he sells a million of them.' -Bruce William Leigh / Author 'Up to this point in time, Randy Kaplan is best known for his albums geared towards children and families (his past albums have been praised highly by several noteworthy publications and web sites). Now with the release of Songs For Old Lovers (his eleventh full-length release), he heads off in a different direction. This album is Kaplan's tribute to the music of the 1930s and 1940s... specifically artists like Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Chet Baker, and Nat King Cole. But whereas most albums that tread in this territory present cover tunes, Lovers consists entirely of original songs penned by Kaplan himself. Ten slick cuts here that adequately recall the sound and feel of the past... and the cover art is definitely Sinatra all the way. Cool tracks include 'Sad To Be Happy,' 'I Won't Be Around,' and 'I Will Always Be The Same.'' -BABY SUE 'New songs, old style - smooth and a little different. Randy Kaplan is a relatively cult solo artist most known for his CD's of songs for kids, and for some kooky and unexpected choices of covers. Maybe this time around he decided he wanted more of the royalty check to come his way, because 'Songs For Old Lovers' is a record of his own compositions, but with the songs written in response to classics from the pre-war period. With the title a reflection of the Sinatra album 'Songs For Young Lovers', accompanied by a cover shot of Randy doing his best rat packer pose, the rest of the record continues this theme. By and large, each song relates directly to some of these classics - 'Hard To Love', for instance, being an answer to Cole Porters' 'Easy To Love', and 'The Bottom Of Her Heart' a response to 'The Bottom Of My Heart', a 1939 composition, as the extensive liner notes explain. And so it proceeds. I suppose your appreciation of this record will probably depend on your familiarity with and appreciation of the music of this, pre-pop chart, era. Certainly followers of Sinatra and co, and of the pre-war jazz styles, would do well to check this out - as it's well-produced and composed, and recorded to sound as close to the songs of that era as possible.' -Eddie Thomas / Subba-Cultcha.