Zalman Yanovsky ‘Alive And Well in Argentina’ LP/CD (Floating World) 4/5

If you are searching for an entirely different musical experience, this classic 1968 psychedelic pop/rock re-issue originally on Buddah Records may be worth investigating. Born in Toronto, Canada, in 1944, Zalman ‘Zal’ Yanovsky is best known for his participation in the group Lovin’ Spoonful with Jerry Yester from which the former was eventually ousted, and his musical outlook in general was heavily influenced by Frank Zappa as well as Tim Buckley with whom he also worked. Essentially, the music is at once experimental in nature and accessible, deconstructing well known pop songs of the era. Eclectic barely describes the range of genres and songwriters covered. These include a straight country rendition of a George Jones composition, ‘Brown to Blue’, that Elvis Costello and the Attractions later covered and the one-off title track that is as unusual as the musicians. Yanovsky himself performs on guitar. On the Floyd Cramer written instrumental, ‘Last date’, there is a nod to the sound of Neil Young while John Sebastian’s, Priscilla Millionaire’, is another song reinterpreted. Subsequent to this album, Zalman Yanovsky would perform with the likes of Kris Kristofferson and in Paul Simon’s film, ‘One trick pony’. Yanovsky entered the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. As well as the ten original songs, this CD re-issue features two bonus cuts that include, ‘As long as you’re here’. Informative sleeves notes come courtesy of Alan Robinson and the well illustrated booklet includes facsimile front and back covers of the original album and that also means the inclusion of a fascinating conversation dialogue between Yanovsky, Yester and others. The cover art incidentally is by Peter Max.

Tim Stenhouse