William Faure is, without question, the world’s leading Carly Simon archivist and expert, maintaining an ever-growing collection of features, reviews, interviews and photographs and overseeing a related Facebook group. He remembers buying Torch (1981) as soon as it came out and he kindly shared a few impressions with me as I worked on my No Depression Spring 2021 piece.
“Torch was a revelation. At the time, I was not familiar with the Great American Standard songbook at all. Carly introduced me to it. I actually began to search out the standards after hearing the album. I was absolutely turned off by the synthesized 80s. I’d grown up with bands and orchestras on my albums, so that music was awful to me.
Through Torch, I became familiar with Sarah, Ella, Billie and more – in the 80s, yes, but better late than never I guess. In retrospect, that’s a pretty incredible gift.
What’s most interesting, I think, is that it was with this album that I suddenly heard what an amazing vocalist Carly is. There is an ease and understated power to her interpretations. I had always listened to her as a singer-songwriter. Torch, though, was her voice – and all the emotions that she brought to these songs through her vocals. Thanks to this album, I then listened to all her albums with this new understanding. What a revelation. She doesn’t just write with the words, she also writes with how she sings.
Fast forward decades later, I became familiar with the music of her uncle, Peter Dean. You can hear the fun Carly had, singing with him on his 1974 album, Four Or Five Times (Buddah Records). The subtle genius, the jazz-vocal nuances… these can be found on all her albums, and they come from her life and her rich musical history.”