Phoebe Snow: Second ChildhoodSecondChildhood

The Songs:

  1. Two Fisted Love
  2. Cash In
  3. Inspired Insanity
  4. No Regrets
  5. Sweet Disposition
  6. All Over
  7. Isn’t It A Shame
  8. Going Down For The Third Time
  9. Pre-Dawn Imagination
  10. There’s A Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon For New York

Personnel:

  • Phoebe Snow – vocals, acoustic guitar
  • Ken Ascher, Ken Bichel, Don Grolnick, Richard Tee – keyboards
  • Hugh McCracken, Stuart Scharf, John Tropea – guitars
  • Ron Carter, Richard Davis – acoustic bass
  • Gordon Edwards, Will Lee, Tony Levin – bass
  • Steve Gadd, Grady Tate, Jimmy Young – drums
  • Ralph McDonald – percussion
  • Jerome Richardson – flute
  • David Sanborn – saxophones
  • Phil Kearns, Phil Ramone, Jessy Dixon Singers – vocals

After being discovered in a Greenwich Village nightclub, singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow was signed to Leon Russell’s small label, Shelter Records. Her debut album contained her Top 5 hit, “Poetry Man” and led to a Grammy nomination for best new artist. After a long legal battle with Shelter, Snow signed with Columbia Records, with whom she recorded 4 albums. Her Columbia debut, “Second Childhood,” contained a much stronger jazz feel, with contributions from some of New York’s top jazz musicians and session players. This album, along with her debut, heralded the arrival of a powerful singer who could do triumph in almost any musical style with a soaring voice that spanned several octaves.

Snow’s unique vocal style combined with a string of lyrically and musically interesting original songs. In addition, she has 3 great covers: the Tin Pan Alley era “No Regrets,” (made famous by Billie Holiday), the Holland-Dozier classic “Going Down For The Third Time,” (originally recorded by Diana Ross and the Supremes), and Gershwin’s “There’s A Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon For New York” (from Porgy & Bess). Her amazing stop time vocal break on “No Regrets” remains my personal highlight of the album.

Although her career never achieved its full potential, due to her commitment to raise a severely handicapped daughter, (born right after this album was recorded), she nonetheless continued to produce soulful music in a variety of styles, ranging from folksy blues to jazz and R&B. Second Childhood remains a highly original musical triumph among her all too small discography. It went on to achieve Gold Record status. (Buy it here.)

Selected Reading:

Michael Awkward. Soul Covers: Rhythm And Blues Remakes And The Struggle For Artistic Identity (Aretha Franklin, Al Green, Phoebe Snow).

Selected Viewing:

Phoebe Snow. In Concert.

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