Claudine Longet, French recording artist and ex-wife of legendary crooner Andy Williams, had a stilted run of modest popularity in the late ’60s and early ’70s but ultimately came to be known as the criminally negligent killer of Olympic skiing champion Spider Sabich. (Don’t you just love those peripheral celebrities you can summarize in a single, abeit very odd, run-on sentence?)
Longet was a singer in that weird campy time in the ’60s when mainstream MOR music (think: her husband at the time) caught on with old folks and the kids who today would be, well, probably me. Enthusiasts at the time most likely couldn’t figure out the appeal of such artists at the time, but given the social upheaval going on outside, it most likely seemed quite appealing indeed. At any rate, Longet stayed aloft in the top third of the Billboard 100 for a few albums before sinking back into obscurity. Also, she knew some Kennedys and, as I said, later shot an Olympic skiier. Ta da, that’s her career.
So what we’re left with today is a handful of charmingly wistful cover songs that, for better or worse–by which I mean let’s lean toward the worse–aren’t entirely bad considering the great bed of wince-inducing saccharine from which we’ve dug them. It’s her accent, and I do mean her accent, because Longet’s grasp of pronunciation is at first amusing but ultimately…hmm. She just never quite got over that fence. But hey, this was a time when musicians strove to emulate Bob Dylan’s voice, so… All in all, Claudine Longet is a pleasant artist, but still I keep her at arm’s length.
The first song is a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair/Canticle”. It’s starts off incredibly well and is fairly serene overall. The second, perhaps Longet’s best song overall, is Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Going To Rain Today”. I still cringe when I hear her say rain, but I do like the song. Both are from Longet’s 1968 album Claudine. In one of my more surreal discoveries, I found a copy of Claudine at a Salvation Army shop in Clarksburg, WV. I mean, really?