Song of the Week – I Can’t Let Go, Evie Sands; The Hollies; Linda Ronstadt

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Today’s SotW is another installment of the “evolution series.” The featured song is “I Can’t Let Go” that was written by Al Gorgoni and Chip Taylor. (Not to be confused with the great Lucinda Williams tune with a similar title.) Gorgoni was a NY based session guitarist that played on hits for everyone from the Four Seasons to The Shangri-Las to The Monkees and Van Morrison (and more). Taylor is most famous for also writing “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning,” an odd combination, I know! He’s also lesser known as the brother of Jon Voight (and uncle to Angelina Jolie).

The original version was released in 1965 by a 19 year old Evie Sands but didn’t receive much airplay outside of her home base of NYC. It was a bigger hit by the artists that recorded and released it after her.

Poor Evie Sands was star-crossed. She released a cut of “Angel of the Morning” as a follow up to “I Can’t Let Go.” It was initially popular but sunk like the Titanic when her record company (Cameo-Parkway) filed for bankruptcy. Merrilee Rush “rushed” out her own version a few months later that made it into the Top 10!

The Hollies released their 1966 recording that topped off at #46 on the charts in the US.

The Hollies always had the uncanny ability to recognize a good song and put their own twist onto it by giving it a British beat feel with soaring harmonies. This is the best version and one of my favorite tracks by the Hollies.

Linda Ronstadt reached #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980 with the rendition she released on her Mad Love album.

A few weeks ago I took a mild swipe at Ronstadt, so I’m making amends today. This is a fine recording – well sung, well played and well produced. My only gripe would be that it so closely follows the Hollies arrangement.

All in all, it’s a strong cup of blue eyed soul in all three styles.

Enjoy… until next week.

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