Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Cher - Half-Breed (1973)

'nuff said

US #28, CAN #21, NOR #18

After emasculating him for years (by letting him be seen in daylight *plays audience laughter* etc), Cher abandoned Sonny in the first area of her life, that we know of. Her solo career. She just outgrew him (*plays audience laughter* etc). This project reunited her with Snuff Garett after a whopping one album without him after the guy refused to work with her 'worser' half. With an album called Half-Breed, it's not that surprising that the reviews were mixed too. Be that as it may, she got her second solo US #1 out of it, and the album was fairly successful (selling well over 500,000 copies in 1974 alone).

Stomping hollerback anthem Half-Breed pours scorn on American racists as if they were her own husband. Nobody deserves that.  Cher's performance of her mega hit on her and Sonny's TV show all the while half-naked and on a horse remains one of her most iconic images of all time. Obviously having only been with Sonny, she'd never been with a stallion at that point before (*plays audience laughter* etc). That Carousel Man did not become a hit single is deceptive, for it was a sizeable radio hit (peaking at #11 on the airplay charts). It's one of Cher's very finest moments. The dramatic swirl of the strings, the clattering punctuation, the momentum of the fanciful narrative itself (there's been a murder, of course) and the barmy chorus are such a hoot. Cher and her label chose 3 recent US #1s to cover - Paul and Linda McCartney's My Love, the Bee-Gee's How Can You Mend A Broken Heart and The Beatles's The Long and Winding Road. All are pretty standard. Cher won't change your opinion of the songs, but for me she does make them tolerable at the very least (since I'd never go near them otherwise). 

A song by Seals and Crofts (who can forget THOSE rogues?) called Ruby Jean & Billy Lee is re-written by Cher herself and re-named Chastity Sun, and it would seem Chastity had been involved in gender-switching operation a lot earlier than most people realize. Like Chaz himself, there's not really any throbbing arousal, but one can't help but check it out just to see what on earth is going on. I've got to say though, it's gorgeous. With a song so personal, it's quite a unique composition for her.  

Doubling the amount of people actually reading this thread, Two People Clinging To A Thread is not actually the theme tune of Diva Incarnate. Revving up interest in a blog these days (the format is dead let's face it) is more of a stretch than her actual face (allegedly). Melodramatic and lavish, I'm punching the sofa just thinking about it.  One of my all-time favourite Cher songs after it turned up on one of her budget compilations that I bought, The Greatest Song I Ever Heard is tender and framed by a beautifully lilting arrangement. Because I think the song is so, well, great, I can totally forgive her for getting just a bit too carried away with all her mannerisms.

Even beard's have feelings, David's Song was written especially for her, but probably isn't about David Geffen despite singing about a connection to a would-be lover through making music. "Won't you come and boogie woogie with meh babeh" is worthy of Mel B on a 70s themed hen night coming on to the topless waiter handing out shots. Easy-listening fare of Melody moderately lives up to its name.  Cher's This God-Forsaken Day sounds a bit like Dusty's Nothing Has Been Proved in its verses, and both are rainy documents of a list of events or stages unfolding. Cher's day involved "baking a tray of muffins" and washing dishes, but with a voice so masculine I doubt feminism was even a concern.

Mostly MOR, there are enough slick-pop highlights, and it's an essential document of music recorded from one of her most popular periods. 

1 comment:

dishy said...