Esther Ofarim In London

BB 024CD BB 024CD

The Bureau B label presents a treasure from Israel's incomparable Maria Callas of pop & folk, Esther Ofarim. Appearing on CD for the first time, her eponymous solo album from 1972 has been given the new title Esther Ofarim In London. This masterpiece was produced by no lesser figure than Bob Johnston, famous for having produced legendary albums by Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Johnny Cash, and Simon & Garfunkel. Esther Ofarim In London sounds both composed and confident. Attentive listeners will hear a forceful orchestra behind what is a tender, fragile atmosphere. This bombastic, yet intimate quality is exactly what the producer was aiming for. The tracks were recorded in three sessions at the Command Studios in London, where Johnston enlisted the British arrangers Nick Harrison, Will Malone and Bob Merci. Once the recordings were completed, Johnston flew back to his home town of Nashville to mix the tapes. The extent to which he reduced the instrumentation in some places was nothing short of drastic. On one track, he removed almost the entire orchestra, leaving a basic framework of guitar, bass and electric piano. Johnston and Ofarim displayed wonderful intuition in their selection of songs, with compositions by Leonard Cohen sitting comfortably alongside some by Johnston and the musicians he worked with at the time. The result is a gently shimmering necklace of poetic pearls, sung by one of the most sweeping, heart-rendingly beautiful voices in folk/pop history. As one has come to expect of Bureau B releases, this reissue comes complete with a wealth of detail in a 16-page booklet, rare photographs, and an interview with the artist herself, Esther Ofarim. Both the CD and LP versions contain three bonus tracks: the A and B sides to a single that was recorded later in Nashville by Esther Ofarim and Bob Johnston, plus one track from the London sessions which, inexplicably, did not make it onto the original LP.