Rebecca Angel “For What It’s Worth”

November 30, 2020 | By

Those of us of a certain age remember the heyday of recorded singles. Two songs on either side of a 45 rpm record with a large hole in the center. For many of us, when the hit bands and singers from the Fifties through the Sixties dropped their new single, we paid attention. They were like an appetizer for the main event, the 33-1/3 long play record.

Now, here’s a new single CD featuring singer Rebecca Angel singing the Stephen Stills 1966 classic, “For What It’s Worth (Stop! Hey, What’s That Sound).” Of course, today’s single CDs don’t have two songs because the CDs only have one side of music.

The recording itself doesn’t have anything new to say about Stills’s classic song but the overall treatment of the song is wonderful. Angel has a supple voice and while the song doesn’t require any emotional arc, she the centerpiece of an excellent arrangement by Jason Miles that is rich with texture. In fact, Miles is the star of this recording. He also produced the song and played keyboards as well as arranging. There’s expert playing by the six-piece band as well as a background vocal by Maya Azucena.

The sound is crystal clear without sounding sharp or tinny, the separation of instruments is clear and concise while still having the individual instruments easily standing out instead of becoming a sonic wall of mush like that of many less accomplished arrangements. And the arrangement itself doesn’t show off or draw attention to itself. The entire production makes Stills’s song the focus. So, Angel’s singing, while forward of the band, is still part and parcel of the overall sound.

While no new ground has been broken, this single is the epitome of how a pop song should be arranged, produced, and performed. I hope it’s a harbinger of a new full CD of songs featuring Rebecca Angel and produced and arranged by Jason Miles.


Category: News / Reviews / Commentary

About the Author ()

Ken Bloom is a Grammy Award-winning authority on American popular song and musical theatre. As a co-founder of Harbinger Records, he has produced fifty albums including performing artists Peggy Lee and Maxine Sullivan (Grammy nomination), and songwriters Harold Arlen, Bock and Harnick, Cy Coleman, Hugh Martin, Jones and Schmidt, Charles Strouse, Kander and Ebb, among many others. He and Richard Carlin won the Grammy Award for Best Album Notes for "Shuffle Along." Ken has written sixteen books on Broadway, Hollywood, popular songs, theatre anecdotes, and has most recently co-authored "Eubie Blake: Rags, Rhythm and Race." His books have won the George Freedley Award, New York Times’ top reference book of the year, Choice Magazine Award, and have sold over 100,000 copies. On radio he was an arts reporter for NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.” He most recently co-produced, directed, and wrote the documentary "Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon." A complete biography can be found on Wikipedia.

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