Dory Previn, 1925 - 2012
February 22, 2012 11:56 AM   Subscribe

"Whether writing as herself, or through one of the many voices she heard in her head, Previn's sinister riverboat chansons revealed the pain, games, lies and loneliness behind the L.A. free love myth. 1971's Mythical Kings And Iguanas was, perhaps, the peak point of Previn's eerily confessional style containing the searingly honest Lemon Haired Ladies and The Lady With The Braid, both of which recount encounters between young men and single older women in chilling detail. Her third album, Reflections In A Mud Puddle was a concept album based upon her life with her father, and contained the astonishing Doppelganger, a Weillian Sympathy For The Devil in which the world's evils are found to lurk in all of us. " Singer-Songwriter Dory Previn has died. (previously on Metafilter).
posted by The Whelk (13 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Dory Previn had a unique voice. Unsettling, sure, but it will be missed.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:36 PM on February 22, 2012

Lady with the Braid and other Lyrics. What a wonderful writer she was.
Thank you kind lady for helping my angst in its early twenties.
posted by adamvasco at 12:55 PM on February 22, 2012

back in my coffeehouse days, i actually covered her king kong - not sure i did it really well, but it's an interesting song
posted by pyramid termite at 12:59 PM on February 22, 2012

I remember being in my early 20's hearing her, and realizing right then that life would be far more difficult, and interesting, than I previously had any notion of.
posted by Danf at 1:18 PM on February 22, 2012

who now?
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:44 PM on February 22, 2012

posted by d1rge at 3:56 PM on February 22, 2012

Thanks Whelk.
posted by aquanaut at 4:16 PM on February 22, 2012

I grew up listening to her, but only re-discovered her music recently, after realising that Cold Water Canyon and The Lady with the Braid would get stuck in my head despite having not heard them for years, and was impressed with how well it had aged. She's the first place where I heard that gender was complicated, and the first person I remember articulating that sensitive guys could be assholes.

Time to put on a CD and be happy with the legacy left us.

posted by frimble at 4:18 PM on February 22, 2012

"going home is such a ride
going home is such a ride
isn't going home a low and lonely ride..."

posted by Hardcore Poser at 4:20 PM on February 22, 2012

So my Now Husband introduced me to Dory Previn so it's all caught up in that but also, Dory Previn's songs where like the first time I cared about the characters in songs. They're like these little short stories and I don't even like much folk music but Previn's stuff was always more theatrical and cinematic, the phrase "Showboat chanson" seemed to fit so well, there's this aspect of musical theater around them, of melodrama, and of course half of them are scavenged from a scrapped musical, of course and of course she lost her husband to Mia Farrow and did the title song of Valley Of The Dolls, it all makes high drama sense.

But getting back to that short story feeling. I've never heard anything these perfect little character studies before. It's so empathic.

The lonely woman in Lady With The Braid, so worried she'll offend her partner for the night

Her answer in Lemon Haired Ladies who forgives her younger partner for not being true, as long as "just don't let me know"

The bitter, gossipy, Beware of Young Girls of a long triangle gone sour

The pyschosexual claustrophobia of With My Daddy In The Attic next to the paranoid eccentric in He Lives Alone and Poor Mary C. Brown who looked just like Heddy Lamaar and the man who loves huamnity more than he loves humans in The Altruist And The Needy Case next to the lady that bought a stone for bessie smith but forgot one of her own to the complete Shirley Jackson-esque tale of Her Mother's Daughter

These characters live in my head. The sexually confused Micheal and the poor girl who looked like Heddy Lamarr and the sad lady with the braid and the couple in La Scala who can't stop talking. Thank you Dory Previn, for giving me these characters and songs and narratives. There is at least one person who will call dull social obligations "recitals by nephews and by nieces" out there.
posted by The Whelk at 7:05 PM on February 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also a song about impotence
posted by The Whelk at 7:26 PM on February 22, 2012

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