Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sun Records: Cinnamon Girl

Our final look at the catalog of Sun recordings takes us back to 1970 following the purchase of the label by Shelby Singleton. In 1969, Neil Young and Crazy Horse had recorded “Cinnamon Girl” for his “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” album release, but Reprise had not yet released the song as a single. Seeing an opportunity, The Gentrys recorded the song for their self-titled release on Sun Records.

Their version of “Cinnamon Girl” was their second single on the label and was the follow-up to their song “Why Should I Cry” which peaked at #61 in early 1970. “Cinnamon Girl” did a little better by charting at #52 in June of that year.

Lead vocalist Jimmy Hart and the band did an excellent job recreating Neil Young’s vibe on this recording. Their version is slightly faster and doesn’t include the tag as found on the original. Jimmy Tarbutton’s lead guitar has a little more imagination that Neil’s very simplistic lead on this song, but while Neil’s is not as complex, it sounds more natural, while Tarbutton’s seems stilted. Sometimes less is more.

The Gentry’s near success with the tune prompted Reprise to issue it as a single; however, Young’s release failed to chart as high as The Gentry’s cover of the song. Neil’s original version peaked at #55. Now you know the rest of the story.

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