John Sebastian Revisits Lovin’ Spoonful Classics on New Album

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This Friday (Sept. 24, 2021), Renew Records/BMG will release John Sebastian and Arlen Roth Explore the Spoonful Songbook, which features what is described in a press release as “interpretive versions of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s most important songs.” The album features the former Spoonful frontman accompanied by guitarist Roth on reimagined versions of 14 hits and deep cuts by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

Says the press release, “The Lovin’ Spoonful did like nobody before or since, putting their first seven singles into the Top 10. This was unprecedented and utterly unthinkable at the height of Beatlemania.” Sebastian and Roth recorded the tracks, which feature Sebastian on guitar, harmonica and vocals, at producer Chris Andersen’s Nevessa Studio in Woodstock, N.Y., with contributing musicians the MonaLisa Twins, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, Lexie Roth, Ira Coleman and Eric Parker.

Related: Our Album Rewind of Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful

Roth is known for his touring work with such artists as Simon & Garfunkel and John Prine. It was his idea to make the recording with Sebastian. “In the tradition of Roth’s acclaimed reimagining of the songs of Simon & Garfunkel (Subway Walls & Tenement Halls) and the Rolling Stones (Paint It Black: Acoustic Stones), John Sebastian and Arlen Roth Explore the Spoonful Songbook was born,” says the release. “Sebastian had never considered doing re-recordings of his Spoonful classics until Roth approached him: ‘I’d left the material alone for 50 years.’ But Roth’s deep artistry and exceptional knowledge and love of the guitar style of Spoonful guitarist Zal Yanovsky changed Sebastian’s mind.”

Roth praises Sebastian, stating, “Oh man, what is there that this man can’t write? He’s a songwriting giant! One of the best of all-time. The pleasure of working with the man you’re actually paying tribute to is beyond words.”

Track Listing
Lovin’ You (vocals by Sebastian and the MonaLisa Twins)
Darlin’ Companion (vocals by Sebastian and the MonaLisa Twins)
Jug Band Music (vocals by Sebastian and Geoff Muldaur)
Four Eyes (vocals by Sebastian and the MonaLisa Twins)
Younger Girl
Rain On the Roof
Didn’t Want to Have to Do It (vocals by Lexie Roth)
Did You Ever Have to Make Up Your Mind?
Do You Believe in Magic?
Nashville Cats (vocals by Roth and the MonaLisa Twins)
You Didn’t Have To Be So Nice
Stories We Could Tell (vocals by Sebastian and Maria Muldaur)
Darling Be Home Soon

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6 Comments so far

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  1. v2787
    #1 v2787 21 September, 2021, 20:11

    It’s just heartbreaking to hear John Sebastian try to sing now.

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  2. Kevin
    #2 Kevin 22 September, 2021, 10:33

    Old voices just have much more soul and feeling. Purity is not the ideal goal.

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  3. v2787
    #3 v2787 22 September, 2021, 15:44

    I remember when Sebastian could hold a note and hit a pitch. Those days appear to be long gone. It’s sad.

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  4. Rockdog
    #4 Rockdog 22 September, 2021, 20:09

    I’m a big Sebastian /Spoonful fan, but John must be kidding about leaving material alone for “50 years” His first album included a (beautiful) solo re-make of “You’re A Big Boy Now.” And the Tarzana Kid, Welcome Back, and Satisfied (with David Grisman) albums also contain new versions of songs done by the Spoonful.

    John is one of the greats, and I’m looking forward to this one! Play on, John!

    Reply this comment
  5. 122intheshade
    #5 122intheshade 23 September, 2021, 00:20

    I can’t wait to hear what Maria Muldaur sounds like. Is there a sexier song than “Midnight at the Oasis”? Well, OK, Jungle Fever by Chakachas.

    Reply this comment
  6. MJM
    #6 MJM 23 September, 2021, 09:18

    It seems to me there’s a really good former drummer that has a real fine voice to help sing these songs. It’s a shame he’s not included here.

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