Montreal, Quebec (Canada)
Name: Andrew Youakim (sometimes appears as Joachim or various other permutations)
Over the past few decades, babyboomers like myself have
been able to witness first-hand the metamorphosis of Andy Kim, beginning in 1968 with his first Top 40 hit "How'd We Get This Way," which was recorded when Andy was a mere sprout (both
in life and in the music business). Quick disclaimer, though, for the teens and twenties among you who shifted uneasily on
"decades" and "1968" in that first sentence - it should be noted that Andy has never been an oldies artist but, rather, a
contemporary one who was blessed to have launched his career early and has never been idle since; and what's more, unlike
some rockers of the era who abused their bodies with various chemicals and are now caricatures of their former selves, the
tall, dark and handsome Andy essentially hit the age of 39 and has remained there since. Personally, I think he has a portrait
in his attic doing his aging for him.
digress. After Andy charted with a few singles in 1968 and in 1969, most notably "Baby I Love You" and "Be My Baby," co-wrote
1969's Song of the Year, The Archies' "Sugar, Sugar," and went on to enjoy his first #1 with "Rock Me Gently" in 1974, one
would have thought that Andy had found a cozy niche into which he could happily have squeezed himself, remaining sequestered
in his own little box and only sticking his head out long enough to appear in concert as a nostalgia act or to talk wistfully
with interviewers about the good old days. Certainly other artists have done this, probably most artists have done this; but
most artists aren't Andy Kim. Andy saw each new song, each new album, as a springboard to the next release, an opportunity
to stand on his own gigantic shoulders and continue the evolution that had begun when he'd made the first tentative pencil-strokes
of his first lyrics as a teen. For every single Andy Kim released has been different from the one before, containing only
elements of what came before it. The wistful tunes of love and romance in the 60's became the sexy and passionate declarations
in the 70's, which in turn went on to become the reflective and self-analytical soliloquies of the 80's and 90's. As the songs
evolved, so did the voice, from the sweet candy-flavored whisper of the 60's to the sensual growwwwlll that became his trademark
during the "Rock Me Gently" years and beyond.
after a few years out of the spotlight, Andy changed his professional name to Baron Longfellow and issued a self-titled album
in his native Canada, recorded on his own label, ICE Records. The LP included Andy's, or rather Baron's, own version
of "Sugar, Sugar" as well as the beautiful "Amour," which although failing to make any noise in the States became
a huge hit, and deservedly so, in the North. In 1984, the Baron released a second LP titled Prisoner By Design.
And in 1991, the single "Powerdrive," issued on the ICE label under the simple moniker Longfellow, was released in Canada
and, although like the others failing to catch on in the U.S., developed a strong cult following in Andy's native country.
October of 2004, Andy released his first new offering in several years, an EP that had been a work in progress since 2000 -
and the result was well worth the wait! With I Forgot To Mention, Andy shows the world that he is not content to stay in a corner, not afraid to leave his comfort zone, and not gullible
enough to believe those who said it couldn't be done. The five songs on this CD are a revelation of the unlimited width and
depth of Andy's talents, both as composer and as singer. When drafting this commentary, I was going to observe the complete
"change" in Andy's vocal style; now I realize he hasn't changed it at all, merely altered its color for this collection in
the same way that most of us don one set of clothes at home and another for work, or in this case a party. Andy's voice, especially
on the powerful remake of 'Powerdrive,' is edged with a Springsteen-like huskiness, more of an outward symbol of his humanness
and passion and spirit than a conscious stylization or affectation. It's a modern sound, yes, but it's also who Andy is, since
he is part of the now - as, indeed, he always has been.
official web site, Andy Kim Music, proclaims "Andy Kim - The Return!" Andy's return
is indeed cause for celebration. But as demonstrated by this fantastic CD, Andy Kim has never really been away.
2011 UPDATE: Andy Kim's newest CD is Happen
Again. Please click on the
link to read my review of Andy's first full-length album in 20 years!