Liner Note Author: Carly Simon.
Recording information: A&R Studios, New York, NY; Atlantic Studios, New York, NY; Carly's Living Room, Hidden Star Hill, Martha's Vineyar; Parr Audio.
Pointedly not a greatest-hits collection, the double-disc compilation Songs from the Trees instead is a soundtrack to Carly Simon's 2015 memoir Boys in the Trees (in that it has a cousin in Elvis Costello's Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, an autobiography with an accompanying aural collection). Surely, there are hits here -- not all of them, but "You're So Vain," "Mockingbird," "You Belong to Me," and "Anticipation" are -- but there are also some deep cuts, a track from the Simon Sisters ("Winken', Blinkin' and Nod") and other assorted rarities. Everything here shifts focus toward Simon the singer/songwriter and, as the memoir's narrative ends at 1983, so does the music on this collection and that's a good dividing point, considering she left Warner in 1983. She'd have a comeback not long afterward -- "Coming Around Again" climbed into the Top 20 in 1987 -- but this is her golden period as a singer/songwriter and pop star. If the latter is diminished a bit (her James Bond theme "Nobody Does It Better" and her 1980 soft rock hit "Jesse" are absent), seek out Rhino's 2002 set Anthology for a fuller portrait of Simon as a hit-maker; turn here if you want to get a sense of what Simon believes truly reflects her soul as an artist. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine