Evie Sands — “Crazy Annie”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — December 3, 2022


657) Evie Sands — “Crazy Annie”

“Crazy Annie”, beautiful, soulful and full of personality, is “Midnight Cowboy in a 3 minute song.” (Bill, https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/evie-sands-i-cant-let-go-what-a-hollies-ripoff.324039/page-2) Yes, that Midnight Cowboy, the iconic X-rated Dustin Hoffman/John Voight flick. As Alfiehitchie summarizes:

Texas greenhorn Joe Buck arrives in New York City for the first time. Preening himself as a real “hustler”, he finds that he is the one getting “hustled” until he teams up with down-and-out but resilient outcast Ratso Rizzo. The initial “country cousin meets city cousin” relationship deepens. In their efforts to bilk a hostile world rebuffing them at every turn, this unlikely pair progress from partners in shady business to comrades. Each has found his first real friend.


Anyway, allan0318 says:

“Inspired” by the motion picture Midnight Cowboy, this is the song that SHOULD have made Evie Sands a star. Weird, strange tale of Crazy Annie (played by actress Jennifer Salt) and Joe (the Jon Voight character.) The song was written by Chip [“Wild Thing”] Taylor, whose real name is James Voight and who is actually Jon Voight’s brother. Wouldn’t you have loved to hear this in the movie? Another great sound from Muscle Shoals.


Yes, it should have made Evie a star. But, then again, it’s not her only song that should have made her a star!

Londonlee does a deep dive on the song:

[T]he same year [Midnight Cowboy] came out [Chip Taylor] produced the album “Any Way That You Want Me” for . . . Evie Sands which includes a song he wrote inspired by the film called “Crazy Annie.” The song is about Joe Buck’s hometown girlfriend Annie who only appears in the film in his daydreams and nightmares, including a particularly harrowing one where the two of them are gang-raped by local thugs and she gets carted off to a mental institution. It was a long while before I figured out exactly what happened in that scene . . . but it was all done in a trippy, hallucinatory style which was very late 60s . . . . It’s a beautiful song written from Annie’s point of view . . . using her few lines of dialogue in the movie as lyrics and rescues her from being a mere phantom in Joe’s memory and turns her into a real person who wasn’t crazy and is still in love with him. I can’t think of another example of someone writing a song about a minor character in a movie . . . .


Aquarian Drunkard says of the song that “suddenly, the mournfulness gives way to a big, transcendent chorus, a whole novel’s-worth of poignancy in Sands’ recitation of the deadpan lyric: ‘Crazy Annie was a good time/To a boy named Joe/Crazy Annie wasn’t crazy/No, no, no, no.'” (https://aquariumdrunkard.com/2016/02/22/evie-sands-any-way-that-you-want-me/)

The whole album is full of “glorious sunny pop soul” (londonlee) and Aquarian Drunkard calls it “one of the most sublime and strikingly gorgeous albums of the period. . . . a post-Dusty in Memphis, post-Bobbie Gentry work of art, brimming with all the Sing-Songwriter Soul that Laura Nyro could strive for. (https://aquariumdrunkard.com/2016/02/22/evie-sands-any-way-that-you-want-me/)

As to Evie, Garwood Pickjon notes that “[b]eing somewhere between the soulful deliveries of the latter-day Dusty Springfield, and the melodic eclecticism of Carole King, with a touch of rootsy Americana, it’s not hard to see why Dusty herself, cites Evie Sands as her favourite female singer.” (https://popdiggers.com/evie-sands-anyway-that-you-want-me/)

Jason Ankeny tells us of Evie’s misadventures in the music industry:

Singer Evie Sands endured one of the more remarkable hard luck tales in pop music lore . . . . The Brooklyn-born Sands’ husky, soulful voice first attracted the attention of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller’s Blue Cat label in 1965, and upon signing with the company she entered the studio with the songwriting/production team of Chip Taylor and Al Gorgoni . . . to record her debut single, “Take Me for a Little While.” Prior to the record’s release, a test pressing was smuggled to executives at Chess Records, where Chicago soul singer Jackie Ross immediately cut her own version of the song . . . Chess’ marketing muscle assured that Ross’ cover began receiving the lion’s share of radio airplay . . . . The confusion and subsequent litigation severely hobbled Sands’ fledgling career, and her follow-up, 1966’s superb “I Can’t Let Go,” was lost in the mire; a year later, the song became a major international hit for the Hollies. Moving to the Cameo label, in 1967 Sands resurfaced with the Taylor -penned “Angel of the Morning”; despite heavy early airplay, within weeks of the single’s release Cameo went bankrupt, allowing Merilee Rush’s recording of the song to top the pop charts a few months later. In 1969 Sands finally notched a hit of her own with “Any Way That You Want Me,” also issuing an LP of the same name.


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