Look Out, I’m About to Get All Windham Hill On Your Ass
Posted on April 18, 2009 Posted by John Scalzi 32 Comments
Why? Because this is still the best version of “Time After Time” ever, that’s why:
Sadly for new age types everywhere, Windham Hill Records doesn’t appear to exist anymore — it got eaten by SonyBMG and everything directs to that company’s Legacy Records subsidiary. But Tuck & Patti are still out there doing their thing. I should try to see them live at some point.
Nooooo, say it isn’t so. Not Windham Hill.
Okay, my parents were REALLY REALLY REALLY big into New Age music, and you would not believe the number of David Lanz, David Arkenstone, Tingstad and Rumbel, Ray Lynch and Paul Speer albums my cilia have passed into the ear canal. In fact, my brainchill music is David Lanz’s Cristofori’s Dream album. So this news is actually a bit of a bummer for me. I shall dispatch my parents post-haste to reproduce my father’s new age collection.
(This fact always throws people who have seen the dark radiating from me and who know I’m Goffy McGoffersons, because for some reason some people can’t handle the idea that people might enjoy multiple genres. Teh shoxxor!)
But while I appreciate your appreciation of Tuck & Patti, and even though in many ways, I’m a very big fan of Cyndi, one of my favourite versions of this song is in Strictly Ballroom. (Sung by the girl who plays Fran.) I wanted to link it, but the versions on YouTube took out the weirdly charming intercuts between Fran and Scott dancing together, and the sad bits where his dad dances alone when nobody watches. *wrinkles nose*
Yes, Tuck & Patti are great in performance. But they’re much more jazz than New Age, and I never understood why they were on Windham Hill, not that it matters.
Personally, I’ve always been partial to this version of Time After Time, but I suspect we’re talking different things entirely…hmmm….
This was lovely, but I have to disagree — the incredible Eva Cassidy did the perfect version of this song. (Her take on “Over the Rainbow” makes me cry.) It breaks my heart that she died so young, but I’m deeply grateful to have her music in my life.
Maybe because its when I first heard the song and also saw the movie (rented VHS), I’ve always associated the two in my mind. Weird!
Another vote for Eva Cassidy. One of the great under-appreciated talents of our time, she had an absolutely stunning voice.
Have to disagree, the Hooters were better – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5HXnpEbq6c
Yet another voice of dissent. No one touches the version Cassandra Wilson did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ySVWeao57m8
I love the Eva Cassidy version as well, but there is just something about the way Wilson’s voice peaks and falls in this version that makes it perfect.
Sorry, you’re all wrong. That said, Eva Cassidy’s version of “Fields of Gold” blows away Sting’s version without even trying, and I’m a big fan of Cassandra Wilson.
I’ll agree with Eva Cassidy’s version of ‘Fields of Gold’ over Sting’s any day.
While this is a great version of ‘Time After Time’, I’m afraid I’ve got Cyndi Lauper’s version permanently stuck in my head as the definitive one…
Windham Hill – I have a few of their albums, mostly from Shadowfax (Shadowdance is an amazing piece of music:
TAT – Cyndi – no contest
FoG – Eva – also no contest; hell, there’s a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter that mentions Eva’s version of this song
I will say that the Hooters version of TAT was very good though. Probably because it’s the male vocal version of CL’s due to the Hooters being closely associated with her.
WADR, John, I found the T&P version too slow. A song about time needs a tick-tock beat.
I’ve never heard this version before, and while I really like it, I don’t think it’s definitive; I think this version and Cyndi’s are different pleasures for different moods.
In this version, the narrator actually knows what she’s talking about; she’s promising all that the song says from a position of experience. It’s profoundly moving.
Cyndi’s version is more innocent, almost like a teenager swearing eternal devotion to her first love. While we hope everything she says comes true, we know how the world tends to destroy such hopes; the narrator is innocent, eager, and (probably) doomed. It’s moving in its own, more tragic way.
At least that’s what I get from it. YMMV.
I agree that Cyndi’s take on it is hard to let go of…she co-wrote it after all, and there’s an angsty sincerity to it I love.
That said, Eva Cassidy’s version is amazing, like everything she does. I’m torn between the two really. And I agree with the comments on her version of ‘Fields of Gold’. The definition of a definitive version.
T&P and Cassandra Wilson’s version, both of which I’d never heard until just now, didn’t do it for me I’m afraid…maybe I’ve just heard Cyndi and Eva’s versions too many times to have those interpretations not sound…wrong.
“The best version of ‘Time After Time’ ever”
I’m going to have to disagree, too:
Of course, either matchbox twenty or Rob Thomas are dealbreakers for many people, but I am not one of those people. I saw them twice during my freshman year of college, both times at the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.
They covered “Mercy Mercy Me” at one of those same shows. Totally rad.
(note I’m also the sort of person who uses the words “totally” and “rad” both together and conversationally. This may provide context. Or not)
Have to agree with Bob @ 7, the Hooters version is one of the best.
Windham Hill is gone?? Say it ain’t so! Like PixelFish, it was the soundtrack of at least part of my youth, with my father establishing a library of their volumes from early on. Unfortunately, repeated exposure led me to eventually despise David Lanz and any project he was remotely attached to, but I confess to popping in one or two of their myriad Christmas albums still.
Windham Hill got a bad rap for plenty of good reasons. Tuck & Patti for example. However, I will often defend the label and its founder, Will Ackerman because he brought three great musicians to light, himself, George Winston and Michael Hedges.
Ackerman and Winston both can be traced back to John Fahey. But without the popular success of Windham Hill, Fahey may have completely faded after his short burst of popularity in the late sixties, early seventies. Fahey hated the link, but it was there, nonetheless.
Windham Hill also helped pay my bills for a long time as obviously many of your parents were the suckers in my record store buying up the New Age stuff every Friday and Sat. night during the VHS video rental rush. I would put that pap on and people would buy it on the spot, especially the Xmas music. hehehe
My vote, too, goes to Eva, though Miles Davis’ version is a strong second. And I have a soft spot for Cyndi’s version because (a) she helped create it and (b) for a sappy personal reason which I shall spare you all from exposure to.
#17 mentioned the force of nature known as Michael Hedges. His live version of “Along the Watchtower” has made me hit repeat more than any other tune. And yet it’s so different than his original stuff.
I’m off to check out some of the your links….
While I will agree that technically the vocals are much better and I like this arrangement better, I still overall prefer Cyndi’s version – her singing voice, for whatever reason, pushes one of my buttons…
another vote for the rob thomas/matchbox 20 version – its always been my favorite
I’m sad that Windham Hill Records has gone away, too.
I love Tuck & Patti’s version of this song. Singing along to their albums influenced my singing so much.
I saw them in concert…late 80s?… They were just an opening act and they blew it out of the park. Had a whole theater singing ‘Time after time’ with them. It was awesome.
I’m not a big fan of that thing they do where they throw a lot of “yeah” and “hey” and stuff into the chorus for variation, so I don’t agree that it’s the best version. I still prefer, oh, who was it, Cindy Lauper? But it is rather nice.
Sorry, Cyndi Lauper will always be the singer of “Time After Time” in my eyes. Eva Cassidy’s version is beautiful as well, but Lauper was my introduction to the song. It’s certainly in my top 5 favorite songs EVER.
Regarding the various opinions about the ‘definitive’ version of TAT: de gustibus non est disputandum. After you’ve filtered out the 90% of everything that is crap (mostly American Idol versions), the 10% that is left will all deserve recognition.
Personally, I prefer the Brains’ version of “Money Changes Everything”. CL made the money covering it, but Tom Gray wrote it.
Great topic, John. I’m loving the debates on TAT and Fields of Gold (Eva Cassidy blows me away). Tuck & Patti have been faves forever… two other covers of theirs that rock my world: As Time Goes By (Casablanca) and One Hand, One Heart (West Side Story). Lastly, it’s not Christmas in this household unless we’ve got the Windham Hill Christmas albums on the stereo.
Actually, I do like Winston’s Xmas album.
Lene, et al.
Thank you for writing about Eva Cassidy. Old as I am, I completely missed her. I just listened to “Over the Rainbow” on YouTube and was deeply moved.
So, I bought “Time After Time”.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
By the way, in spite of its reputation as a New Music label, Windham Hill actually started – I think in the 60’s or early 70’s – as a folk label.
I’ll agree with claire up above. T&P gave a concert at my college back in the early 90’s. Time after Time is my overriding memory of that concert — they had the audience separated into different harmony parts to sing along and it was just fantastic. But yes, I always thought of them as jazz more than new age, probably because that concert was part of a jazz series — David Benoit, Branford Marsalis (pre-Tonight Show). 5 bucks a seat. God I miss being a starving student LOL
I’m sorry to see Windham Hill gone too. Does anyone remember when Windham Hill records were filed under “Jazz” because no one knew where to put them, there not being a “New Age” category yet?
Will Ackerman, the founder of Windham Hill Records, is still active producing and recording the music of other artists: http://will-ackerman.com