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with Jesus

By David Werther.

Julian Lennon and James Scott Cook, Lucy (<> 2009)

           One day the son of a brilliant songwriter brought home a picture from nursery school. His father asked him what it was and he replied, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” Julian Lennon’s classmate, Lucy O’Donnel Vodden, was the girl up in the air. She passed away from lupus at age 46 on September 22, 2000. In the last years of Vodden’s life, Julian Lennon reconnected with her, and learned of her death while working on background vocals for a song by James Scott Cook entitled “Lucy.” Coincidentally, Cook’s grandmother, also named Lucy, suffered from lupus. These coincidences lead to a song rewrite, which became a duet between Julian Lennon and James Scott Cook, celebrating the lives of the two Lucys. The Norfolk Daily News reports Lennon as saying that the new song was an effort to “honor that sort of innocence and simplicity of a child playing and remembering those kinds of times.”

           Cook and Lennon more than succeeded. Bono once said that writing a single was an art form. If so, it is appropriate to call “Lucy” a masterpiece. It is an instantly likeable up-tempo tune, full of childhood images conveyed with appropriately simple lyrics, eliciting feelings of warmth and comfort. The verses picture a little girl walking hand-in-hand with her girlfriends, playing, laughing and smiling. In the chorus, Cook and Lennon sing, “We still love you Lucy,” and then Lennon follows up with, “You know I do.” Shifting from first person plural to singular effectively emphasizes the singer’s sincerity.

           The EP Lucy consists of four songs: the studio version of the title track, followed by an out-take, “Sober,” from a forthcoming Cook CD, an acoustic version of Lucy, and a selection titled “Beautiful” from a forthcoming Lennon CD. Two versions of “Lucy” are not too much. The song is so infectious and endearing that one would hit “replay” after the first version of it, were there not another one on the way. Cook’s “Sober,” sandwiched between the two versions of “Lucy,” fits well with the overall pop-rock feel of Lucy, and its darker and adult focus provides contrast to the exuberance of “Lucy.” Lennon’s “Beautiful” is a slow-moving tribute to one who has passed on, a fitting ending to the EP.

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