Nights At The Roundtable - Jim & Jean - 1968

Nights at the Roundtable with Folk/Husband-and-wife/duo Jim & Jean and their brief foray into the world of Pop and a track that reached 94 on the charts, People World released in 1968.

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The world of Top-40 Pop music, aside from being littered with good one-off intentions, is also littered with attempted style changes and their accompanying disastrous results.

Case in point; Jim & Jean who, in the early 60's, were one of the hottest duos on the Folk scene. Associated with such luminaries as Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Ian & Sylvia and a virtual who's who of others, they rode the crest of a very influential wave until 1968 when things up and changed and Folk music, if it wasn't steeped in struggle and protest, was regarded as quaint and out of step.

Attempting to break out and find a larger audience the thought was struck to attempt going in a Pop direction. For their third album they largely broke with the traditional fare they were known for and went in a direction that embraced Sunshine Pop, traces of Psychedelia and an occasional nod in the direction of Middle-Of-The-Road.

The end result was People World, of which tonight's post is the title track of the album. Issued in 1968 when music was rapidly leaving top-40 behind and the world of Sunshine Pop had more or less left the building a year earlier, the title-track single made it as high as 94 on the charts and then disappeared. The abrupt change in direction proved disastrous and the fallout was Jim & Jean split up, musically as well as matrimonially and the duo that had such a promising start became another one of Pop's great breakups.

Sadly, there was one reunion in 2006 but Jean Ray (the former Mrs. Glover) was ill and it would be her last performance before her death in 2007.

In the years since, Jim & Jean have been re-discovered and most of their material, including this album, have been reissued to a new audience and new popularity. History has been kinder than it was at the time, but still you have to wonder what might have happened had they not made the detour and kept with what they did best.

You could probably say that about a lot of acts.

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