Dory Previn – Beware of Young Girls (1970)

A cautionary tale for married women, this lovely ballad is an attack on Mia Farrow (“wistful and pale of twenty and four, delivering daisies with delicate hands”) who, according to the song, wormed her way into Previn’s affections in order to steal her husband – who just happened to be Andre Previn.

Rather than simply detail the facts as they happened, Previn turns her pain into a kind of mystical folk-waltz, full of archaic turns of phrase and haunting imagery. As with death ballads, you could be forgiven for thinking that the young girl in question is a ghost.

What I love most about it is that Previn transforms something that was probably as banal and predictable as all affairs and marriage break-ups into something magical and otherworldly.

I particularly like the bit towards the end where she predicts just how this new relationship will end.

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About Paul Saxton

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