One Track Mind: Kenny Loggins, with Jim Messina – "Two of Us" (2009)

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By Nick DeRiso

“Two Of Us,” the old Beatles album cut, is reborn — as is a long-ago relationship — in the hands of this pair of early 1970s-era country-rock stars.

Part of a new Disney children’s album “All Join In,” the tune is actually one of two by the Beatles (the other being a slightly touched-up “All Together Now”) included — along with a pair of Loggins originals (“Long Tailed Cat,” “Moose N’ Me”), Randy Newman’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (from the original “Toy Story”), the Del Vikings’ 1950s classic “Come Go With Me,” and others.

But it’s “Two Of Us,” featuring Kenny Loggins’ first recorded work with Jim Messina in decades, that charms the most. The remake, which begins with some children laughing, plays a bit faster than the original, but retains the pastoral, friendly camaraderie of Paul McCartney’s 1969 composition, which opened the Beatles’ finale, “Let It Be.”

It’s fun to hear Loggins weaving inside and then outside of the woody, warm vocals so long associated with Messina — who’d already produced and played with Buffalo Springfield before forming the partnership with Loggins, and was also with Poco.

As “Two of Us” nears its end, a joyful Messina adds: “Hey, Kenny, let’s take it home!,” to the sounds of a plucky banjo. A merry kazoo takes the place of John Lennon’s memorable whistle, and there is a fun, connective interplay that recalls their long-ago successes before Loggins left for a decidedly more pop-oriented solo career (“Whenever I Call You Friend,” “This is It,” soundtrack work on “Caddyshack,” “Top Gun” and “Footloose”).

More recently, Loggins has turned to kids’ music, and he’s made quite a late-career splash. His album “Return to Pooh Corner” is, in fact, the best-selling children’s album of the last 20 years.

With “Two Of Us,” however, he’s found an entry point for young and old alike — and a reason to rekindle his on-again, off-again relationship with Messina.

Since the release of “All Join In,” Loggins and Messina have begun a reunion tour (their first since 2005), with dates through the Deep South this week and continuing out west through November.

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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