A U.K.-ONLY LP IS NOW IN THE STATES ON CD
Thomas C. Rizzo, Jr. | Largo, Florida | 09/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"At the time this LP was originally released in the U.K., Clark was having contractual problems with her label here in the U.S., so this never had a Stateside issue - and what a pity, because it would have established her as a successful "contemporary adult" artist and allowed her to finally put to rest her 1960s "pop" image. Any one of the 12 tracks here could have been released as a single and put her back at the top of the charts. The opening song, "The Gypsy", is from the pen of Gordon Lightfoot, and - like so many of his compositions - unfolds as a fairy tale-like story, with Clark and background chorus weaving a spell much like that of the title character herself. The best of the lot here are covers - but not copies - of such hits as "Killing Me Softly", "I Can See Clearly Now", "Without You", and "Until It's Time for You to Go", and the listener will be hard-pressed to recall the originals after hearing Clark's interpretations. And what a remarkable blend of styles exists among the rest of the offerings here! There's more than a touch of 40s "doo-wop" in her rendition of Charles Aznavour's "In the Old Fashioned Way" (the first English-language version recorded); two medleys - Bread's "Baby I'm a Want You/"Everything I Own" and "Here Comes That Rainy Day Feeling"/"If You Could Read My Mind" - each combine seemingly disparate tunes and make them sound like obvious combinations; a lushly-orchestrated "Till" that has surely been played at a wedding or two; and with "Half As Much" and the self-penned title tune, Clark gave herself a chance to sing the American "country"-style music she enjoyed - and for which she had a natural affinity. Arrangement credits are shared mostly by Tommy Oliver, John D'Andrea, and Frank Owens - Clark's concert accompanist at the time - and all obviously recognized her strengths and knew how to capitalize on them. This should go into your shopping cart immediately - you won't be disappointed."
Petula in top form singing mostly covers
Peter Durward Harris | Leicester England | 04/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Apart from the title track, which Petula co-wrote, this album is filled with covers of some of Petula's favorite songs of the era. Petula clearly loved the music of Gordon Lightfoot, as he is represented by The gypsy, which opens this set, and by a medley of Here comes that rainy day feeling again and If you could read my mind. There is also a Bread medley, made up of Baby I'm a want you and Everything I own.In the old fashioned way is the English translation of a Charles Aznavour song. Although Charles eventually recorded the song in English himself, Petula was the first to do so. Killing me softly, a huge hit for Roberta Flack, was apparently inspired by a Don McLean concert. Half as much is a Hank Williams classic that became a pop hit for Rosemary Clooney in the fifties. Until it's time for you to go, written by Buffy Sainte-Marie, is usually associated with Elvis Presley. I can see clearly now was written by reggae singer Johnny Nash, although Petula sings it her way.While not essential, this is a fine album that will be appreciated by Petula's fans everywhere. It should also appeal to those uncommitted fans who like these songs and enjoy listening to cover versions."