Friday, 1 June 2018

Ronnie Spector - English Heart (2016)



Released April 2016

At the age of 72, Ronnie Spector recorded this excellent album paying a nostagic tribute to her favourite “British Explosion” pop hits of the mid 1960s. What a great job she does too. Her iconic voice is instantly recognisable, but the production is not “wall of sound”, as one might expect, but often quiet and laid back, at other times upbeat and almost funky. There is a whole lot of different musical backing on here and the sound quality is immaculate, as, of course, is Ronnie’s vocal delivery. In true sixties style, it is a short album of eleven “single” length tracks, but therein lies its appeal. Some of these albums can go on too long. This one is a pleasant half an hour of nostalgia with a well known voice but a slightly different approach.

The songs are all familar, but they are comparatively “reinvented” on this album and get a new, fresh appeal. The Beatles’ “I’ll Follow The Sun” is quite delightful and The Kinks’ “Tired Of Waiting” is a vibrant re-working. The Walker Brothers’ “You’ve Got Your Troubles” has an almost reggae backing and a wah-wah guitar such as was used on Bob Marley’s “Catch A Fire”. The cover of The Rolling Stones’ rarity, “I’d Much Rather Be With The Girls", features The Ronettes, which is nice to hear. “Tell Her No” and “Because” are excellent too, the latter being one of the songs that actually does have a bit of a Ronettes feel. Sandie Shaw’s “Girl Don’t Come” mixes a sixties vibe with a shuffling, mysterious modern rock beat, and The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Misunderstood” is energetic and enjoyable.

In fact it all is. Just a very enjoyable album. Yes, one can argue, as is always the case with these type of covers albums, that the originals are the only way to hear these songs, but I disagree. This album breathes a new, different life into these old songs. Simple thing is, you just can’t beat Ronnie’s voice, even at 72.

B+

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