Live It Up!: Bayswater Beat Girls 1964-1967 (Ace CDTOP 1550)
The seventh release in a series which has previously had both geographical (Spain, Sweden, Hungary and Marylebone) and record company (Decca and Pye) overlays is, to quote its liner notes, a collection of "hand-picked '60s she-pop from Philips, Fontana & Mercury". Astutely compiled by Mick Patrick, it is another winner, full of sublime delights from familiar and more obscure singers. In the former category, cover star Dusty Springfield is represented by a couple of songs that rarely get an outing, Philadelphia soul man Leon Huff’s Live It Up and Ed Cobb’s soulful call and response song Heartbeat. Clare Torry – who memorably and wordlessly wailed her way to fame on Pink Floyd’s Great Gig In The Sky – impresses with the self-penned The Music Attracts Me; brassy actress Diana Dors plays it straight and makes a surprisingly good job of Les Reed and Barry Mason’s So Little Time; and Jenny Wren – recently sighted On Britain’s Got Talent performing AC/DC’s Highway To Hell – impresses more as a 16-year-old, with both sides of her 1966 Fontana debut single, Chasing My Dream All Over Town and The Thought Of You. A 28-page booklet is crammed – natch – with a plethora of background information and illustrations.
The Bell Years 1972-1974 (7T’s GLAMBOX 173)
Catapulted to fame by his starring role in familial sitcom The Partridge Family, David Cassidy simultaneously started a highly successful and hectic recording career both with The Partridge Family and in a solo capacity. This new clamshell-clad collection from 7T’s concentrates on his solo work, anthologising his first three studio albums – Cherish (1972), Rock Me Baby (1972) and Dreams Are Nuthin’ More Than Wishes (1973) – and Cassidy Live World Tour (1974). Sound song choices and tight production – primarily from Wes Farrell – ensured the albums’ success, and they have aged pretty well, with Cassidy’s husky vocals set against slick instrumental tracks conveying melodic pop tunes. Among the best are The Association cover and first album title track Cherish; producer Farrell’s pretty Could It Be Forever; a dramatic reading of Dusty Springfield hit How Can I Be Sure; and Ricky’s Tune, an early example of Cassidy’s own composing skills. The polished nature of the studio albums contrasts somewhat with the more raucous concert recordings on Cassidy Live, although the eponymous singer holds his own against an audience of hysterical teenagers, and even managed to have a hit with his live take on The Beatles’ Please Please Me. Accompanied by a booklet featuring extensive background information and memorabilia, the set contains 50 songs, with just a trio of bonus tracks.
Old Home Town/Letter To Home/It’s Just A Matter Of Time (Morello QMRLL 92D)
After 20 years and 38 albums with Capitol, country legend Glen Campbell relocated to the Atlantic American label in 1982, and released a trio of albums there which - although they failed to make any impression on the pop charts - returned him to his country roots and were critically acclaimed. 1982’s Old Home Town opens with David Pomeranz’s lilting title track and draws a mournful string-swathed vocal from Campbell while old pal and long-time collaborator Jimmy Webb’s I Was Too Busy Loving You is uplifting, with the only wobble coming on the closing track, Paul McCartney & Wings’ cover Mull Of Kintyre, which Campbell chose to celebrate his Scottish heritage, and on which he not only sings but also plays bagpipes. More stripped back and folksier, 1984’s Letter To Home includes JD Souther’s beautiful Faithless Love; a very effective country adaptation of Stevie Nicks’ solo US Top 40 hit, After The Glitter Fades; and a version of the patriotic American Trilogy that gives Elvis Presley’s version a run for its money. It’s Just A Matter Of Time opens with the title track, a serviceable if undynamic retread of Brook Benton’s 1950s hit; a very pretty version of James Thornton’s strophic oft-recorded ballad When You Were Sweet Sixteen and a trio of Jimmy Webb songs. All three Atlantic albums have been out of physical catalogue for some time, and make their CD debut on this two disc set, which also includes the rare bonus cut, They Still Dance To Waltzes In England.