This LP works on a couple of levels. For one, I read at least one blog review online where the writer always wanted to sample Ray’s material, but found the size of the catalog too daunting. So, if you’re looking for the “door” towards some of the most marvelous pop songs ever written, you could do a lot worse than starting here. These are by no means definitive versions, but it’s easy to understand that replacing the originals was never the intent. Second, the songs chosen here that actually work with choral arrangements do so extremely well. Among those, “See My Friends” is the most surprising standout. “Waterloo Sunset” obviously lends itself well with those high angelic “ooh la la’s” you may remember from the original. Choices like “Village Green” “Big Sky” and “Shangri-La” are also given interesting workouts that are for the most part, impressive.
It also does not work on a couple of levels. Some curious song choices are ill suited for the treatment, and I get the feeling that they were not chosen with the project’s best interests in mind. Among those are “All Day And All Of The Night” , “You Really Got Me” and “Victoria”. On an LP that that contains some obscure Kinks chestnuts, you get the sinking feeling that someone aligned with the project felt that more “star power” presence was needed. Too bad, because it only serves to detract from the rest of it. Same thing goes for another couple of choices here that start out exciting, but regretfully fall back on their traditional “rock” arrangements midway through. It happens on “Days”, “Do You Remember Walter”, and on a couple of others.
It’s almost as if someone backed off on the concept midway through it. It’s a shame, because with a little faith and some steadfast loyalty to the spirit of the project it could have been great
seven weeks at # 1
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Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – January 1983 (Volume 14, Number 8)
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