We have to confess that we didn’t spot this was with the Royal Liverpool Phil — we slapped it on and played it a few times, but Black’s 60s hits sound a little cheesy (see below), so the new orchestral arrangements didn’t initially sound out of place.
Black was a singer first and foremost, and a cool one, too: she was championed by her friends in the Beatles, and her Anyone Who Had A Heart and You’re My World reached number one in the UK in 1964. She had 11 top 10 hits on the British charts between then and 1971.
Now she’s better remembered as a “personality” and presenter of television shows, neither of which is going to get her remembered once fans of Blind Date have shuffled off the mortal coil. Presumably her family wants her back to being known as a singer — produced by George Martin at Abbey Road Studios, at one time she was up there with the likes of Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, Sandie Shaw and Marianne Faithfull, and they are all still famed as singers, their reputation intact (though bank balances presumably lighter) after a life-time of avoiding tacky television shows.
The album features three newly-recorded duets, with Cliff Richard, Sheridan Smith and Rebecca Ferguson. There is a previously unreleased vocal take from Cilla for her version of Van Morrison’s Have I Told You Lately.
She also covers three Lennon-McCartney songs (all top 10 hits): It’s for You, Love Of The Loved and Step Inside Love. The latter has been recorded with the original session version, which features Paul McCartney on guitar.
Is it any good? The songs are all decent, but Black is — as we suspect her family know — too strongly lodged in people’s heads to be judged as a singer pure and simple; it’s impossible to hear without getting “lorra lorra laughs” stuck in your head at the same time and who wants that?
Which is a shame, because it’s a nice collection of songs and she has a voice that — if she was more cool — would be admired and called waif-like.
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