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28 Jan 2017

Sandie Shaw “Reviewing The Situation” 1969 UK Folk,Pop,Rock








Sandie Shaw “Reviewing The Situation” 1969 UK Folk,Pop,Rock
full
Probably the most unusual album by British pop singer, who decided one day to perform their own version of rock and folk hits of the 1960s………. 

Sandie Shaw would be forever famous for winning the Euro Vision Song Contest in 1967 with “Puppet On A String”, which subsequently proved to be a number 1 hit in the UK. She ventured into a more seriously groovy direction on Reviewing The Situation (1969), covering songs by contemporary chartbusting artists like The Beatles, Rufus Thomas, Lovin’ Spoonful, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan. Her sensual voice and a strong, funky backing band add wonderful new cachet to already great originals. Reviewing The Situation was her last album of the sixties ánd seventies, now available on fresh vinyl for the first time since its original release……. 

On her last album of the ‘60s, Shaw proved that she was hipper than a lot of people would have suspected. Moving away from the usual light pop and MOR, she chose a set of covers heavy on material by the likes of Bob Dylan, the Lovin’ Spoonful, the Rolling Stones (“Sympathy for the Devil”!), Led Zeppelin’s “Your Time Is Gonna Come” (double exclamation point!), Donovan, Dr. John, and the Bee Gees. Which doesn’t mean it’s a great album. It’s thoughtfully arranged and energetically delivered, but Shaw’s slight, wispy voice is as ill-suited for some of the material as a nun is for the mosh pit. Hearing her attempt even the slightest hint of funky menace, as on “Sympathy for the Devil” and Dr. John’s “Mama Roux,” is apt to induce snickers, however heartfelt the endeavor might have been. On the other hand, there’s a nifty, slinky, jazzy cover of the Beatles’ “Love Me Do,” and her version of the Spoonful’s “Coconut Grove” is also good. [The 2004 CD reissue on EMI adds two bonus tracks: a cover of Paul McCartney’s “Junk”“ and "Frank Mills” from Hair.]…. by Richie Unterberger……… 

A great album in so many ways, the circumstances in which it came about were unfortunate. Sandie felt constrained by her record label, Pye, and her manager, Eve Taylor, who had their own ideas about how Sandie’s career should progress. There is also no reason to doubt that if Sandie had gone along with what they wanted, she could have had a very successful career for some years thereafter. However, Sandie had other ideas and recorded this album to show people what direction she really wanted for her career. This album, though released by Pye, effectively marked the end of her career with them and the end of Eve Taylor as Sandie’s manager. There were some further Pye singles, notably a cover of Rose garden, when it was unclear if Lynn Anderson’s own cover of the song (written by Joe South) would be a UK hit. I wonder if the soured relations between Sandie and Pye affected the chances of her version becoming the big hit instead of Lynn’s version. But back to this fascinating album. 

I’ll admit that I was confused the first time I played this album. It’s certainly not what one imagines when one thinks of Sandie’s previous albums and singles. However, it is her personal statement. The album as originally released (the first ten tracks here) are covers of songs by artists who Sandie thought were important to sixties music. No surprise, then, that the Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan are all represented. Beyond those, I noticed the omission of anything by the Beach Boys and any Motown songs, though R+B music is represented by Walkin’ the dog. The Bee Gees are represented, but by With the sun in my eyes - not the most obvious choice, even in 1969. Still, these were Sandie’s choices and whatever anybody might think about her choices, she performed them well. 

The original ten tracks are expanded to 20 here by including some tracks recorded for possible inclusion on the album, such as Fool on the hill (ultimately rejected, it seems, in favour of Love me do) and, as usual for this series, some A and B sides of singles released at around the time of the album (not Rose garden - that came later, in 1971). 

Sandie found other work after her Pye contract ended in 1972, only returning to the music business in the eighties after the Smiths, who confessed to being among Sandie’s fans, persuaded her to return, but that music is available elsewhere. The music here has been better appreciated in the years and decades since it was recorded than at the time. Enjoy it for what it is - nothing like Sandie’s earlier music. ….. 

“Reviewing the Situation” was Sandie Shaw’s last album released in the sixties. More than a decade would go before she, in 1982, released her next album, “Choose Life”. “Reviewing the Situation” was Shaw’s most ambitious album release so far, and also an attempt to escape the teenage pop-girl image. The sleeve notes tell that the album was partly recorded in secrecy as her managee would hardly have approved Shaw’s attempt at changing her image. 

Sandie Shaw produced herself, and the songs are a selection of her personal favorites, ranging really wide. Along with her highly competent band, she offers fine versions of songs that in most cases will be well-known in their original versions. 

Not all ten tracks on the album come out quite convincingly, but in most cases Shaw manages to give the songs something new and interesting. Among the very best to find a great version of Led Zeppelin’s “Your Time is Gonna Come” - great both vocally and instrumentally. Her version of the old “Walking the Dog” is probably the best version I have heard so far - I actually never thought very much of the song. Sandie’s version is very soulful. 
Also good versions of “Coconut Grove” (Lovin Spoonful), Donovan’s “Oh Gosh” and “Mama Roux” (Dr. John). Actually, only “Sympathy for the Devil” falls short for me - it simply fails to convince. 

On this edition 10 bonus tracks are added. The first two are very simply arranged versions “Frank Mills” (from Hair) and Paul McCartney’s “Junk”. Both convincingly performed - especially “Frank Mills” is a gem. ………… 

Side One: 
1.Reviewing The Situation 
2.Lay Lady Lay 
3.Mama Roux 
4.Sun In My Eyes 
5.Walking The Dog 

Side Two: 
1.Love Me Do 
2.Oh Gosh 
3.Your Time Is Gonna Come 
4.Coconut Grove 
5.Sympathy For The Devil 

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..