sábado, 4 de julio de 2009

Samantha Jones: Surrounded By a Ray of Sunshine - The UA Recordings (1964-1968)

Though Samantha Jones achieved some success, her powerful voice and her catalogue of great songs should have made her one of Britain’s biggest stars of the ‘60s. Some think the one-time key member of the Vernons Girls might even have been a potential rival to Dusty Springfield, had things gone right, but somehow she never made the cut. This collection gathers 20 tracks from her 1964-68 stint with United Artists, concentrating on the classic singles Samantha recorded during that era, with a few LP cuts, a previously unreleased 1964 version of ‘As Long As You're Happy’ and a rare swinging Ford Cars promotional single called ‘Ford Leads the Way’. These sides, produced and mainly written by the king of the UK girl sound Charles Blackwell, are noteworthy, among other reasons, for their inventive pop/rock-soul-orchestral sound. Samantha's 1964 debut single, ‘It's All Because of You,’ is stunning and strange for the time with its ghostly echoing percussive rattles, ominous melody, and brilliant orchestration. Francoise Hardy fans should note that the 1965 cuts ‘Don't Come Any Closer’ and ‘Just Call and I'll Be There’ are the English originals of tunes subsequently covered by Hardy in French. The arrangements of Jones' versions are pretty close to the Hardy ones, unsurprisingly since Blackwell was also Hardy's producer. Also here is the Phil Spector sound-alike ‘I Deserve It,’ recorded in New York in 1965 and arranged by ex-Spector arranger Arnold Goland. Other highlights on the set are the very strange 'Shoes', a version of Betty Everett's 'Chained to a Memory', 60's pop dancers 'And Suddenly' and 'Go Ahead', both produced by Mark Wirtz, and a strange funky version of ‘Can't Take My Eyes off of You' but the stand out track has got to be the title track 'Surrounded By a Ray of Sunshine' which was another one of the blue eyed 45's which became a regular spint at the Wigan Casino. Not exactly Northern Soul in the real sense, but a great '60s pop tune. Samantha later retreated to more of an MOR style in the ‘70s. I must add that Samanta Jones is is one of my favourite Brit Girls of the '60s. http://www.modculture.co.uk/, http://www.allmusic.com/

Samantha Jones performs 'It's All Because of You' on Ready Steady Go! (1964):

Samantha singing 'You've Made Me So Very Happy' on The Two Ronnies, ca. 1972:

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