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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Audio Beaverhausen: Ronnie Spector's English Heart

Ronnie Spector returns with her first new album in years. Its title is English Heart and it displays Ronnie's affinity with the British people and theirs with her.

The album has its hits and misses. It wallows in its conceit as well as in occasional self-pity but fails to ever congeal into a satisfactory whole.

The album's 11 tracks have different producers and arrangers for one thing,  Although it opens with a cover of Lulu's "Oh Me, Oh My, I'm a Fool for You, Baby," a soft ballad that Ronnie does beautifully, many of the productions seem too spare to suit her voice.

Ronnie, still sounding sultry, a mixture of toughness and vulnerability, suits most songs on this album of covers very well. "I'd Much Rather Be with the Girls," a song by The Rolling Stones, is a stand-out. It was written by Spector's long-time pal and Connecticut neighbor, Keith Richards.

While past producers would usually harken back, imitating Phil Spector's Wall of Sound, the 11 producers of English Heart scrupulously avoid it. The problem is that the tension between Ronnie's voice and the music brings out the best in her. Still, almost undiminished by age (Ronnie is now 72), she's in fine form vocally on this new effort.

For that reason alone, give it a listen!

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