Guide to British Music of the 1960s

October 2017

CD Review: PP Arnold - The Turning Tide

 

This album was almost 50 years in the making and the wait was well worth it. PP Arnold (Pat Arnold) had arrived in the UK from her native Los Angeles in 1966 as part of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. Ian Stewart of the Rolling Stones had recommended to Andrew Loog Oldham that he signed her as a solo artist to his new Immediate label. She made two LPs for Immediate and had a number of hit singles as well as singing backing vocals for other artists such as the Small Faces. However, when Immediate folded in the late 1960s, PP Arnold was left without a record label. Someone in a similar position was Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees who took her back into the studio to record a number of tracks. However, Robert Stigwood was spending more time with the Bee Gees as they got back together and the tracks were left on the shelf. Enter Eric Clapton who took PP Arnold back into the studio with the Delaney & Bonnie band for what would become the first studio recordings for Derek & the Dominoes. Again, these did not see the light of day before she recorded more tracks with Caleb Quayle.

Almost fifty years later these superb tracks were resting on record company shelves when PP Arnold and manager Sally Craddock negotiated a legal minefield to put together the album. Although there were three distinct sessions, the 13 tracks fit together extremely well. Although there is a mix of styles from rock to blues and soul and lots of gospel touches and the tracks were recorded in three separate sessions they are one body of work. Of course the glue that holds everything together is Pat's incredible soul voice which can range from the velvet similar to Dusty Springfield to a more raunchy rock vocal. They are a mix of cover versions and originals including some written by Barry Gibb. Arnold had previously recorded the Bee Gees track To Love Somebody for her second LP Kafunta which is how Gibb became aware of her powerful soul voice.

Amongst the tracks recorded with Barry Gibb are the standards Spinning Wheel and You've Made Me So Very Happy and the soft, soulful voice makes them sound very different to their originals. Alongside these are some original songs by Gibb including Bury Me Down by the River.

However, the Gibb tracks were sidelined when manager Robert Stigwood got he brothers working together again but he did line up Arnold with another act on his roster Eric Clapton. PP Arnold opened for Clapton on his tour with Delaney & Bonnie and George Harrison. She then went into the studio and recorded three covers, the Stones' You Can't Always Get What You Want, Traffic's Medicated Goo and Van Morrison's Brand New Day. These proved to be great versions of well-known tracks with different styles but again they remained unreleased as it was felt they were uncommercial. Judge for yourself ho good they sound.

Undeterred, Pat went back into the studio with guitarist Caleb Quaye to record further tracks including If You Were My World and Children of the Last War. and these also remained on the shelf. Next a personal tragedy forced Pat to withdraw from public life for some time and the recordings were largely forgotten until 2017.

Fortunately, the tracks are now available and they are a revelation. They sound fresh and they are a wonderful showcase for Pat's voice while the backing artists and the production ensure a very high quality production. This is a single body of work that ties together extremely well despite being recorded in three separate phases. Furthermore, The Turning Tide is probably better than what Pat recorded for Immediate.

Kundalini Music KNDCD2

CD Release: 6 October 2017

Essential Tracks

  • Born
  • You Can't Always Get What You Want
  • Children of the Last War

Track Listing

  1. Medicated Goo
  2. Born
  3. If This Were My World
  4. High and Windy Mountain
  5. Spinning Wheel
  6. Bury Me Down by the River
  7. Children of the Last War
  8. Brand New Day
  9. The Turning Tide
  10. You've Made Me So Very Happy
  11. Give a Hand, Take a Hand
  12. Happiness
  13. You Can't Always Get What You Want

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