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Olivia Newton-John & Friends - A Celebration In Song (2008) Retail CD
It seems that most of Olivia Newton-John's releases of the last few years have either been for charity or are part of something else she's trying to sell. Don't get me wrong, they've mostly been very good. It's just that it would be nice if she found a batch of songs she liked and made a 'proper' album, that's all.
That ACIS is as good as it is, we should probably be grateful for, because it doesn't sound like that much effort has gone into it's making! Take the inclusion of two tracks from her shocking 2002 Aussie duets album '(2)'. I mean, considering the many wonderful duets O has recordedmore… over her lengthy career, why were these, two of the worst tracks on the album, chosen? Keith Urban, once one of the hottest names in country music, once, I said, joins O on the loathsome 'Sunburned Country', a startlingly badly written 'homage' to their homeland, rendered even more ludicrous by their both living in LA most of their professional lives! the horrid thing lasts nearly 6 minutes and is poorly performed by O and Urban.
'Never Far Away' with Richard Marx is even worse. A vile, tuneless, warbly monstrosity that never kicks off in it's seemingly endless 4 and a half minutes. I mean, if she was going to pinch songs from '(2)', why didn't she pick the Darren Hayes or Human Nature ones? They're at least bearable.
Amy Sky, more of a life partner than songwriter to Olivia these days, produces the album and has written some of the songs. Her only vocal performance is on the traditional 'The Water Is Wide' with Olivia and RyanDan. It's a bit of a mish-mash, no focus at all, just too many trembly voices on one song. Sky contributes 'Angel In The Sky', for Olivia and Jann Arden. It's pleasant enough but like much of the album, cliches rain down like confetti. There's much talk of 'not giving up', 'finding faith' and 'walking on', the latter a reference, one amongst many, to the Great Walk To Beiijing, which O recently completed in aid of her Cancer Centre Appeal.
Melinda Schneider, a name new to me, gives us 'Courageous' (told you!), a lovely song made even better by her sweet voice. It's awful to say, but when Olivia joins her on the second verse, she actually spoils it! It sounds like Olivia recorded her part on the Great Walk, so hoarse and flat she sounds. Her 'walk ons' on the chorus are pitifully weak.
She's in better form with Cliff on 'Find A Little Faith'. They've always worked well together and this is actually one of their better efforts, believe it or not. Her duet with Barry Gibb, 'The Heart Knows' is Bee Gees by numbers, though, and the song sounds like it's been cut short for some reason.
'Reckless' with John Farrar has long been a fan fave and a song we'd hoped Olivia would cover. Now she has and it's... OK. Certainly not bad, but like much of ACIS, there's something missing.
Two of the brighter moments come in 'Isn't It Amazing' with Sun and 'Right Here With You' with Delta Goodrem. The former is the sweet pop Olivia used to rule at and the latter, cliches to one side, is one of the few duets here where the artists really blend together and put their backs into it.
And that's largely it. As I said, it's probably better than it has to be, and it's certainly better than '(2)', but it would be nice if next time Olivia took a little more time and care. I appreciate there was limited time in putting this out along with the walk, but Olivia really shouldn't be skimping on her talent this way. And do a proper album now, please, Olivia!
|1||Right Here With You (with Delta Goodrum)|
|2||Find A Little Faith (with Cliff Richard)|
|3||Courageous (with Melinda Schneider)|
|4||The Heart Knows (with Barry Gibb)|
|5||Everything Love Is (with Jimmy Barnes)|
|6||Isn't It Amazing (with Sun Ho)|
|7||Never Far Away (with Richard Marx)|
|8||Sunburned Country (with Keith Urban)|
|9||Reckless (with John Farrar)|
|10||Angel In The Wings (with Jann Arden)|
|11||The Water Is Wide (with Amy Sky and Ryandan)|
|12||Beautiful Thing (with Belinda Emmett)|
- Olivia Newton-John & Friends - A Celebration In Song (2008) Retail CD
- 1431 x 1392 px
- 464 KB
- 179 (0 today)
- 11/09/08 by Viking2008
- Quality Rating:
Rated 4 of 5 (1 votes). Click CDs to vote!