Ultimate Helen Shapiro: Emi Years Import
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Top Customer Reviews
To make it worse, whatever song she recorded was given the same treatment - a noisy backing group and dance hall band thumping out the beat on tin drums. Too much woh, woh, woh, oh yea, yea, drum roll and bang, bang, bang! Music was changing but like IBM rejecting the PC, EMI was not going to change its format which had been around since WW2. La Mer (Beyond the Sea) which should have been sung as a slow retrospective poem with minimal background accompaniment evoking the sea washing up on the shore and allowing us to hear her remarkable voice, was hammered out with a fast bang, bang, bang accompaniment as if she was in a competition with Bobby Darin to finish up and catch the last bus home.
My taste does not run to belters. I cringe at Celine Dion and her clones holding a note at the top of their lungs. Although I am not a Sinatra fan, I must give him credit for knowing how to present a torch song. Helen's arrangers should have listened to Sinatra. Too many of the songs on this 60's collection were bellowed out in an attempt to get above the band. BUT, thankfully, not all - fortunately, she possessed a magnificent voice and some of the arrangements, Something Wonderful, Will You Still Love me Tomorrow, My Calendar are more to my taste.Read more ›
Having said that, there are some gems in here - over 30 excellent or very good songs, and for the price thats good value. It's a pity Helen didn't have a better producer who gave her far better material to suit her strong voice. The Beatles did write "Misery" especially for her, but her producer didn't even mention this to her. I think she would have made a real song of it. The Rarities CD was a pleasant surprise and contains songs which begin to show what she was capable of.
However, the three CDs are crisp and clear with a wide range of material supplied. The remastering has resulted in excellent sound quality and clarity of voice. I liked the notes in the booklet supplied, but would have appreciated the dates of the original recordings to have been shown in the cover notes. For the quality of her voice and the overall sound of these CDs I give it 4 stars. Its just sad that she wasn't given better material to work with.
This set is divided into categories, which are sometimes arbitrary. The first CD is titled Singles and features the A sides of Helen's own hits, but is not limited to them as they only occupy the first dozen tracks. Her first four UK hits were also her biggest, with two of them (You don't know, Walking back to happiness) going all the way to number one and the other two (Don't treat me like a child, Tell me what he said) making the top three. After that, she had just one more top ten hit (Little Miss Lonely) and six minor hits, ending with a cover of Fever (Peggy Lee). The rest of the first CD no doubt includes failed singles.
The second CD is titled Hits of the 60's and features covers of other people's songs. It was common in those days for people to record cover versions, and I, for one, am just as happy to listen to covers of proven songs as to original songs. It is clear from other reviews that a lot of people don't like cover versions, but I knew that years ago. Helen recorded so many covers that you'll find more elsewhere in this set, as you'll see from the track listings of CD 1 and CD 3.
The third CD is titled Rarities, but I'm not sure if they all fit that category. Helen was the first singer to record It's my party (a few months before Lesley Gore) but it has been released on CD before on more than one occasion. It is included here because it was part of an album (Helen in Nashville) that appears in its entirety here in this set. The two tracks released as a single (Not responsible, Woes is me) are on CD 1, while the rest of the tracks from that album form the first ten tracks on CD 3.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In addition to her own hits I enjoyed her versions of some 60's classics and blues numbers.Published 3 days ago by Robert Wand
Helen Kate can stand tall with this collection of her songs. She is one of great female singers of her time.Published 18 days ago by GJ SPICER
What an unsung artist here in the U.S. Helen, like Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark all had big hits overseas, but she never really hit here in the states. Read morePublished on November 25, 2013 by Beatle Guy
For anyone that wants to hear a fabulous voice and great songs, look no further. Helen Shapiro may be unknown in the US but she should have been a huge international star. Read morePublished on July 15, 2013 by Pogodog
A great release of many of Helens earlier recordings on one set. Helen who in my mind was probably the Queen of British Rock has a wonderful voice. Read morePublished on July 31, 2012 by pete