Beautiful Sounds: The Petula Clark Songbook
(2000/CASTLE) 25 tracks, unique compilation of songs composed and sung by Petula Clark!
Now That You've Gone
You're The One
Just Say Goodbye
Where Did We Go Wrong?
There Goes My Love, There Goes My Life
The Show Is Over
Here Comes The Morning
On The Path Of Glory
Love Is Here
I've Got Love Going For Me
Everytime I See A Rainbow
Look To The Sky
Love Is The Only Thing
Things Bright & Beautiful
The World Song
Looking At Life
Close Your Eyes
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This CD contains 25 of the dozens of songs written or co-authored by the sensual, romantic Petula Clark who was in my opinion the best female composer of popular music; superior to the more highly acclaimed song writers Carol King and Joni Mitchell. Her decision to write under an alias (Al Grant) is a major reason Petula is not more highly regarded as a composer. She relied on others such as Tony Hatch and Jackie Trent to create most of her English hits, and concentrated her efforts in composing songs that she enjoyed, most of which were not within the main stream of contemporary popular music, and thus were not destined to become commercially successful. In music she had a one track mind, as over 90% of the songs she recorded since 1960 are love songs. Most of her musical compositions are both intricate and sensitive, and many of her songs are characterized by a rich blend of jazz and pop. Perhaps her best compositions and recordings create an eerie / haunting mood. She reveals a great deal in many of the personal songs she composed.
This CD consists of songs recorded when Petula Clark was at her peak, displaying her flawless vocals and elegant, impeccable interpretations. Her ability to shift from soft and subdued to intense and dramatic within a song is incredible. Pet smoothly and flawlessly changed keys and varied the dramatic intensity within a song. She had perhaps better control of her voice than any other female pop singer. The Pet sound was unique. It had a pure, very light, and airy quality combined with an elegant and rich sound which no other female singer has ever surpassed.
Pet's compositions were extremely versatile and her musical arrangements and brilliant vocals created a wide array of effects including romantic, soft, subdued, light, sad, tragic, eerie / haunting, serious, and happy.
Dramatic Songs Creating A Beautiful, Eerie / Haunting Effect:
Close Your Eyes is a fantastic song with eerie music and brilliant, jazzy vocal gyrations which no other singer could adequately cover; one of the best recordings by a female vocalist of the twentieth century. There Goes My Love, There Goes My Life is a great song, superb vocals, brilliantly interpreted. Things Bright And Beautiful has a delicate musical arrangement and Pet's fantastic vocals, creating a sad, haunting mood. Now That You've Gone is another outstanding song brilliantly interpreted by Petula. Where Did We Go Wrong and Just Say Goodbye are two more very good songs which beautifully create an eerie / depressing atmosphere. Many people who like Petula Clark prefer her light, upbeat songs, but in my opinion her heavy dramatic songs are her best English recordings.
Special People is an outstanding, sensitive song, which was ahead of its time. Look To The Sky is a beautiful mid-tempo song which creates a sad mood. Every time I See A Rainbow, has a calm, gentle melody and sensitive lyrics. Beautiful Sounds is an intense song in which Pet's complex vocal gyrations masterfully create an uncomfortable shifting of effects from pleasant to weird / psychedelic. Here Comes The Morning which creates a sad mood and Love Is Here are very good, personal songs.
Dramatic / Personal:
On The Path Of Glory is an up-tempo, anti-war song with an standing musical arrangement and superb vocals. Her French version with different lyrics, Au Colline Whisky is even better. The World Song is a naive, political song with excellent vocals in which the mood shifts from upbeat to eerie. The Show Is Over exhibits Petula's need to perform and be loved. For Love is an idealistic love song.
Jazzy Dancehall Sound:
Resist, is an unappreciated masterpiece with a jazzy dance hall sound and brassy vocals which reveals Pet's romantic feelings. Las Vegas is a good jazzy song.
You're The One, was an outstanding up-tempo hit for the Vogues that was sung equally well by Petula. Two Rivers, is a sensitive ballad about her feelings in the 1960's toward England, France, and her husband. Right On exhibits her cool, hippy, care-free side.
The highlight, for me anyway, is her intensely personal Two rivers (originally the B-side of Round every corner), reflecting on London, the city she grew up in, and Paris, the city she moved to in the late fifties and where she has lived ever since. Apart from being an album track, this was also included on the British compilation Ultimate collection. On that set, it was included amongst her best-known hits, so I am not alone in thinking so highly of it.
The biggest hit here is You're the one, an excellent song for which Tony Hatch wrote the lyrics and Petula wrote the music. Petula had a hit with it in Britain and many other countries, but the Vogues, an American group, recorded a note-for-note cover and had a huge hit with it in America.
Now that you've gone was covered by Connie Stevens who had a minor American hit with it. Just say goodbye could have been a hit but was never released as a single. It appears that no other singers picked up on the song's potential either. On the path of glory demonstrates Petula's anti-war feelings in the clearest possible terms. The world song is another example of Petula's commitment to world peace. Petula wrote the lyrics for the title track, Beautiful sounds - an appropriate title for any Petula compilation.
There is plenty of variety and quality in this collection and we can only wonder what Petula could have achieved as a songwriter if she had devoted more time to it. Even so, her songwriting deserves more recognition than it actually gets.