This Madeline Bell album contains 20 tracks including "Beat The Clock," "I'm Gonna Leave You," and "Last One To Be Loved."
Liner Note Author: Alec Palao.
Though born in New Jersey, smooth soul diva Madeline Bell enjoyed her greatest success in the United Kingdom (where she began living in 1963), and her first album, 1967's Bell's a Poppin', is a thoroughly enjoyable example of British pop record-making at its most poised and professional. Bell had a world-class voice and sang supper-club soul in the manner of Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield (the latter of whom was a friend of Bell's and often used her as a backing vocalist); those looking for Southern soul grit will be disappointed, but Bell's a Poppin' is a marvelous example of the British equivalent of Brill Building pop. The arrangements are clever and sophisticated, the musicians are spot-on throughout, producer John Franz adds just the right amount of polish without rubbing away the personality of the music, and Bell's vocals tell a story just beautifully, boasting smarts and understated passion while maintaining a firm sense of control and balance throughout. Franz also rounded up some great songs for Bell, with Doc Pomus & Mort Shuman, Burt Bacharach & Hal David, John Sebastian, and Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson among the tunesmiths represented on this disc. Fans of the slicker side of Northern soul and great mid-'60s pop-soul will delight in Bell's a Poppin'. [RPM's 2004 reissue adds a handful of non-LP singles that are every bit as enjoyable, especially "Don't Come Running to Me" and an interesting cover of the Beatles' "You Won't See Me."] ~ Mark Deming