BACK ON TRACK is a 2003, 12-track release featuring longstanding U.K. pop star, Lulu, and includes the tracks "Keep Talkin' I'm Listening" and "Sentimental Heart."
Personnel: Lulu (vocals); Eddie Sutton (vocals); Phil Thornalley (guitar, Mellotron); Alex Golding (guitar, keyboards, drums, programming); David Gamson (guitar, drums, percussion); Fridrik Karlsson, Alan Darby, Oliver Leiber, Ronnie McIntosh, John Themis (guitar); David Munday (acoustic guitar, slide guitar); Nick Lacey (strings, piano, keyboards); Jim Marr (strings, keyboards); Snake Davis (saxophone); Noel Langley (trumpet); Martin Sutton (piano, synthesizer, drum programming); Pamela Sheyne (keyboards, programming); Andy Duncan (drums); Marc Fox (percussion); Anders Kallmark (programming); Christopher Neil, Harriet Roberts, Hannah Waddingham, Becky Corcoran, Tracie Ackerman (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: David Gamson; Phil Thornalley; Steve Fitzmaurice.
Recording information: AGM Studios; RAK Recording Studios; Shabbey Road Studio; Westside Studios, London, England.
Can anyone really have expected much of a new album by Lulu in 2004? Forty years after she shot to stardom in England and 37 years after she did the same -- briefly -- in America, she would seem to be part of the fraternity of older English popsters who periodically step into the studio for another go at recording, without too much heavy lifting. So how come she's giving 103-percent or more on Back on Track? And how come the title of this 2004 album is strangely appropriate? The look, as she peers out from the inner fold of the inlay card on the CD, is the same kind she gave us in 1964 -- the synthesized drums are something new, but otherwise, that raspy, bluesy voice competing with the electric lead guitar sound is not at all different from the 17-year-old who carried the Isley Brothers' "Shout" up the U.K. charts and parlayed it into a television and movie career. "Keep Talkin', I'm Listening" is the single and the lead-off track, but Lulu acquits herself well on "Now You Love Me," with its ringing guitar accompaniment, and plunges into harsher territory on "Slow Motion," a hard-rocking track that's a special surprise coming from the 56-year-old pop star. Then she moves into balladry with "Could I Be More Blue" and fills out the music's aching lyricism, and follows it with the even slower, softer, lovelier "All the Love in the World." The rest of the record is hard, loud rock & roll broken up with a pair of guitar-driven ballads, "Roll the Dice" and "Sentimental Heart," and ending on a luscious mid-tempo rocker, "Where the Poor Boys Dance," that could have been a single. There are no notes and the credits are printed ridiculously small, but there are lyrics that are readable, and the music is good enough that any flaws in the packaging are incidental. ~ Bruce Eder