Skip to main content

Various Artists - Paradise: The Sound of Ivor Raymonde Music Album Reviews

The composer behind Dusty Springfield’s “I Only Want to Be With You” also worked with David Bowie, the Walker Brothers, and Ian Dury. A new compilation reveals how he helped shape 1960s British pop.

“I Only Want to Be With You” is so perfectly suited for Dusty Springfield’s voice, it seems impossible that it wasn’t written specifically for her. But, in 1963, when a journeyman composer named Ivor Raymonde devised that racing melody and the songwriter Mike Hawker wrote the lyrics, their first stop was crooner Frankie Vaughan. When he passed on the song, the duo took it to Springfield, who was trying to launch a solo career after finding success with her trio the Springfields. It sounded like a perfect fit for her first single, so they recorded two-and-a-half minutes of pure pop ecstasy and released it a week later. “I Only Want to Be With You” shot up to No. 4 on the UK pop charts, not only establishing Springfield as a viable pop star, but taking its place one of the finest singles of the era.

Springfield is likely the only name many readers will recognize in that story (although some Brits may remember Vaughan). But hopefully the release of Paradise: The Sound of Ivor Raymonde—by Bella Union, a label run by Ivor’s son Simon Raymonde, of Cocteau Twins—will change that. Simon has described the project as a labor of love: It’s taken him years of diligent research to reconstruct his father’s sprawling catalog, which starts in the late 1940s and ends in the 1980s. The task was complicated by the fact that Ivor was a hired gun, working any number of jobs: writing songs, scouting talent, producing sessions, devising and conducting string and orchestra arrangements. He even sings on one track, the dusky pop number “Mylene,” which appeared on the soundtrack to the forgotten 1959 sex romp Upstairs and Downstairs. “In those days it seemed from all the documentation he was the sort of guy who’d turn his hand to anything, he was happy to get paid, happy to be a session musician, happy to do an arrangement if asked and didn’t turn down work,” Simon recently told the Yorkshire Post.

Simon isn’t inflating his father’s importance with Paradise. Ivor Raymonde was a figure of no small significance in the 1960s UK pop scene, but because he worked mostly behind the scenes, his name is not especially well known. A product of big bands in the ’40s and jazz combos in the ’50s, Raymonde started working with eccentric producer Joe Meek in the early ’60s, signing on as an in-house producer for Decca Records later in the decade. During that time, he worked with major artists at the height of their careers (Billy Fury, the Walker Brothers), future stars (David Bowie, Tom Jones), and many musicians who never achieved celebrity. Taken together, his catalog forms an eccentric, not exactly representative but still incredibly enjoyable, history of a sophisticated era in British pop. When Ian “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll” Dury wanted to evoke that heyday on 1980’s “Superman’s Big Sister,” he hired Raymonde to write the string arrangements, creating a song that mashes pop, punk, and novelty into three strident minutes.

Paradise portrays Raymonde as a composer with remarkable range, one who treated the stars and the nobodies, the cheeky novelties and the heartfelt ballads, with equal insight and consideration. Credited to Burr Bailey (an alias for Meek’s studio assistant Dave Adams), “Chahawki” is a frantic story-song about a Native American and his beloved dog—a B Western set to music. Raymonde gives the ridiculous story an epic quality, as well as real emotional heft, by adding cinematic strings and insistent backing vocals.

On the other end of the spectrum, his arrangement lends Helen Shapiro’s “He Knows How to Love Me” a soulful gravity that makes her transformation from independent woman to infatuated lover sound all the more persuasive and profound. Like a good film composer, his contributions succeed when they disappear into the song, when the music sounds less like the product of a hit-making committee and more like an extension of the artist credited on the 45 label.

For a concrete example of what he could do with an arrangement, compare the album version of David Bowie’s “Love You Till Tuesday” and the single version included here. The original, included on Bowie’s self-titled ’67 debut, features a fairly stripped-down arrangement with marimba and acoustic guitar. Raymonde’s, which was released on a subsequent 45, opens with a strange oboe riff and a heavy orchestral backing, pushing the song along at a quicker clip. The woodwinds wrap around the singer’s heavily accented vocals like a mod suit, emphasizing the oddity of his phrasing and making his weird laughter sound unrehearsed. Raymonde’s arrangement matches Bowie’s dandy self-regard so perfectly that you wonder what lessons the struggling singer-songwriter took from their one-off collaboration.

Songs like “I Only Want to Be With You” and the Walker Brothers’ magisterial “Make It Easy on Yourself” will be familiar to many listeners—perhaps overly familiar—but that’s the attraction of a compilation like Paradise: In addition to unearthing obscurities, it allows you to hear popular tunes with new ears. You listen for the parts you might otherwise ignore or fail to notice. I always loved the sublime strings of “Make It Easy on Yourself” but hadn’t considered how they do all the weeping and sobbing for Scott Walker, or how they grant him a determined dignity despite his heartache. I never considered how Raymonde’s arrangements for Springfield clear a path for her strong melodic lines, like bodyguards parting a crowd of adoring fans. He arranged the song as though she were already a star, a courtesy he extended to every artist who crossed his path.

View the original article here


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Popular posts from this blog

2019 BMW i8 Review

The 2019 BMW i8 is a head-turner for its looks, which hides its plug-in powertrain. That’s good or bad, depending on your priorities.Even among six-figure cars with two doors, the 2019 BMW i8 steals stares. That could be because of the dramatic wing doors and futuristic shape, its laser headlights at night, or the 2019 i8’s silent propulsion for up to 18 miles.
Or it may steal attention because, even after more than four years on sale, it’s a very rare sight.

LG G5 Review In-Depth

Can LG take on the Galaxy S7 with a metal design, dual-cameras and an accessory slot? Here's our first LG G5 review, focusing on LG G5 design and build, LG G5 specs, LG G5 cameras and LG G5 software and apps.
Alongside the Galaxy S7, the LG G5 is one of the biggest phones (not literally) to launch in 2016 – and we're not just talking in the Android world. It's one of the heavyweights and LG will be looking to set the market alight with the G5's alternative and innovative modular design.

Apple iPhone XR Review

If you aren't sure you are ready to leave the Home button behind and embrace Face ID, think again. We'll tell you why the iPhone XR is worth the sacrifice - especially because it's just as good (if not better than) the iPhone XS. Find out more in out full review.
Should I Buy The Apple iPhone XR?
The iPhone XR brings Face ID to the masses. We’re sure people will continue to rebel against the lack of Home button, but eventually we expect them to come round and embrace the larger screen, Portrait mode (front and back), animoji and memoji.We have no doubt that this will be a popular iPhone and it deserves to be. The only question is why would anyone buy an iPhone XS when the iPhone XR is just as powerful and has a bigger screen.

Google Pixel Review

Not everyone wants a phone with a big screen, but most small-screen phones compromise on performance and cameras. Not so with Google’s latest flagship Android phone: Here’s our Google Pixel review.
Joining the ranks of the Pixel C and Chromebook Pixel are Google’s new Pixel phones. We’re reviewing the smaller 5in Pixel here, but you can read our separate Pixel XL review if you’re after a bigger phone.

Google Pixel XL Review

Google pulled the covers off its newest smartphone creations - the Pixel and the Pixel XL - at an event in London on October 4th. The new devices marks a departure from the Nexus line that has served the company well for so long, bringing high-end specs and prices to match. We spent some time with the phablet style Pixel XL to see how it shapes up to the likes of the Samsung Note 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus, and here are our initial impressions.
Google pulled the covers off its newest smartphone creations earlier this month - the Pixel and the Pixel XL. The new devices mark a departure from the Nexus line that has served the company well for so long, bringing high-end specs and prices to match.  Let's see how the Pixel XL shapes up to the likes of the Samsung Note 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus in our Google Pixel XL hands-on review. 

Like Fan Page