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The Best Of Merry Clayton


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Product details

  • Audio CD (24 Mar 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Cmg
  • ASIN: B00CP4GROM
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,945 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Southern Man
2. Tell All the People
3. Country Road
4. After All This Time
5. Gimme Shelter
6. Grandma's Hands
7. Oh No, Not My Baby
8. Walk On In
9. Bridge Over Troubled Water
10. The Mighty Quinn - Brothers and Sisters
11. Sho' Nuff
12. Forget It I Got It
13. Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow
14. Suspicious Minds
15. A Song For You
16. Lift Every Voice and Sing (Black National Hymn)
17. The Acid Queen - Merry Clayton / London Symphony Orchestra / London Chamber Choir

Product Description

The unmistakable voice of Merry Clayton - whose fiery vocal complemented Mick Jagger's lead on The Rolling Stones' immortal 'Gimme Shelter' in 1969 - is is front and center on The Best Of Merry Clayton, the first-ever compilation of Clayton's solo works. The timing is right to shine the spotlight on Clayton, with the forthcoming release of Twenty Feet From Stardom, a new feature-length documentary about backing vocalists like Clayton, who bought shape and style to the soundtracks of our lives.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr R MacDuff on 16 July 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
So good to see a retrospective, albeit limited to the Ode years, of the great singer Merry Clayton. A shame we haven't been offered a more full retrospective, including tracks from later recordings Emotion and Miracles, the original of Gimme Shelter with the Rolling Stones, early stuff with The Sisters Love; and then there are a number of obscurities, like the tracks from Performance (Soundtrack) and Celebration. But the real disappointment here is that this Ode compilation doesn't include the standout recordings from her first 2 Ode albums - "Here Comes Those Heartaches Again", "I Ain't Gonna Worry My Life Away" (from Gimme Shelter) and "Same Old Story" and James Taylor's "Steamroller [Blues]" (from Merry Clayton) {also done by Hodges, James and Smith}. Most probably good to steer away from much of the 3rd album Keep Your Eye On The Sparrow - but I do like her version of Dylan's "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35". I think a more comprehensive, more imaginative double CD complilation might be in order. Also boring liner notes from Warren Zanes - again a missed opportunity. But buy it - because she is fabulous! And another version of "A Song For You"!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Farrer on 13 Oct 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Remember that stunning female vocal on the Stones "Gimme Shelter"? Mick just stepped back and let Merry Clayton steal the show. What power, what feeling, such range!
I had forgotten all about her until she reappeared on the brilliant Oscar-winning film "Twenty feet from stardom" released in 2013. Merry tried for a solo career and gave it her best shot but somehow it was not to be. Our loss.
Here is a collection of her songs spanning several years. Every track has her trade-mark perfect precision and emotional control. The anger in her version of "Southern Man" is palpable. Her cover of the Bill Withers classic "Grandma's Hands" is heartfelt but not soppy.
"Bridge over Troubled Water" is a lovely song whoever does it. Clayton adds new wistfulness.
There are some surprising inclusions, "Suspicious Minds" was an unexpected pleasure.

Every track a winner, for me. I am so pleased that she has at last reached the wider audience she has always deserved. Her career has suddenly blossomed again. What a voice, she can still nail it.
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By Mike on 9 Jun 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A beautiful album with many really lovely tracks. Heard a couple on the radio and just had to search for an album with them on
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By daniele soffritti on 2 Oct 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
very good
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 36 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Ten Feet from Semi-Stardom in the '70s; well-worth-the-wait best-of CD 30 Sep 2013
By TheNoomz83 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Fresh from securing her place in the pantheon of all-time great backing vocalists for her performance on the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter," producing luminary Lou Adler signed Merry Clayton to his new Ode record label confident she would excel as his number two female artist behind singer-songwriter Carole King. Surrounded by all-star talent and given what appeared to be some of the best material out there at such a great time for soul and pop music (1970), no one could have been more surprised than Adler that Merry Clayton's excellent singles and albums never managed to gain any significant national chart traction: the highest placement being #30 on the Billboard soul chart in 1973 with her remake of the 1964 Carole King-Gerry Goffin song "Oh No, Not My Baby" (originally a hit for Maxine Brown), which was nominated for a Grammy in the same category (Best Female Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance) with Aretha Franklin, Esther Phillips, Candi Staton and Betty Wright.

Her first release was a 1970 single version of "Gimme Shelter," which must have seemed like a can't-miss idea given that the song wasn't being issued as a Stones single; so who better than she to have the single on it (it would also be the title song of her début LP)? Despite the dynamite production and execution, it just couldn't find a niche (too rock for soul radio, too much in the shadow of the Stones' original for rock stations), only getting to #73 on the Billboard Hot 100. The LP (five of whose tracks appear here) didn't even crack the top 200.

Her eponymous second LP from late 1971 (with six tracks included in this collection) did a little better [#180 pop / #36 soul], getting a boost from labelmate Grammy winner Carole King (in the year of "Tapestry") with two original CK songs handed to her. Truly, if Merry could not get a bigger hit out of the beautiful and soulful "After All This Time" (with Carole herself providing the backing vocal) than #71 pop /#42 soul, it just wasn't going to happen for her. Female gospel-style pop and soul was a market cornered by Aretha Franklin, and there just wasn't room at that time for anyone else.

Granted, this is no Aretha Franklin's Atlantic greatest hits CD, but would Aretha have been so bold as to cover Neil Young's "Southern Man" as Mary did on her second LP? Hell, Aretha had a Lulu remake on the charts at the time. In addition to the aforementioned "Gimme Shelter," "After All This Time," "Southern Man" and "Oh No, Not My Baby," I can't get enough of the latter record's B-side, Mark James's "Suspicious Minds." Merry absolutely takes it to the church of deep soul. This really needs to be heard and appreciated. Just to clarify, since Elvis Presley fanatics brook no comparisons of any kind with the King, it's terrific in a different way. Elvis's version remains iconic and definitive and arguably the greatest recording he ever made after turning 22.

In a nutshell, this just might be Merry Clayton's legacy: undeniably great talent but ultimately relegated to the shadows cast by the greatness of others. In any event, this is one fine soul CD checking in at just under an hour.
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Long overdue compilation that doesn't quite click 19 July 2013
By Luigi Facotti - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In the booklet accompanying this CD, Lou Adler the legendary music mogul and founder of Dunhill and Ode, producer for Carole King - and for most of this CD collection - is quoted as saying "why nothing substantial happened with Clayton's work is a mystery that remains just that". Listening to this long awaited CD - a beautifully recorded and remastered set, featuring the cream of LA studio musicians circa 1971 including members of the Crusaders and Billy Preston, this listener is disappointed and puzzles with the same question - and comes away with the sense that nothing on this set "clicks". Having listened to it a dozen times, the music, the selection of songs, are all superb - but..... As the vocalist joins the musicians after each perfectly arranged and more often than not funky intro, there is a sense of something missing when a songstress of the caliber of a Randy Crawford, a Candi Staton, a Dee Dee Warwick, a Cissy Houston, a Maxine Brown, a Doris Duke, a Tina Turner, a Millie Jackson, a Mavis Staples, a Irma Thomas, a Betty Lavette, an Aretha, a Sharon Jones etc. doesn't step forward - with the conclusion - sorry to say - being that Ms. Clayton is a extremely talented vocal technician - but lacks that electrifying "hair standing on your neck" presence, that ineffable quantity known as soul. I'm sure, based on reviews of other CDs from Ms. Clayton, that there will be many on Amazon who will disagree with this - but if this is not the most likely answer to Mr. Adler's telling question- what is?
Update - in response to my question - I got an answer - that Ms. Clayton was a great soul singer - when she was with Ray Charles - and that the problem with this set was its producer, Lou Adler, a pop genius but someone who did not know anything about soul music. A good point and an interesting one. Think of Rick Hall at FAME who could work with Wilson Pickett on bubblegum dross like "Sugar Sugar" and come up with a seminal soul song, or Millie Jackson who with Brad Shapiro could take a run of the mill C + W hit "If you're Not back in love by Monday" and turn it into soul gold.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Love you Merry Clayton! 11 Sep 2013
By Jeannie Sloan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a delight to hear Merry's incredible voice, especially after seeing "20 Feet From Stardom". She's one of this generation's gems, and it's about time she's given her due recognition.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great songs 9 Sep 2013
By Lorene Wilkerson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I wasn't familiar with this artist but found her to be extraordinary. The mix of songs was tasteful and upbeat.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Merry Clayton 29 July 2013
By toph werner - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Ms. Clayton is a LEGEND. This compilation is a long time coming but perfectly timed on the heels of the film 20 Feet From Stardom. Her own versions of Southern Man and Gimme Shelter stand on their own against the originals. And wait until you hear Mighty Quinn. There is no way you won't be able to join in and sing along.
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