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bobby morrow "Bobby Morrow" (United Kingdom)

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Back With a Heart
Back With a Heart
Offered by Books-and-Sounds
Price: £8.71

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back with more stories about Grease., 2 May 2003
This review is from: Back With a Heart (Audio CD)
Olivia Newton-John's return to country/pop in 1998 was marred by her promoting it at the same time as the re-release of 'Grease'. Olivia often spent so long dishing out the same old anecdotes about the 20 year old movie that her new album quite slipped her mind. Also, the only single released was a bland new version of her over familiar 1974 minor UK hit, 'I Honestly Love You'! No one could ever accuse Olivia of any kind of business savvy!
'Back With A Heart', though, is a very good album. Well up there with the best of her 70's stuff.
Olivia co-wrote 10 of these tracks and you'll be pleased to hear the songs are free of the cloying psycho-babble that dogged her previous album, 'Gaia'. For the most part these are love (well, lost love) songs which have always been her forte.
Highlights are the rocky title track, the sweet pop of 'I Don't Want To Say Goodnight' and the 2 John Farrar songs, 'Closer To Me' and 'Under My Skin'. In truth though, only 'Don't Say That' is a bit of a let-down, being very bland and much too long too.
Definitely the best album Olivia has made for 15 years, 'Back With A Heart' is well worth reappraisal in 2002.

Christmas Collection
Christmas Collection

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Olivia + Christmas= Disaster, 20 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Christmas Collection (Audio CD)
In the sleeve notes to this CD, Olivia Newton-John expresses her long held desire to record a Christmas album. She then goes on to say she didn't really have time to go into the studio to record a proper one so, hey folks, here's one she made from cobbling a few tracks together from a series of compilations and charity albums over the last 10 years!

Olivia, you're too good to us!

Christmas Collection is so very dreadful, I wonder how it ever got a release. It looks cheap and nasty, with a horrid 'album for granny' sleeve, is badly produced and, a lot of the time, is poorly sung by Olivia.

Olivia has a unique voice, full of light and charm, but she simply can't handle the likes of O Holy Night and Ave Maria. The latter, clocking in at 6 minutes, is probably not only the lowpoint of this dire set, it's the lowpoint of her recorded career, too.

2 of the songs, White Christmas and Let It Snow are lifted from some US TV show and are barely a minute long each, and this shows the level of desperation here. It's a 10th rate album from an artist who doesn't care enough to do any better.

Possibly one of the worst Christmas albums of all time.

Update 23/9/10;

Now reissued with a new cover! Watch Olivia, a well-kept 62, transformed into a 15 year old Cameron Diaz lookalike thanks to extensive photoshopping! Sadly, they can 'photoshop' the music. The album is as rotten as ever. But, hey, at least there's no Amy Sky on it!!

Private Heaven
Private Heaven
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £42.93

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Come spend the night inside my sugar walls", indeed!, 19 Mar. 2003
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Private Heaven (Audio CD)
Arguably Sheena's strongest album, this yielded 2 top 10 hits for her in the States and went platinum. She has a little help from Prince on the very saucy Sugar Walls and the collaboration is probably the best track here. Strut is insanely catchy too and her version of Joan Armatrading's Love And Affection is sensitively handled. Sheena often spent much of her time in the shadow of more successful acts like Madonna and Olivia Newton-John and both these artist's styles are evident here. That said, if you're looking for a place to start with Sheena, this along with the Nile Rogers produced Do You and the criminally overlooked No Sound But A Heart is as good as it gets.

Making a Good Thing Better
Making a Good Thing Better
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £12.78

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good thing about to get raunchier, 19 Mar. 2003
This was Olivia Newton-John's last studio album before Grease opened and changed her career for ever. The pop/country format had served her well in the US, though Making A Good Thing Better was her poorest seller in years. That's not to say it's a bad album, it isn't. It's just that there are no overwhelming hits here. The title track was the only single released and it's lovely, a soaring ballad that Olivia does to perfection. Sad Songs is another standout, upbeat, catchy and a lot of fun. The John Farrar ballad, Coolin' Down is stunning, an exquisite, soothing gem that proves why the man was responsible for many of her classics.
I've never been fond of Don't Cry For Me Argentina, and Olivia's version hasn't changed this. She does it OK, but it does tend to bring out the insipid, simpering quality of her voice. Her version of Ring Of Fire is another blip. It's as plastic country as can be and Olivia sounds like she couldn't care less about the song.
Still, this set is a goodie. Even the sleeve artwork is beautiful capturing Olivia at her very best. Her next album, Totally Hot, was a far different, rockier affair and was one of her biggest hits. Buy that if you like this.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 10, 2014 1:37 PM GMT

Have You Never Been Mellow
Have You Never Been Mellow
Price: £14.92

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hitting her stride., 14 Mar. 2003
Olivia Newton-John's second US #1 album is a mixed affair. The title track is by far the strongest cut, a beautifully melodic tune that shows Olivia's soaring vocals off to the max. Please Mr. Please, It's So Easy, Lifestream and Follow Me are all first rate, too. Not so hot are the eternally dull I Never Did Sing You A Love Song and Olivia's vapid version of The Air That I Breathe, but you can't have everything. ONJ has made better albums than this since, but it's not hard to see why this collection made the US take her to their hearts. The bonus cut on this Aussie CD is another of Olivia's break through hits, If You Love Me (Let Me Know). A worthy addition.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 15, 2010 6:58 PM BST

Long Live Love
Long Live Love
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.94

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars On a wet day, dry day, great to be alive day..., 13 Mar. 2003
This review is from: Long Live Love (Audio CD)
As Olivia Newton-John was recording this album, her career was just taking off in America. Had she known that superstardom was a matter of months away, I doubt she would have even considered the Eurovision Song Contest!
Her entry in the contest, the title track of this album, is a strange plodding affair that takes it's inspiration from the Salvation Army Band. It was chosen by the British public from 6 songs (all included here). Despite being totally out of sync with modern music at any time, ever, Long Live Love was a sizable UK hit and came 4th in Eurovision in the year Abba won with Waterloo.
Olivia has always been a bit ashamed of the song and it was never released in America where her initial success was in country music. Was it that bad? Well, not really. It's not a great song but it's quirky and fun, and Eurovision songs are meant to be a bit naff, aren't they?
But what of the rest of the album? It's a bit of a mixture, I'm afraid. A few sloppy, simpering ballads (Angel Eyes, Someday, the deathly I Honestly Love You) more 'romper-stompers' ala Long Live Love (Have Love Will Travel, Hands Across The Sea and The River's Too Wide) and a few genuinely lovely moments (Country Girl, Home Ain't Home Anymore and God Only Knows)
It's a terribly British '70's' album, quite unlike anything ONJ has recorded before or since, but it's just so darn charming, you've got to love it. Olivia's voice is beautiful here, sweet, pure and crystal clear. It really is a treat to listen to.
By the end of the 70's, Olivia was the biggest selling female singer in America and Long Live Love was but a distant memory. Still, it really is worth your time. It's not her best work, of course, but it's certainly better than anything she's recorded in the last 10 years! Give it a listen!

2 [Australian Import]
2 [Australian Import]

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars (2) dismal for words., 6 Mar. 2003
This review is from: 2 [Australian Import] (Audio CD)
Olivia Newton-John's long awaited duets album is a hugely disappointing affair. Quite why she decided to record an album with mostly unknown Australian artists along with a couple of faded US singers has to be a mystery. Suffice to say, it is another in a long line of career mis-steps for the once highly famous Ms. Newton-John.
(2) is even more of a let down when compared to ONJ's previous duets work. Her collaborations with the likes of ELO, Cliff, John Denver, John Travolta and Andy Gibb made for some great music.
Sadly, the lack of interesting duets partners isn't (2)'s only problem. It's absolutely stuffed with poor songs that just don't bear repeated hearings. Lowpoints are the utterley dreadful ACT OF FAITH with gloomy old Michael McDonald, the melody-deprived NEVER FAR AWAY, an interminable dirge of a song with Richard Marx and I WILL BE RIGHT HERE, with David Campbell (who?), 5 minutes of musical death.
The duet with Darren Hayes, LIFT ME UP and Olivia teaming up with Human Nature on I LOVE YOU CRAZY provide two slightly less hideous moments, but it's too little, too late. If you're not unconscious after the (apparent) final (yay!) track, ACT OF FAITH, stick around for the "bonus" track, Olivia's update of her 1981 smash, PHYSICAL. Now given a tragic jazz feel, Olivia squeaks and squeals her way through this one fun song removing any sexuality it may have once had as she does so!
Yes, (2) is a dog of an album from someone who's too out of touch to realise it. I pity the day this is released internationally. At least there's the 25th anniversary of GREASE to look forward too, Olivia!

Soul Kiss
Soul Kiss
Price: £17.66

2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Totally shot, 31 Aug. 2002
This review is from: Soul Kiss (Audio CD)
Poor Olivia. After her huge 'Physical' album in 1981, she rather lost her way. Instead of following up the aforementioned album sharpish, the dear thing waited 4 years before unleashing 'Soul Kiss' to a (then) mostly uninterested world. She'd worked inbetween, of course, a US (where else?!) tour in 82, the criminally bad Travolta reteaming in 83's 'Two Of A Kind' movie, but it was pretty half-hearted, sporadic stuff and to make it worse, 'Soul Kiss' was released when Olivia was 6 months pregnant and unable to promote it!

No matter, in the US, always her biggest market, her fanbase had been severely hit by the likes of Madonna, Tina Turner and Cyndi Lauper, who'd all had ample time to establish themselves in Olivia's absense. Further hampered by the damp squib of a lead single, the snoozesome title track, the album soon fell off the charts.

What the album really lacks is good songs. None of Olivia's albums are perfect throughout, of course, but 'Soul Kiss' is a synthy, over-produced, shrill mess. If you've heard, say, 'Moth To A Flame', you've also pretty much heard the rest, 'Queen Of The Publication', 'Driving Music', 'Culture Shock' etc, are all cut from the same cloth.

Mostly written by O's long-standing (and off form) main songwriters, John Farrar and Steve Kipner, 'Soul Kiss' harks back to 1981's 'Physical' set which struggled to convince an unsuspecting world that Olivia was some kind of sex goddess. She wasn't of course.The 'Physical' single caught people off guard but the illusion only worked once. Always happier singing 'I Honestly Love You' than 'Make A Move On Me', Olivia's facade crumbled with the more highly-charged, obviously sexual approach of the 'Soul Kiss' album. Madonna, who'd released 2 albums during Olivia's break, had showed a more natural sexuality than Olivia could ever manage and the game was pretty much up.

With sleeve artwork by Herb Ritts and Helmut Newton failing to conjure up any spark, Olivia took another break, just 3 years this time, mind, before a screeching reversal with 1988's largely lame 'The Rumour' album. Known mainly for it being the one that cost Olivia her 15 year US record deal.

In 2010, most fans would kill for an album with even half as much effort put into it as this one, however. 'Soul Kiss' may have brought to an end her popular career, but the future was even more bleak... Although only 37 when this album came out, Olivia pretty much made 'old lady' albums from then on and never regained her fame.

I've given it 3 stars because it's her last true pop effort. Had it been released in 1983, I'm sure it would have fared better, though it would never be a world beater, but's it's worth 10 of the likes of 'Warm And Tender', 'Gaia' (affectionately known as 'Dire' to myself) and 2002's appalling duets album, '(2)'.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 26, 2011 7:04 PM GMT

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