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4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Beth Nielsen Chapman has built an enviable reputation as one of America's most gifted songwriters writing material that has been covered by artists as diverse as Bette Midler, Emmylou Harris, Neil Diamond and Roberta Flack.

Now, on her latest album, she uncovers twelve of her beautifully crafted songs that she has never recorded before but which have been significant hits for other performers. The collection features an impressive array of recording luminaries who have lent their talents to make this album a celebration of true Americana and was recorded in Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and Nashville.

The album opens with Beth's deft keyboard intro to the lovely, lilting "Simple Things" which was a hit for Jim Brickman with Kim Carnes providing backing vocals. "Sweet Love Shine" was co-written with the late, lamented, Waylon Jennings and his wife, Jessi Colter, contributes backing vocals while the track is underpinned by the distinctive sound of guitar legend Duane Eddy.

On "Almost Home", a hit record for Mary Chapin Carpenter, Beth is joined by Gretchen Peters, Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg on a compelling, piano led reading of the song. "Here We Are" was a #1 hit for Alabama that she wrote with Vince Gill who duets with her on this re-working which has some striking electric guitar in the mix. Lorrie Morgan hit the charts with "Five Minutes" and she joins Beth on this very catchy number.

"Pray" is a gorgeous song with an almost hymnal quality and Beth's ethereal voice, cello, harp and pipes convey a haunting quality that is complemented by the voices of Amy Grant, Ruth Trimble and Eilidh Patterson. "Maybe That's All It Takes" is an exquisite ballad that was a hit for Don Williams and here she is joined by premier Nashville sessionman, Darrell Scott.

Probably the best known song on the album is "This Kiss" which was a big hit for Faith Hill. Beth's recording of this song is good by any standard and although it doesn't have the immediate impact of Hill's version, with its dramatic guitar intro, it does have a more understated appeal of its own. The exciting, blues sound of "Meet Me Halfway" was a hit for Bonnie Raitt and features some sterling work by Bonnie's guitarist, George Marinelli and also serves to illustrate Beth's versatility as a performer.

From bluegrass and country to the pop, folk, blues and celtic influences that the album calls upon, this is evidence not just of Beth's abilities as a songwriter but her strengths as a performer, too. In uncovering these songs she has given them a fresh dimension and has surely made them her own, once again
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on 28 February 2014
I have always enjoyed BNC's music and had several previous albums. Bought this in anticipation of a recent live concert. Should have loved the concert apart from an incompetent sound engineer who couldn't get the right balance between band, soloists etc, so have enjoyed listening to the music in the privacy of my own home.

If you like BNC this is another album where she is back in her "happy place" (one of her first albums while thoughtful, was written shortly after her husband died of cancer)
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on 29 September 2014
I love Beth Nielsen Chapman's music (consistently 5 star material), so it comes as a real disappointment that the sound on this CD is so poor. Poor in the sense that 'brick walling' compression has been aggressively applied throughout the disc, making it almost impossible to listen to. If nothing else, Beth's music needs a sensitive presentation (as per her previous CDs), but this release will have your teeth fillings falling out. Sorry Beth.
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on 24 February 2014
Beth is such a great song writer that it's hard to remember how many hits she has written for other people. Had the privilege of being at her performance at Celtic Connections in Glasgow when she sang most of these songs and told the stories of how and when they were written. A great album, full of fantastic songs, talented musicians and great singers with beautiful voices.
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on 5 October 2014
I was expecting something quite special from this album, but was disappointed. Although Beth has written all the tracks they have already been released by other artists, the versions they have produced have become the standard which then makes Beth's versions sound wrong. Sorry, a mediocre album from what has to be one of the best singer songwriters today.
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The album title is very clever, playing on the likelihood that Beth recorded demo versions of these songs for others to record. Beth has never officially recorded any of these songs for her previous albums, and this provides her with an opportunity to do just that, although she has written or co-written so many songs that only a small selection are presented here.

Sticking with officially released recordings, the originals were by Jim Brickmann and Rebecca Lynn Howard (Simple things), Alabama (Here we are), Andy Griggs (Sweet love shine), Muriel Anderson (Pray), Don Williams (Maybe that's all it takes), Faith Hill (This kiss), Willie Nelson (Nothin' I can do about it now), Tanya Tucker (Strong enough to bend), Bonnie Raitt (Meet me halfway), Mindy McCreedy (One in a million), Lorrie Morgan (Five minutes) and Mary Chapin Carpenter (Almost home). Beth co-wrote most of these songs with other writers.

Sadly, the booklet does not contain any specific notes about each song, but Beth has recorded this album in America, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Of the songs, I was already familiar with some of them and Beth's own versions are generally mellower. I enjoy Beth's versions, and on first listen, I think I'll highlight Nothin' I can do about it now, one of the few songs here that Beth wrote by herself.

This is a wonderful album that reminds us what a fantastic songwriter and singer Beth is.
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on 6 February 2016
A good album of songs written by Beth Nielsen Chapman previously covered by other artists. I have deducted two stars because of the low budget nature of the cardboard CD case, which arrived slightly damaged inside - torn on one side of the slot which holds the information booklet.
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on 12 January 2015
What a fabulous album. I bought it before going to hear her live in Belfast and it has become a firm favourite. She is a terrific singer songwriter and this demonstrates just how prolific she has been. Great songs beautifully sung. Buy it if you like her voice!
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on 3 March 2014
I could listen to this CD over and over. Instead of verbalising a prayer I played 'Pray' in church, which was very well received.
Anyone who likes thoughtful, beautiful songs would love this.
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on 10 April 2014
This was a present for my wife which arrived the next day after ordering online from Amazon.
We are a little bit old fashioned ( in our 70s now.!! ) & so still like to handle our music CDs on much the same way as reading our books with the actual book in hand. It is still a nice feeling to hold a new book.
As for this CD it proved to be a very good choice which we both enjoy.
The only reason for my 4 star rating was that as it featured duets for most of the tracks thus diluting Beth's truly gorgeous voice.Other listeners might really like that aspect so could give it 5 stars.
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