Petula Clark

Duets

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AllMusic Review by

Petula Clark is nothing if not a strikingly gifted vocalist and a show-biz professional of the old school; she can sing nearly anything she puts her mind to, and will try just about anything (musically speaking) that suits the gig of the moment. All this becomes evident when listening to this collection of tunes Clark performed with other recording artists of note; while she is in fine form throughout, the same cannot always be said for her guests, and the material and arrangements don't always seem especially well suited to her talents. A significant number of the tracks on Duets were taken from television appearances, and some of the numbers seem a bit clunky all these years later, especially mismatched versions of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (with a very non-seductive Rod McKuen) and "I'm a Woman" (with Peggy Lee, who doesn't sound at all comfortable with the material), and rewritten versions of songs that point to then-recent triumphs in Clark's career (the worst offender being "Fancy Meeting You Here" with Matt Munro). And while Clark sounds pleased as punch to be singing with Bobby Darin, Perry Como and Dean Martin, their styles don't always mesh especially well (though she fares much better with Harry Belafonte and jazz pianist Oscar Peterson). Clark is in fine voice on more recent recordings with Andy Williams and Anthony Newley, but the same cannot be said for her vocal partners ("The People Tree" with Newley was recorded only a few months before his death, and sadly he sounds like a shadow of his former blustery self). Given the rarity of the television material on Duets, this album will be of interest to Petula Clark completists, but sadly it isn't as impressive as the lineup of participants would lead you to expect. Clark wrote track-by track liner notes for this disc, and to her credit she's unfailingly generous and charming throughout as she remembers her partners in song.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:33
2 3:16
3 3:08
4 3:36
5
feat: Bobby Darin
2:48
6 2:36
7
feat: Perry Como
2:59
8 2:34
9 3:49
10
feat: Dean Martin
5:14
11 2:59
12
feat: Peggy Lee
4:48
13
feat: Matt Monro
2:52
14
feat: Sacha Distel
3:10
15 2:27
16
4:18
blue highlight denotes track pick