Petula Clark

I Know a Place

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In the wake of the Grammy-nominated Downtown album, it was time for Petula Clark and producer/songwriter Tony Hatch to record a proper follow-up album, rather than throwing together some well-chosen singles. The result was I Know a Place, the first real album to capture Clark's new, post-"Downtown" sound. Not quite all of it works in that vein; "Strangers and Lovers" has a rather older feel than much of the rest -- except for the electric guitar behind the outro. Along with successful Hatch originals like "Call Me," Clark's covers of songs such as "The 'In' Crowd" and "Dancing in the Street" show off her new musical look, with the drummer kicking the hell out of his kit while the guitarists strum along for dear life and Clark gives us the pop singer's equivalent of a full-throated, soul blow-out. The Clark co-authored "Heart" is like a pop-music bolero, building slowly to a vocal and band crescendo, all vaguely reminiscent of "Bald Headed Woman" as recorded by the Who (though there's no way in the world that Clark ever heard that record). The future Vogues gold record "You're the One" gets its first airing here in a more impassioned and sensual version, with one of the most delicious performances of Clark's career, especially the choruses. Even George Gershwin's "A Foggy Day" gets the "Downtown" treatment, and it works -- indeed, Clark embraces Ira Gershwin's words with a passion and involvement that is startling even for this point in her career. The vocalist steps into Dionne Warwick territory with "Goin' Out of My Head," with exquisite subtlety of phrasing and emotion in front of a subdued but emphatic arrangement, while on "Every Little Bit Hurts," she strays successfully into soul territory. Then there's the title track, which sounds nearly as fresh in the opening of the 21st century as it did in the mid-1960s. The 1994 Sequel Records reissue includes a quartet of bonus tracks that never made it onto albums in 1965, the previously unreleased "The Sound of Love," and a quartet of orphaned singles tracks, "You'd Better Come Home," "Jack and John," and the exuberant, ecstatic "Round Every Corner." The sound on the Sequel CD is also exceptionally good, even by modern CD standards.

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