Olivia Newton-John

Let Me Be There

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Two years after the single "If Not for You" hit the Top 25 on the Uni label, the MCA imprint re-released most of the If Not for You album, along with Newton-John's second U.S. hit, "Let Me Be There," and titled the disc after the new smash. With seductive blue ink shadowing her beautiful face and the word Olivia splashed atop the cover, the company created a collector's item with the original LP, a respect from the aficionados that couldn't have been predicted in the '70s, and well-deserved credibility for the popular artist. The first single hit number one on the middle-of-the-road charts, and that market, along with her country base, enabled Newton-John to rack up 26 additional hits, concluding with 1985's "Soul Kiss," the last one almost mirroring her initial success, going Top 20. This collection is a little awkward for the fans who purchased the original hit album, and it gets more confusing: Pye released a 1971 disc, entitled Olivia Newton-John, with most of these tracks, while EMI pressed two different titles in 1974, Crystal Lady and First Impressions, also containing much of this music. Along with the excellent title track, "Let Me Be There," MCA added a cover of John Denver's "Take Me Home Country Roads," a nice rendition of the Merilee Rush classic, Chip Taylor's "Angel of the Morning," and a convenient country tune, "Just a Little Too Much." Tunes missing on Let Me Be There which appeared on the original If Not for You release are the weak version of David Gate's "If," the Band's "In a Station," a second Lesley Duncan tune, "Lullaby," Tom Rush's "No Regrets," "If I Gotta Leave," and "Where Are You Going to My Love." It's early Newton-John, a bit naïve and far from the sophistication of her Warm and Tender release on Geffen, but it works, especially because it contains her first two hit records.

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