Ike & Tina Turner

What You See Is What You Get

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The mere existence of an Ike & Tina Turner bootleg is something of an event, considering how seldom (if ever) soul artists such as the Turners are documented in such a fashion. However, the actual contents are -- like many bootlegs -- not as enticing as they might seem, though they're of value to serious enthusiasts. The core of the disc is the most intriguing section -- almost 40 minutes of outtakes from the session for the "River Deep Mountain High" single. Like many such things that show up on boots, though, this doesn't translate to, say, a dozen actual complete alternate versions. It's more like hearing work-in-progress layers of the track being built, some takes breaking down, others only including some of the instrumentation and/or vocals, and so forth. A slightly irritated voice -- presumably producer Phil Spector's, though the scant liner notes don't confirm this -- comes on at times to offer suggestions, criticisms, and scattered exhortations. For the serious scholar, it's interesting listening as a glimpse into the formation of a classic track; as pure listening, it's not the greatest, simply because of the incessant take-after-take repetition of the same song (or parts of it). Also, the takes or fragments aren't radically different from the finished, familiar versions; Tina Turner sings well throughout, and the basics of the arrangement are always in place, though a great deal of fine-tuning is going on. Filling out the CD are about a dozen songs from various 1966-1970 TV appearances (with a bit of linking interview material), taking a considerable dip in sound quality. Though these cuts aren't unlistenable by any means, the fidelity's rough enough that they're of only peripheral interest (and are sometimes brief, incomplete run-throughs of the songs). From what you can hear of the performances, though, they're pretty good, spanning early R&B material like "A Fool in Love" (in the 1966 segment) to covers of "I Want to Take You Higher," "Honky Tonk Women," "Proud Mary," "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window," and "Get Back" in the later tracks.