Chris Farlowe

Handbags and Gladrags: The Immediate Collection

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Zeroing in exclusively on his 1965-69 stint for Immediate Records, this is the best Chris Farlowe anthology, with 27 songs and 77 minutes of music on a single CD. It was this era that saw Farlowe's only significant commercial success as a solo act, and the disc includes all half-dozen of his British chart singles (although only one of those, the chart-topping cover of the Rolling Stones' "Out of Time," was a truly big seller). It also has seven covers of Mick Jagger-Keith Richard songs (which were produced by Jagger as well), though all of these were done much better by the Rolling Stones themselves. To be harsh, as good value (and well-annotated) as this is, 27 songs might be too much for the more casual collector, some of the lesser tracks exposing Farlowe's weaknesses as a blustery blue-eyed soul singer. There are, however, some decent and overlooked cuts as well, like the original version of "Handbags and Gladrags" (though Rod Stewart's subsequent cover of the tune would become the definitive one), and the weirdly imaginative sitar-laden arrangement of the jazz standard "Moanin'," which gave Farlowe a low-charting single. Too, some of the later efforts find Farlowe toning down his vocal excesses for some uncharacteristically gentle and effective numbers, like "Everyone Makes a Mistake" (which sounds quite a bit like early Rod Stewart), "Dawn," the folk-rockish "Paperman Fly in the Sky," and "The Last Goodbye" (penned by "Handbags and Gladrags" author Michael d'Abo). Odder items include "North South East West," co-written by Farlowe and Albert Lee, a one-time member of Farlowe's backing band; the soul ballad "Baby Make It Soon," co-written by Andrew Oldham and future Alan Parsons Project member Eric Woolfson; and a bizarre cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," arranged to sound like (of all things) the Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself."

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:14
2 3:03
4 3:58
5 3:36
6 2:33
7 2:23
8 2:19
9 2:34
10 2:38
11 3:39
12 2:32
13 2:55
14 2:34
16 2:43
17 2:37
18 3:55
19 2:17
20 3:35
21 2:33
22 2:29
23 2:02
26 2:47
27 2:51
blue highlight denotes track pick