Linda Lewis


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The best of Linda Lewis' early-'70s output, Lark was cut before she broke into public gaze via her cameo performance on David Bowie's Aladdin Sane, and thus provided a point of reference for anyone induced to find out more about her. Built, again, around her instinctive musical (and personal) partnership with guitarist Jim Cregan, Lark is nevertheless light years ahead of her debut album, showcasing Lewis alongside a hard-hitting rhythm section that would, just a year or so later, be providing similar duties for John Cale, bassist Pat Donaldson, and drummer Gerry Conway. Only the absence of Say No More guitarist Chris Spedding spoils the party, but Cregan is equal to the task. The biggest difference between this album and its predecessor is in the presentation of Lewis' voice. No longer a wild weapon that can soar from childlike lilt to screaming dog whistle without a moment's notice, she channels her range to the emotions it demands, an economy most noticeable on the folky "It's the Frame," which finds her accompanied by her own guitar alone. Produced by Cregan and Lewis, Lark also finds space for some dramatic experimentation -- opening and closing the album, the gentle "Spring Song" and the poetic "Little Indians" find her working against a landscape of Emile Latimer's dramatic percussion (and muted guitars), with the latter recorded live at Croydon's legendary Fairfield Hall, in front of an audience that is clearly spellbound by the event. Also of note is the keys-heavy title track, a studio tour de force, conjuring up atmospheres as free and easy as Lewis' vocal gymnastics. The end result is an album that, even today, defines Lewis at her dramatic best -- and sounds as fresh to modern ears as it did to Bowie fans back then.

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