Ike & Tina Turner

River Deep-Mountain High

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The Universal Music Group's Hip-O Select imprint, devoted to pricey, quality reissues of gems from the company's extensive archives, here hits upon the legendary, if compromised Ike & Tina Turner album River Deep -- Mountain High. The title song was Phil Spector's last major effort, a Wall of Sound production from 1966 that hit in the U.K. but flopped in the U.S., leading to his retirement. There were a few other Spector tracks with the Turners (actually, only Tina appears on "River Deep -- Mountain High"), and an album was scheduled on Spector's Philles Records label. Discs were printed for a 1967 release, but no covers, and the LP never appeared. Two years later, A&M Records (its catalog now controlled by Universal) finally put it out. It turned out that Spector hadn't produced a whole album's worth of material; in addition to his productions ("A Love Like Yours [Don't Come Knocking Every Day]," "I'll Never Need More Than This," "Save the Last Dance for Me," and the title song), Ike Turner had produced a batch of typical Ike & Tina material, including remakes of their early-‘60s hits "A Fool in Love," "I Idolize You," and "It's Gonna Work Out Fine." Turner's simple, direct R&B production style has nothing in common with Spector's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink style, so the resulting collection is full of odd juxtapositions in sound. But no matter who's in the producer's chair, the center of the music is still Tina Turner, emoting for all she's worth.

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