Jane Olivor

The Best Side of Goodbye

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Jane Olivor was a stranger in a strange land crafting albums in the '70s which never reached the potential of Love Decides, her Varese Sarabande compact disc released in 2000. The Best Side of Goodbye (1980) comes close with its sensitive settings for Olivor's thoughtful vocals. Producer Jason Darrow creates a subdued Barry Manilow-type production with the title track, while Michael Masser produces what is arguably the definitive version of his collaboration with Linda Creed, the George Benson hit from 1977 "The Greatest Love of All." Whitney Houston would take it to number one in 1986, but in Jane Olivor's care the song enjoys a different nuance, perhaps one that its co-creator had in mind to begin with. Olivor sounds absolutely determined as the strings swell up behind her and she belts out the philosophy. Louie Shelton also offers his vision for the singer, and "Manchild Lullaby" becomes a serenade for adults, the other side of Linda Ronstadt's Dedicated to the One I Love. Olivor's singing is ghostly and ethereal on Gordon Lightfoot's "Weeping Willows, Cattails," empowering on Gerry Goffin and Michael Masser's "To Love Again," and heartfelt on Randy Edelman's "Don't Let Go of Me." Three producers on one project is the Tina Turner Private Dancer approach, and hearing what these individuals do with Olivor's perfect vocal instrument is as enjoyable as listening to her take each note and stretch it for all it is worth. As Olivia Newton-John would go to different extremes, keeping it loose on Totally Hot and going beyond serious on Warm and Tender, Jane Olivor takes both paths and builds a satisfying set of performances. It took two decades before she could surpass this effort, as she did so admirably with Love Decides. The Best Side of Goodbye stands on its own as a valuable look at a valuable artist. It has a special power and some of its moments are quite moving.

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