This single CD gathers two mid- to late-'60s long-players from Brit-pop vocalist Lulu. The Most of Lulu (1967) as well as Lulu's Album (1969) paired the artist with Mickie Most (producer/arranger) and his crew -- which often included the distinct work of John Paul Jones (string arrangement/bass/guitar/brass) several years prior to his commitment to Led Zeppelin. It was during this time that she became a fixture on the Swingin' London mod scene. She made little impact stateside, with the exception being the title track from the film To Sir With Love (1967) where she likewise played "Miss" Barbara Pegg alongside Sidney Poitier's brilliant portrayal of high-school educator "Sir" Mark Thackeray. The same was not true in England, however, and this two-fer title contains some of her most memorable sides, such as the rocker "Love Loves to Love Love." This is perhaps best recalled, by the modern listener, from the sampled loop of the opening guitar lick as heard on Fatboy Slim's (aka Norman Cook) "Santa Cruz." Her loose and freewheelin' cover of Neil Diamond's "The Boat That I Row" as well as "Me, the Peaceful Heart," "Boy," and "I'm a Tiger" were among the hits that Lulu scored before she was even 20 years old. Her marriage in 1969 to Bee Gee Maurice Gibb also had an effect on her music. Although it wasn't a smash, her reading of "I Started a Joke" became one of the best interpretations from Lulu's Album (1969). The title also included a few chart-toppers, such as the quirky countrified waltz "Boom Bang-a-Bang." There are also a few other cover versions that are worth mentioning -- such as the tastefully arranged and implemented small-string section on Harry Nilsson's "Without Her [Him]" or the heartfelt arrangement of Burt Bacharachand Hal David's "A House Is Not a Home." The Most of Lulu/Lulu's Album (2002) is a great primer for both the casual listener as well as the enthusiast looking to replace their well-worn vinyl copies of either or both albums.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer