Alan Price

The Price to Play

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Price's first album (released in the U.K. only, although some tracks would come out in the U.S.) is a rather routine set of club R&B/soul. Fronting a six-piece that includes three horns, Price sticks mostly to covers of familiar American tunes like "Mercy Mercy," "Ain't That Peculiar," "I Can't Turn You Loose," and "Barefootin'" on this amiable, but hardly remarkable, set. Price's voice is appealing, but lacks power, and in all it sounds like a clump of covers ground out hurriedly to get an album on the market. Georgie Fame did this kind of thing better, though Price's approach isn't as jazz-oriented. The CD reissue on Repertoire doubles the length of the original LP by adding 12 bonus tracks from 1965-1967 singles, including the brilliant British hit "I Put a Spell on You." The other singles cuts, alas, aren't in the same league, though in general they're better than the ones that constituted The Price to Play. His cover of "Any Day Now" is decent, and the interpretation of Randy Newman's "Simon Smith and the Dancing Bear" (presented in two versions) would both give him a British hit and foretell a move into a much poppier direction.

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