Petula Clark

The Very Best of Petula Clark [Prism 1997]

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At first glance, this appears to be a succinct compilation of Petula Clark's most memorable '60s pop hits, but a closer inspection of the liner notes reveals it to be a collection of mid-'90s recordings by the legendary pop siren. Without the grand production to buoy her up-tempo hits, Clark cannot replicate the peppy kick of "My Love," "I Know a Place," and "Downtown," all of which seem a bit subdued despite her admirable efforts. Songs that weren't as dependent upon a wall of sound in their original incarnations fare better in this setting, particularly Charlie Chaplin's "This Is My Song," which Clark interprets beautifully for at least the second time in her career. Die-hard fans and curiosity seekers may be interested in these updated versions of Clark's repertoire, as her voice remains an expressive, beguiling instrument. However, those expecting the original '60s recordings may experience buyer's remorse after reading between the lines of the deceptive packaging.

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