Petula Clark

Warm and Tender

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Petula Clark wasn't as visible in the 1970s as she was in the 1960s, but it wasn't for lack of trying, as this album demonstrates. She may not have had the distinctive songs -- courtesy of Tony Hatch, Jackie Trent, et al. -- to carry her to the top of the charts, or even part of the way up, but she was always good for excellent records, and knew a good song when she heard it. Here she's doing songs associated with the Carpenters, the Box Tops, and Peter, Paul & Mary, or written by Carole King, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, and others. In contrast to her '60s sides produced by Hatch and their bright, rhythmic textures, this record, cut with Arif Mardin, moves Clark into much more subtle, delicate sounds -- this is in keeping with Clark's approach to this repertory, which is much more personal than was typical for her '60s sides; the latter may have had a big sound and Clark at her highest level of technical virtuosity as a singer, but Warm and Tender finds her working in a much more intimate style. Nothing here may be as alluring on its face as, say, the Downtown or My Love albums, but it's just as valuable as a musical experience.

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