Atco/Atlantic had struck artistic and commercial gold when they brought Dusty Springfield to the States to record with Jerry Wexler, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd and topnotch Southern session musicians, so it made sense for the label to introduce another great British pop-soul singer, Lulu, to the same stellar production team. And Lulu, who had just married Bee Gee (and Atco label-mate) Maurice Gibb, didn’t need much convincing given the success of Dusty in Memphis.
The result was two overlooked classics: New Routes paired the Scottish singer with the classic Muscle Shoals session squad of Barry Beckett, David Hood, Roger Hawkins and Jimmy Johnson, with Eddie Hinton, Cornell Dupree and Duane Allman all sitting in on guitar. And Melody Fair, which also came out in 1970, retained the same production team but moved the sessions to Miami with the Dixie Flyers the back-up band.
Those two albums comprise disc one of this two-disc set; the other disc features almost an album’s worth of unreleased material produced by Dowd, plus alternate takes, the great single “It Takes a Real Man (to Bring Out the Woman in Me)”/”You Ain’t Wrong You Just Ain’t Right” and other stray tracks. Real Gone’s reissue of this compilation (which came and went in a heartbeat in the U,K. about seven years ago and sells for a queenly sum) includes new liner notes by Richie Unterberger;. it’s a fascinating look at forgotten phase in the career of one of the British Invasion’s leading female figures.
New Routes: 1. Marley Purt Drive / 2. In the Morning / 3. People in Love / 4. After All (I Live My Life) / 5. Feelin’ Alright / 6. Dirty Old Man / 7. Oh Me Oh My (I’m a Fool for You Baby) / 8. Is That You Love / 9. Mr. Bojangles / 10. Where’s Eddie / 11. Sweep Around Your Own Back Door
Melody Fair: 12.Good Day Sunshine / 13. After the Feeling Is Gone / 14. I Don’t Care Anymore / 15 (Don’t Go) Please Stay / 16. Melody Fair / 17. Take Good Care of Yourself / 18. Vine Street / 19 Move to My Rhythm / 20. To the Other Woman (I’m the Other Woman) / 21. Hum a Song (from Your Heart) / 22. Sweet Memories / 23. Saved
1. Bury Me Down by the River / 2. Got to Believe in Love / 3. Jokers Wild / 4. Come Down in Time / 5. Everybody’s Got to Clap / 6. Back Home / 7. Things Are Getting Better / 8. Love Song / 9. Goodbye My Love, Goodbye with the Dixie Flyers / 10. It Takes a Real Man (to Bring Out the Woman in Me) / 11. You Ain’t Wrong You Just Ain’t Right / 12. Even If I Could Change / 13. Hum a Song (from Your Heart) (Session Version) / 14. I Don’t Care Anymore (Early Mix) / 15. I Got to Believe in Love (Early Version) / 16. Povera Me (Oh Me Oh My)