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Music Review: Juice Newton – Duets: Friends & Memories

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Juice Newton has passed the 35-year mark in the music business. She began her career during the early seventies as a part of Juice Newton and Silver Spur. By the late seventies, she had embarked upon a successful solo career.

Newton produced 11 pop chart hits from 1978-1984, including “Angel Of The Morning” (#4), “Queen Of Hearts” (#2), “The Sweetest Thing (I’ll Ever Know)” (#7), and “Love’s Been A Little Bit Hard On Me” (#7). She went on to place 24 hits on the American country charts, including four that reached the #1 position. She has continued to record and tour down to the present day.

Her latest release is Duets: Friends & Memories. As the title would suggest, it is an album of duets. Tracks include “Still The One” and “Fooled Around and Fell In Love” with Gary Morris, “The Biggest Part Of Me” with Frankie Valli, “Take It To The Limit” with Randy Meisner, “Touch Me” and “Funny How Time Slips Away” with Willie Nelson, “Without You” and “Up Where We Belong” with Glenn Campbell, “These Dreams” with Dan Seals, and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” with Melissa Manchester.

Juice Newton chose her partners well, as they match her style and vocal skills. Nelson has taken part in duets with some of the greats of the music world and here, he was able to help her translate their two pop standards together into a nice country/adult contemporary mix. Her duet with Melissa Manchester is a uniting of two popular voices from a quarter of a century ago that challenge each other today.

“These Dreams” with Dan Seals is a poignant performance as he has since passed away. Another fine performance was with Randy Meisner on his composition, “Take It To The Limit.”

The Duets project began in the mid-nineties as an album that was to be released via a television infomercial. Legal problems kept it from being officially issued, although some tracks have leaked out down through the years.

It was originally slated to be a double album, so there are a number of performances that were not used for this single disc release, and hopefully they will be forthcoming in the future. I have heard the “Heart Of Gold” track with Meisner, and it would have been one of the stronger songs on the album.

Juice Newton may be far removed from her seventies and eighties hit days but she has continued to release well conceived and executed albums. It’s nice these duets have finally seen the light of day and hopefully more will be released in the future.

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