Petula Clark was a woman in her mid-thirties when she had such hits as “Downtown,” “I Know A Place,” “My Love,” and “Don’t Sleep In The Subway,” as part of the British musical invasion of the United States in the 1960s. She had been a child star in England during the 1940s and had had a number of hits in Europe prior to becoming popular in America but her sharing the charts with the likes of The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Rolling Stones was unique in both sound and appearance.
The major hits may have dried up in the 1970s but she has continued to record material down to the present day. Open Your Heart is her new 2009 CD release. It is a 21 track collection of love songs and ballads that have been gathered from the 1970s to the 1990s and combined with some previously unreleased material. While none of her recognizable up-tempo hits are included, it is still an excellent compilation and sure to please new and old fans alike.
This release was well thought out. While the material is all love songs; the tempos and styles vary which keeps it interesting. In addition five of Clark’s own compositions are included. Many of the older tracks have been cleaned as the sound is crystal clear.
There were a number of performances that stood out for me. I remembered her version of “The Wedding Song” from 1972. This song has probably been recorded hundreds of times yet this version remains one of the best. Her cover of the Queen song, “These Are The Days Of Our Lives,” is a poignant look back at love and life. Recorded when she had just turned seventy it becomes a personal statement. “C’est Ca, Ma Chanson” is performed in both French and English and is sung in a sultry lower register. “Walking On Air” has a little bite as her vocal runs counterpoint to the brass backing.
Perhaps the most unique track was her own 1975 composition, “Super Loving Lady.” It contains brass, guitars and an almost New Orleans sound. It reminds me of Dusty Springfield and is about as rocking as Petula Clark gets.
Open Your Heart all adds up to a fine addition to Petula Clark’s extensive catalogue of music. It shows that she produced a lot of superior material after her sixties run of hits ended. If you are partial to this type of pop music, then this album is recommended as a definite buy.