Portraits: A Tribute to Great Women of Song

Portraits: A Tribute to Great Women of Song

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by Olivia Newton-John
     
 
Seven years after it was originally released under the title Indigo: Women of Song, Olivia Newton-John's 2004 tribute to the female artists who influenced her glittering music career randomly receives the repackaged treatment, with the exact same track list but a slightly misleading different name. Of all her 25 studio albums to gain some renewed attention, it

Overview

Seven years after it was originally released under the title Indigo: Women of Song, Olivia Newton-John's 2004 tribute to the female artists who influenced her glittering music career randomly receives the repackaged treatment, with the exact same track list but a slightly misleading different name. Of all her 25 studio albums to gain some renewed attention, it seems odd that this mediocre collection of '60s-centric cover versions has been chosen ahead of her career-defining Physical or her mid-'90s return to form, Gaia. Nevertheless, for anyone who missed it first time round, it's another opportunity to hear the Australian icon valiantly tackle material by some of the most iconic and celebrated singers of all time. Backed by multi-Grammy Award-winning producer Phil Ramone's lush orchestral arrangements, Newton-John's light and airy vocals are the perfect foil for the swooning lounge-pop of the Bacharach/David-penned "Anyone Who Had a Heart" and "Alfie" (presumably inspired by the Dionne Warwick versions rather than Cilla Black's); "Send in the Clowns," the Stephen Sondheim show tune from A Little Night Music previously performed by Barbra Streisand, Judy Garland, and Shirley Bassey; and the breezy bossa nova of Astrud Gilberto's "How Insensitive." But her clean-cut sweetly sung tones lack the emotion to pull off Julie London's torch song "Cry Me a River," the melancholy to do justice to the Carpenters' classic "Rainy Days and Mondays," and the soul of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone to really convince on the Gershwin standard "Summertime," while any attempt to answer back to Minnie Riperton's famous quote of "the blonde singing the bland" backfires thanks to her complete avoidance of the iconic upper-octave high note on "Lovin' You." The sleeve note's charming stories that explain each song's significance show that Newton-John undoubtedly possesses a genuine love of the source material, but it's just a shame that Portraits: A Tribute to Great Women of Song only occasionally converts that affection into something genuinely diverting.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/21/2011
Label:
Green Hill
UPC:
0792755579527
catalogNumber:
55795

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Olivia Newton-John   Primary Artist
Hendrik Meurkens   Harmonica
Scott Kreitzer   Tenor Saxophone
Bruce Dukov   Concert Master
Vaneese Thomas   Background Vocals
Lisa Fischer   Background Vocals
Elena Barere   Concert Master
Rob Mathes   Piano
Dean Parks   Guitar
Shawn Pelton   Drums
Philippe Saisse   Keyboards
Randy Waldman   Keyboards
Brian O'Connor   French Horn,Soloist

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Stephen Sondheim   Composer
Pete Seeger   Composer
Olivia Newton-John   Liner Notes
Minnie Riperton   Composer
Vinícius de Moraes   Composer
Rob Mounsey   String Conductor
Burt Bacharach   Composer
Hal David   Composer
Walter Donaldson   Composer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Norman Gimbel   Composer
Arthur Hamilton   Composer
Antonio Carlos Jobim   Composer
Gus Kahn   Composer
Joel Moss   Engineer
Phil Ramone   Producer
Richard Rudolph   Composer
Ed Thacker   Engineer
Randy Waldman   Arranger,Producer,String Arrangements,String Conductor
Jimmy Williams   Composer
Paul Williams   Composer
DuBose Heyward   Composer
Roger Nichols   Composer
Mark Valentine   Engineer
Dorothy Heyward   Composer
Larry Harrison   Composer
Chad Allen Smith   Graphic Design

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Portraits: A Tribute to Great Women of Song 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Speecher More than 1 year ago
I certainly am not in agreement with the editorial B&N review.  This album is certainly a must for any ONJ fan, and far from "mediocre."  The combination of Olivia's take on the familiar melodies, supported by Ramone's production makes it a CD that I am very glad to have in my collection.    
Josh_West More than 1 year ago
This is a terrific showcase for Newton-John's vocals. I would love to hear an entire album of Bossa nova tunes like 'How Insensitive' or the beautiful standard 'Alfie', which is stunning.