|Turn Up / Benjamin Hekimian / Mathieu Joly||Waxx||3:17|
Though the Turtles were rightfully known as an excellent pop/rock singles band, on this recording they let loose their humor, which was part of their act from the beginning. On the outside cover the group is dressed in conservative suits and bow ties, yet on the inside the group is clad in, shall it be tastefully said, less traditional attire. The Turtles (who wrote nine of the 12 songs on the original LP, two songs being added to the CD) basically mock the entire spectrum of music on this album, though elements of their pop/rock sound are contained even in the most country, psychedelic, and R&B elements of the music presented here. Two Top Ten hits are contained in this collection, Roger McGuinn's "You Showed Me" and the Turtles own subtly mocking "Elenore." Light psychedelia meets Booker T. & the MG's in the instrumental "Buzzsaw." The Beach Boys sound shows up in "Surfer Dan," and the original album closer "Earth Anthem" is a hippie ecology, folk-pop anthem that is both very pretty and quite satirical -- a listener could easily lose himself in the fine melody and atmospheric production, while laughing at the same time. The only potential problem with this album is that it is caught in the middle between two extremes: On the one hand, non-mainstream listeners will criticize the album for sounding too commercial, and, on the other, typical Turtles fans will find the album too sophisticated, especially if they are looking for another album like Happy Together. Between these two points of view falls an excellent album that is both commercial and comical, as if both of these elements couldn't coincide in one album.
This 1994 British studio cast recording of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver! features a strong cast led by character actor Victor Spinetti, who has a long series of West End credits and a Tony Award, but who remains best-known to American audiences for his supporting roles in the Beatles movies A Hard Day's Night and Help! Spinetti's Fagin is a good, detailed portrayal, and it's matched by Bonnie Langford's Nancy. The score, of course, remains tuneful, and the West End Concert Orchestra conducted by Matthew Freeman plays lively arrangements, even if the chorus often sounds a bit too properly British to be believable as a bunch of poverty-stricken boys. Originally recorded for the U.K. Carlton Shows Collection, this version was reissued as a low-priced disc available in the U.S. starting in the spring of 2001. It is not in the same league as the original London cast album, the original Broadway cast album, the original soundtrack, or the 1994 London revival cast album, but it is a pleasant enough recording, especially at a discount price.