Monday, October 29, 2007

No. 212: Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner

Band: Ike and Tina Turner
Album: Proud Mary: The Best of Ike and Tina Turner
Why Rolling Stone gets it right: Before Tina was a survivor (and on a related note, before Ike Turner was the king of the wife beaters), she sang with her then-husband. They made their name putting their stamp on what are, essentially, rock standards, culminating in the famous "Proud Mary."
Why Rolling Stone gets it wrong: I'm just pretty non-impressed by this collection. Tina's voice isn't what I thought it was and the song selection is just weird.
Best song: "River Deep, Mountain High" is pretty great, though, it's the main highlight on the album. I'll say this, though: It's not near the version with Phil Spector producing.
Worst song: I'm mostly non-plussed with the whole thing, so I can't really say that one song is so much worse than another, though their cover of "I Want To Take You Higher" is an insult to the original.
Is it awesome?: Nope.

Here's something I didn't know: When Ike and Tina Turner started performing together, they were not married. In fact, he was married to another woman, though Tina was pregant with Ike's child. Classy guy, that Ike.

So, Ike's spousal abuse aside, I'm not totally impressed by this collection. There are decent songs ("Working Together" is all right, I guess) but the record is peppered with inexplicable covers. A point made to me about my Linda Rondstadt piece complained that we put too much emphasis on songwriting in evaluating singers, denouncing the singers who don't write their own material. I understand that point, but I'll say this: Covers of hit songs don't make sense to me. The Carpenters doing "Ticket To Ride" is kind of mind-boggling and, I think, Ike and Tina doing "Honky Tonk Woman," "I Want To Take You Higher" and, to some extent, "Proud Mary" is kind of dumb.

I was actually looking forward to this record, in the hopes that I'd like it; A lot of people claim Ike Turner to be one of the best early rock and rollers. Plus, everyone loves Tina's voice.

Well, I wasn't impressed with either. Too bad.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Yeah, it's pretty dumb that RS chose a compilation from 1991 to represent the Turners, especially one where none of the Phil Spector singles are included.
Furthermore, Ike and Tina do have a definitive album; that would be Working Together (1971). It's a solid record, and there are only three covers on it.
My personal favorite Turner album is Feel Good (1972). If you like early funk, you will like this album. It has a really thick and tough sound, and it's all originals. It's also the most cohesive as an album and has pretty strong storytelling. It's really fun, if not a little sleazy.