Title - The East West Years 1995-1998 [3CD]
Artist - Bonnie Tyler
For those unaware, Welsh chanteuse Bonnie Tylerís musical career began in 1977 with the country-tinged worldwide hit, Lost In France, but her biggest smashes came in the mid-Ď80s when she teamed up with Bat Out Of Hell creator, Jim Steinman.
Germany was always a big stronghold for Bonnie Tyler, and a new deal there with East West Records led to the release of Free Spirit, in 1995.
Featuring songs from a number of established and acclaimed writers, including Frankie Miller and the Scorpionsí Rudolph Schenker and Klaus Meine, it included an equally varied array of producers, including ELOís Jeff Lynne.
The album is particularly notable for seeing Bonnie teaming up with mentor, Jim Steinman, for the singles Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All), which had previously been a huge hit for Air Supply, plus Two Out Of Three Ainít Bad, which had originally been recorded by Meat Loaf for the multi-platinum Bat Out Of Hell.
Three years later, Bonnie released her second East West album, All In One Voice. The album was mainly produced by Jimmy Smyth, and featured contributions from Mike Batt (The Wombles, Katie Melua) and Harold Faltermeyer (Beverly Hills Cop).
The lead single, Heís The King, was also used in a popular German TV show of the time The King of St. Pauli, that Bonnie made an appearance in. Always a truly international artist, the second single from the album, Heaven was performed at Swedenís selection show for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The upcoming The East West Years 1995-1998 (releasing September 24th, 2021 via Cherry Pop Records, UK) is a 3CD set that features those two aforementioned Ď90s albums; who recently celebrated her 70th birthday.
There is also a bonus CD of their international-selling single cuts in various formats including the mighty Two Out Of Three Ainít Bad, her cover of The Alan Parsonsís Projectís Limelight and the theme tune to German TV series The King of St. Pauli in which she appeared.
With contributions from Bat Out Of Hell composer Jim Steinman, Frankie Miller, the Scorpionsí Rudolph Schenker plus Klaus Meine, Mike Batt and Harold Faltermeyer (Beverly Hills Cop), this wonderful new 3CD set is just perfect for all Bonnie Tyler fans.
Disc One: Free Spirit (1995)
1. Nothing To Do With Love
2. Youíre The One
3. Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All)
4. Given It All
5. What You Got
6. Bridge Over Troubled Water
7. Time Mends A Broken Heart
8. Driving Me Wild
9. Sexual Device
10. Make It Right Tonight
11. All Night To Know You
12. Forget Her
13. Two Out Of Three Ainít Bad
14. Sexual Device (The Vari Mix)
With her throaty voice sounding as raspy and smoky as ever, (reminiscent of Kim Carnes or a female Rod Stewart), which is what made Bonnie Tyler so unique, I personally love this 26 year-old album of flashback music.
OK, sure, playing Devilís Advocate, several songs on the album rate about average, but there are several shining moments which should have brought this set, from such an engaging singer, much more attention than the minimal it received.
Their version was already great, but hers is awesome. The albumís first single (which went nowhere) was a dance remake of the Meat Loaf hit Two Out of Three Ainít Bad, and the upbeat treatment sends the song in a whole different, and entirely appealing, direction.
Her performance is truly passionate, and makes for a song that would have sounded fantastic on the radio as well as in a nightclub. Her blown-up rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water is perhaps a little too much for some, and may reach the point where her asset becomes a liability.
When she sings in an understated manner, such as the intimate Time Mends a Broken Heart, the lovely What You Got, and the appealing power ballad All Night to Know You, the results are just as good, if not better.
There are some low points, especially the obnoxious and tacky Sexual Device and Driving Me Wild, both which recall the worst of bad 1980s hair metal.
However, and despite these pitfalls, this album has some great moments, and when she shines, she does indeed become a free spirit.
Disc Two: All In One Voice (1998)
2. Like An Ocean
3. Soon Will Be Too Late
4. You Always Saw The Blue Skies
5. We Can Start Here
6. Angel Of The Morning
7. The Reason Why
8. Return To Blue
9. Youíre Breaking My Heart Again
10. I Put A Spell On You
11. Iíll Never Let You Down
12. The Rose
13. Heís The King
14. Silent Night
In truth, All In One Voice is an unexpected experimental offering from Tyler. Released in 1998, it achieves a striking balance between Celtic-influenced acoustic folk-pop and a mainstream European pop sound.
The first half of the album was recorded with The Bogey Boysí Jimmy Smyth in Dublin. Here, Tyler explores a new sound with traditional Irish folk instruments, including uilleann pipes and low whistle.
Smythís experience producing The Sun and the Moon and the Stars, an ambient album by Spirit of Eden, yields some interesting results for All in One Voice, especially with Like an Ocean and We Can Start Here, which feature ritualistic chanting and hushed whispers.
Furthermore, to my mind the album provides an excellent opportunity to explore a softer side to Tylerís distinctive raspy vocals with the latter half of the album was recorded in Hamburg with Harold Faltermeyer.
My personal stand out is Tylerís haunting delivery of I Put a Spell on You, which was produced by Mike Batt. Ergo, All In One Voice is a mature effort from Tyler, and though it failed to yield any major hits - the album itself failed to chart worldwide - she should rightly be commended for this daring endeavor.
Disc Three: Singles & Bonus Tracks (1995-1998)
1. Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All) (Radio Version)
2. Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All) (Long Version)
3. Making Love (Out Of Nothing At All) (Shnauzer Plus)
4. Two Out Of Three Ainít Bad (Radio Version)
5. Two Out Of Three Ainít Bad (Kobe Edit)
6. Two Out Of Three Ainít Bad (Ralphiís Soft Dub)
7. Two Out Of Three Ainít Bad (Ralphiís Cha-Cha Dub)
8. Two Out Of Three Ainít Bad (Ralphiís Extended Vox)
9. Two Out Of Three Ainít Bad (Ralphiís Tribal Beats)
10. Limelight (Radio Version)
11. Limelight (Overture Mix)
12. Heís The King (Radio Version)
13. Heís The King (Acoustic Mix)
14. Heaven (Chamber Mix)
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