Lulu - Shout (The Complete Decca Recordings 1964-67)
Release Date June 23, 2009
Although Lulu's mid-'60s Decca recordings have been issued piecemeal on numerous anthologies, somehow no one executed the logical idea of putting them all together on one release until this 42-track, two-CD collection. All of her 1964-1967 sides for the label are included, serving as a comprehensive document to the first three years or so of her recording career. Particularly in the U.S. (where she really wasn't known until the 1967 chart-topper "To Sir with Love," not included here), this period has remained rather obscure, and certainly not as familiar to the general rock fan as her more commercially successful recordings of the late '60s. This is a shame, as this was undoubtedly the era -- in spite of her tender teenage years -- in which she laid down her most soulful, R&B-influenced, and raunchiest recordings by far. The 1964 British hit cover of "Shout!" is of course the most famous of these. But those who dismiss Lulu as a relative lightweight of the British Invasion might be surprised to find quite a few other first-rate combinations of soul and girl group pop here, like "Nothing Left to Do But Cry," "I'll Come Running Over," "After You," "Take Me as I Am," "Can't Hear You No More," and a rip-roaring "Heatwave." The completist nature of this project does mean you get a good number of mediocre songs that wouldn't have made the cut for a more selective single-disc Decca-era best-of. Too, some of the rarer numbers (including both sides of a German-language 45 and numerous non-LP tracks) just aren't in the same league with the more familiar tunes. But with comprehensive liner notes, this is a necessary acquisition for Lulu fans, and a pretty good one for more general British Invasion admirers.