Album, Single and EP Reviews



  New Routes by Lulu

New Routes cover art

Artist: Lulu
Title: New Routes
Catalogue Number: Atco SD33-310
Review Format: LP
Release Year: 1970

You have to have a bit of Lulu every now and then. She's a national institution here in Scotland and it would be remiss of the Bluesbunny not to squeeze her in a review every now and then. So, once more into the Vinyl Vault and out we came with her 1970 album "New Routes.

Recorded at Muscle Shoals Studios in Alabama, you could hardly think of a more relevant place to record Lulu's soulful tones. Anyway, it was also fashionable then to record UK singers in the USA. Petula Clark had released her "Memphis" album that same year after all and like her, Lulu had the big names behind the mixing desk as well with production credits shared by Jerry Wexler, Tom Dowd and Arif Mardin.

All in all, it's a polished and pleasant collection of songs. There's a couple of middle of the road songs from the Gibb stable - she was married to Maurice Gibb at the time - to open the album.  They don't really convince and it takes "People of Love" (co written by Muscle Shoals in-house guitarist Eddie Hinton and Grady Smith) before she stamps her mark on the proceedings and by the time she gets to "Feelin' Alright", Lulu has hit her stride.

Flipping the vinyl over gets us right down to business. "Dirty Old Man" is delivered convincingly. Well, apart from that odd transatlantic accent that Scots get when they spend a bit of time in America (now referred to as an "easton" after a certain singer from Bellshill) anyway. The string heavy arrangements are simple dismissed by the sheer power of her voice and she easily handles standards like "Mr Bojangles" and duly kicks her way off this album with a rousing "Sweep Around Your Own Back Door". Now, that's soulful!

In conclusion, while "New Routes" doesn't quite scale the heights reached by Pet Clark with her "Memphis" album, it is still a decent album. Not actually available on CD itself, the songs have turned up on a compilation CD called "The Atco Sessions". Vinyl is best however. You know it's true.
Review Date: October 26 2008