Album: Lulu

Together, Mercury
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This is presumably Lulu's attempt to emulate the success of Tom Jones's 1999 duets album Reload, but the choice of collaborators speaks volumes about the differences between the two Sixties icons' self-images. Authenticity was the keyword behind Tom's duets with youthful indie-rockers like Cerys Matthews, Portishead and Stereophonics. In Lulu's case, the involvement of Ronan Keating, Westlife and Atomic Kitten suggests a different agenda, one whose parochial showbiz values, are confirmed by the presence of such venerable brands as Cliff, Elton and McCartney. Several tracks resuscitate old Lulu hits: a remix of "Stop Foolin' Around" with Kerphunk, a remake of "To Sir with Love" with Samantha Mumba, and the disinterral of 1993's "Relight My Fire" and "I'm Back for More", with Take That and Bobby Womack respectively. The latter is one of the few convincing soul cuts, a shame, given Lulu's facility with the form. Elsewhere, she and Elton bring a Philly-soul sheen to Womack & Womack's "Teardrops", which works better than the lumpy funk treatment meted out to "Reunited" by Cliff and herself. An electronic funk setting is applied to the cover of Sylvia's "Shame Shame Shame", with Atomic Kitten; but "Sail on Sailor", with Sting, sticks tightly to the Beach Boys' original approach. Completists lured by McCartney's involvement will be disappointed: "Inside Thing" is basically Wings' "Let 'em in" with new lyrics.

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