Inspired soul-rock covers of Creedence, The Beatles and more.
David Quantick 2010
Their marital history is the stuff of unpleasant legend, as soul rocker Ike abused singer wife Tina, and Tina escaped, and became – with, bizarrely, the help of members of Heaven 17 – one of the most successful stadium pop stars of the 1980s. But back in the far off days of the 1960s, when their touring revue was the greatest live event in the world and Mick Jagger wanted almost literally to be Tina, the Turners produced some of the most extraordinary soul music of the era.
And they weren’t just revered for tracks like River Deep, Mountain High – a Phil Spector single which apparently doesn’t even feature Ike, just Tina and all the orchestras in the world – but also inspired covers like Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Proud Mary and The Beatles’ Come Together, mining white rock/pop tunes for hidden soul deeps. This collection gathers together 21 of those remakes, and some are of course a bit more brilliant than others.
On Come Together, Tina trashes Lennon’s vocal for swampy murk, while Sugar Sugar finds a New Orleans swing that it’s likely The Archies never noticed. Proud Mary is 1960s rock incarnate, while Ode to Billie Joe has a jittery neurosis entirely apt to the Bobby Gentry original.
Elsewhere things are a little more variable: George Harrison’s Something lurches in on a soupy gloop of strings and seems uncertain as to why it’s been asked along. Get Back (the Turners clearly enjoyed late-period Beatles) is perfectly fine but a bit perfunctory. And oddest of all is the last song here, a ragged but impassioned cover of Alice Cooper’s Only Women Bleed, which in the light of Tina Turner’s later disclosures makes perfect sense.
This collection is pretty comprehensive but suffers slightly from weak mastering and sleeve notes which tell us only slightly more than we might know already.