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Dionne Warwcik: 4on2 CD Box Set Vol. 3

Windows Of The World & In The Valley Of The Dolls & Promises & Soulful

Reviewed by Heikki Suosalo

Rating: 7/ 10

The Windows of the World (’67; # 11 / 22) / In the Valley of the Dolls (’68; # 2 / 6) / Promises, Promises (’68; # 7 / 18) / Soulful (’69; # 2 / 11) – EDSX-3017 (3 CDs)

-         charted singles: Another Night, The Beginning of Loneliness, The Windows of the World, I Say a Little Prayer (*), (Theme From) Valley of the Dolls, (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me, Do You Know the Way to San Jose, Let Me Be Lonely, Who Is Gonna Love Me?, Promises, Promises, This Girl’s in Love with You (*), The April Fools, Odds and Ends, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling

  The first album consisted of six melodic B&D songs, plus – inevitably - movie themes and jazzy standards.  Actually I Say a Little Prayer evolved into a gold single.  The following Dolls set was Dionne’s second gold album, and, besides five B&D melodies, there were such thundering Italian big ballads as You’re My World, Silent Voices and For the Rest of My LifeValley of the Dolls and Do You Know the Way to San Jose hit top-ten on the Hot charts, so they were bigger pop than r&b hits.

  After the convincing Dolls album we once again return to MOR on Promises, Promises.  One of the cover songs is Little Green Apples, better known by O.C. Smith at that point.  Yesterday I Heard the Rain is an impressive big ballad.

  For the Soulful album Dionne went to the American Studios in Memphis, and it really is a nod to real soul music – notwithstanding We Can Work It Out, A Hard Day’s Night, Hey Jude and People Got to Be Free – but it also shows that she’s not a convincing southern or deep soul singer – witness I’m Your Puppet, Do Right Woman – Do Right Man and I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (to Stop Now).  Her style is a bit too light for the genre.

  This package contains 3 CDs, because there are as many as 22 bonus tracks included, most of them Dionne’s own production, and many of them are available on the ’72 From Within set.  There are some rejected Memphis tracks – The Weight, Loving You Is Sweeter than Ever, The Love of My Man – and most of them are cover songs.  Again there are a couple of big Italian ballads (Dedicato All’ Amore, La Voce del Silenzio) a light version of Ronnie Dyson’s hit, If You Let Me Make Love to You Then Why Can’t I Touch You?, a speeded-up interpretation of Put a Little Love in Your Heart and gospelly renditions of Reach out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand) & All kinds of People and To Be Young Gifted and Black, with Cissy Houston on the background.  Now this is powerful and soulful!  More soulful than the album called Soulful!

© Heikki Suosalo

The Other 3 Box Sets in the Same Series:

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