Ronnie Spector: English Heart

Extraordinary collection of classic 60s covers.

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With a British tour and a decent compilation unfolding, Ronnie Spector, the best singer of her era, is sensibly releasing a collection of songs that – thank God – aren’t recent Morrissey solo efforts, but 1960s classics, reinterpreted in that extraordinary, hoarsely keening voice – a voice seemingly unaffected by time.

Employing a band who are more rooted in American rock’n’roll than the sometimes insipid sound of 60s British pop, Spector treats every song as though it were Be My Baby. Her choices are excellent and you could swear she’d recorded them at the time – from a finger-popping Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood to a gum-chewing Girl Don’t Come.

There’s a sassy Stones remake in I’d Much Rather Be With The Girls and a beautiful How Can You Mend A Broken Heart (Spector acknowledges it’s not in the album’s time frame but it’s so good, neither she nor the listener need worry).

Despite, or because of, its aptly era-appropriate brevity, English Heart is immaculate, and a lot better than it needs to be. Warm and beautiful.