Audio Remasterer: Mike Milchner.
Liner Note Author: Joe Marchese.
The pleasant 2016 Petula Clark compilation, Natural Love: The Scotti Brothers Recordings, brings together a set of country and soft rock cuts the legendary British singer recorded in the early '80s for producer Tony Scotti. Best known for her 1964 hit "Downtown," Clark was an international star by the time she recorded these sides in Los Angeles in 1981. Coming during a hectic career upswing that also found her starring as Maria Von Trapp in a wildly popular London staging of The Sound of Music, the Scotti Brothers Recordings reunited Clark with New Jersey-based producer Tony Scotti. Scotti had previously produced several albums for Clark in the mid-'70s and was keen to have her on his newly minted label, founded with his brother, Ben. Picking up on the MOR vibe of their '70s work together, Clark and Scotti focused here on a mix of countrypolitan and soft rock sides. Generally speaking, they succeeded, and cuts like the breezy "Natural Love," and "Dreamin' with My Eyes Wide Open," with their double-tracked vocals, electric piano, strings, and crisp guitar twang often bring to mind the '70s work of Olivia Newton-John. Similarly, the ballad "Love Won't Always Pass You By" hints at Barbra Streisand. Elsewhere, Clark exuberantly wades into traditional country territory on the midtempo tearjerker "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain," and the honky tonk-ready "I Like What I'm Looking At." Also included is the sparkling, lightly soul-inflected "City of Dreams," a fittingly contemporary, '80s update on Clark's penchant for urban-themed anthems à la "Downtown." While Clark will always be most closely associated with her '60s hits, Natural Love showcases her immense versatility and cross-genre appeal. ~ Matt Collar