Re­vealed at last – P.P. Arnold’s lost al­bum made with Barry Gibb and Eric Clapton!

Mojo (UK) - - News - Pat Gil­bert


To have your ca­reer scup­pered once by the Bee Gees’ feud­ing might be deemed a mis­for­tune; for it to hap­pen twice seems like care­less­ness. Yet the ’70s solo ca­reer of P.P. Arnold, who found late ’60s fame as the Small Faces’ back­ing vo­cal­ist and with her own record­ings for An­drew Oldham’s Im­me­di­ate la­bel, is more com­plex than that. Her tale of tri­umph and tragedy is to be told via a fas­ci­nat­ing new al­bum, The Turn­ing Tide, which col­lects un­re­leased ma­te­rial from the pe­riod pro­duced by Barry Gibb, Eric Clapton and gui­tarist Caleb Quaye. Eight tracks date from late 1969, when she first hooked up with Gibb, then at a loose end af­ter the Bee Gees’ first ma­jor bust-up. “Both Barry and I were at a cross­roads,” says the Los Angeles-raised P.P., who now lives in Spain. “I was to­tally lost af­ter [the demise of] Im­me­di­ate. Barry had heard my ver­sion of To Love Some­body [on her sec­ond LP, Ka­funta] and he liked it. So we started work on an al­bum. I didn’t have much con­fi­dence in my­self back then, but while work­ing with Barry I thought, Maybe I’m as good as they say I am!” But af­ter nail­ing sev­eral cov­ers and su­perla­tive Gibb orig­i­nals – in­clud­ing Born, Hap­pi­ness, Bury Me Down By The River and The Turn­ing Tide – at Lon­don’s IBC stu­dios, Bee Gees man­ager Robert Stig­wood pres­sured Barry into re­join­ing the group. Her al­bum on hold, Stig­wood com­pen­sated Arnold by se­cur­ing her a sup­port slot that De­cem­ber on the UK and Euro­pean legs of the De­laney & Bon­nie & Friends tour – the ‘Friends’ fa­mously in­clud­ing Ge­orge Har­ri­son and Eric Clapton. This led, in May 1970, to a ses­sion at Ad­vi­sion stu­dios with Arnold backed by a group fea­tur­ing Clapton plus drum­mer Jim Gor­don, bassist Carl Ra­dle and key­boardist Bobby Whit­lock. “Those were in ef­fect the first record­ings by Derek And The Domi­nos,” laughs Arnold. “We did Traf­fic’s Med­i­cated Goo, Van Mor­ri­son’s Brand New Day and the Stones’ You Can’t Al­ways Get What You Want. They sounded really good.” So good, in fact, that Derek And The Domi­nos started work on their own al­bum in­stead. Mov­ing back to LA, Arnold then suf­fered the loss of her daugh­ter, Deb­bie, in a car ac­ci­dent, which “messed me up real bad. I didn’t know what I was do­ing.” Help came in 1978 in the form of none other than Barry Gibb, who in­vited her to the LA pre­miere of the Bee Gees’ ill-starred Sgt. Pep­per’s Lonely Hearts Club Band movie. But again, de­spite trav­el­ling to Mi­ami to fin­ish record­ing with Gibb, Arnold’s chance to com­plete her solo al­bum once again ebbed away. Legal com­plex­i­ties and, says Arnold, “pol­i­tics” have pre­vi­ously pre­vented the ma­te­rial be­ing re­leased, but with the singer’s help Ocean Colour Scene/Paul Weller gui­tarist Steve Cradock and his wife Sally se­cured it for their Kun­dalini la­bel, with Weller’s en­gi­neer Charles Rees mix­ing the orig­i­nal tapes. Later this year Arnold will also pub­lish an au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, named for her 1967 hit, The First Cut Is The Deep­est, while Cradock is pro­duc­ing her new al­bum for re­lease next year. “Writ­ing my book taught me that des­tiny is my man­ager,” she says. “There was never a plan. I went where life took me.” The Turn­ing Tide is re­leased on Kun­dalini Mu­sic on Oc­to­ber 6.

Step­ping up: (left) P.P. Arnold in her hit­mak­ing years; (above) pro­ducer and Bee Gee Barry Gibb in the Cu­cum­ber Cas­tle movie, 1970; (be­low left) Eric Clapton, play­ing Domi­nos, 1970; (be­low) P.P.’s al­bum and (bot­tom) at a CND rally in Lon­don, 1969.

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