Paradise: The Sound of Ivor Raymonde 8/10
Unfairly overlooked classic pop stylist finally gets his due
Arranger, songwriter, producer and a member of the band on the ocean-going liner The Queen Mary during the 1940s, Raymonde’s story should be better known, for he had a major hand in some of the seminal singles of 1960s British pop. Lovingly compiled by his son Simon Raymonde (ex-Cocteau Twins and founder of Bella Union), these 26 tracks reveal Raymonde Snr as a very British mix of Phil Spector and Mickie Most, orchestrating Billy Fury’s “halfway To Paradise”, writing Dusty’s “I Only Want To Be With You”, arranging Bowie’s “Love You Til Tuesday”, producing Los Bravos’ wonderful Motown rip-off “Black Is Black” and throwing the kitchen sink at the Walker Brothers’ “Make It Easy On Yourself”. If they’re the best-known songs here, the obscurities are just as interesting, from the proto-psych/ heavy rock of the Flies’ “(I’m Not Your) Stepping Stone” to the baroque loveliness of the honeybus’s “She Sold Blackpool Rock”. he was still going strong into the 1980s, arranging the strings on Ian Dury’s “Superman’s Big Sister” before his death in 1990 at the youthful age of 63. Why his role is not more celebrated is a mysterious oversight that this splendid comp should now correct. Extras: 7/10. Booklet with in-depth liner notes; track-by-track commentary.