Elkie Brooks – Pearls II (1982): Review

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Produced by Gus Dudgeon
Label – A&M

Follow up to her massively successful predecessor “Pearls”, “Pearls II” follows the same format of cover songs performed in her familiar MOR style. Miss Brooks had made her name in 1964, originally covering an Etta James standard “Something’s Got A Hold On Me” which would offer up a career in the British Jazz circuit for the remainder of the decade. In the early 70’s she had nominal success sharing vocal duties with Robert Palmer in the Rock band Vinegar Joe. Her first solo outing came in 1975, and she would release 15 albums in the next 20 years.

elkie

The major difference between this and “Pearls” are the choice of songs, which are nowhere near as strong as the predecessor. There are none of the songs that made her famous, no “Lilac Wine” “Pearls A Singer”, or “Fool If You Think It’s Over”. Her choice of covers is in fact quite bizarre, particularly The Moody Blues “Nights In White Satin”, Pink Floyds “Money”, and Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop”. She adds nothing to these songs other than an alarming urgency to go back to the originals to remind oneself that they were originally good songs. Facile, lazy, and most of all devastatingly boring, this is the sort of album that none music lovers would purchase when they stop off at Motorway Service stations, waste 30 minutes and then end up walking out with this. What irks more than anything is the cover. Any album that joyously announces that it is “Another Masterpiece” immediately smacks of egotism, and ones natural reaction is to be suspicious of the contents.

I reserve the right to consign this dross to the Junkyard.

3/10

Track Listing
1.”Goin’ Back” (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) (4:26)
2.”Our Love” (Graham Lyle, Billy Livsey) (3:49)
3.”Gasoline Alley” (Ron Wood, Rod Stewart) (3:36)
4.”I Just Can’t Go On” (Lee Kosmin) (4:07)
5.”Too Much Between Us” (Paul Millns) (3:11)
6.”Don’t Stop” (Christine McVie) (3:13)
7.”Giving You Hope” (Elkie Brooks, Duncan MacKay) (3:02)
8.”Money” (Roger Waters) (4:43)
9.”Nights in White Satin” (Justin Hayward) (4:37)
10.”Loving Arms” (Tom Jans) (2:56)
11.”Will You Write Me a Song” (Nicholas Portlock, Robert Butterworth, Elkie Brooks) (4:47)

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15 responses to “Elkie Brooks – Pearls II (1982): Review

    • James, I can’t deny that she has a fine voice, and “Pearls” is undoubtedly a decent album. I have heard that she originally intended for “Pearls II” to be a harder, more rock oriented album which would have been certainly more appetising than this.

  1. There is some original sons on this album, which you forget to mention in you very bitchy review. Her cover of ” Going Back ” and “Gasoline Alley” are great, as is “Money” . Her vocal range on “Knights in White Satin” is amazing. This woman can sing.

    • Elkie is a fine singer, as is Elaine Paige, Barbara Dixon, Bonnie Tyler and Jennifer Rush. What defines their obvious abilities is the material they choose to sing. I just feel this is too safe and obviously meant to cash in on the success of the previous record. Maybe it’s Gus Dudgeon’s flat production or a management decision to opt for a more commercial sound than the rock oriented album I’m led to believe Elkie wanted to release.

      • The other singers you mention should NOT be in the same sentence as Elkie Brooks.
        Elkie can sing Jazz, Rock, Blues. the other singers you mentioned cannot. Elkie was known as the ” Wild Woman of Rock” and is currently referred to as ‘The British Queen of Blues ”
        Just because singer had chart success around the same time as others does NOT make them alike. Maybe you should review her last album ” Powerless” To get an idea.

  2. Elkie Brooks vocals are always amazing. she shows this on “Knights in White Satin” as in everything she does. Her vocal range is fantastic.
    You forgot to mention in your nasty review , that on this album there is some original stuff.
    She out shines Rod Steward on ” Gasoline Alley ” and she bring a great new feel to “Going Back “

    • “The other singers you mention should NOT be in the same sentence as Elkie Brooks.”

      I’m sure fans of those singers would have something to say about that.
      A “Wild woman of Rock” and great music aren’t necessarily mutually entwined. Indeed you could state that Gary Glitter was a “wild man of rock” but would you consider his body of music to be credible or important?

      Your assertion that she is “the Queen of British Blues” is misleading. Who is she competing against? How would she compete against American blues artists like Bessie Smith, Billie Holliday, Mamie Smith, Ma Rainey, Ethel Waters or Alberta Hunter?

      • NOT my assertion, it is mentioned in Wikipedia . Therefore not MY assertion . Elkie can hold her own against any of the singers you mentioned.Why people like you feel the need to bash other people makes me think you are very unhappy with your life !!!

  3. I think your “bitchy” and “nasty” review is spot on.

    If this woman is such an iconic woman in rock, then why has she never made it big in the United States? This album never crossed the pond. Wouldn’t an iconic woman of rock have the resume along the likes of Joan Jett and Janis Joplin?

    Her version of “Money” was awful. While I agree she has a good voice, is the echo really necessary? It doesn’t add to the song at all, but makes it worse.

    Keep up the honest and heartfelt reviews. Everything is subjective, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

    • just because one does not make it big in the U.S.A. does not mean they cannot cut it. I think her version of “Money ” is fantastic.
      Maybe you should ask the producer of this album , “why the echo”, but then again you can’t, he is dead.

    • Joan Jett and Janis Joplin were terrible singers obviously my opinion .Elkie Brooks can sing it all , Jazz , Rock, Blues.

  4. Thanks Alisa. I was just expressing my opinion on my blog. Music opinion is always subjective and that is what makes it such a wonderful experience. If we weren’t entitled to our opinion then we’d all be listening to Elkie Brooks

  5. Surprised to see some people here being hard on Elkie Brooks .In my opinion is the U.K.s finest female singer.Her pitching and phrasing is superb as is her overall sound is unique .
    I saw her a long time ago with Vinegar Joe in the U.S .She was awesome. Her vocals and her stage presence was amazing.A much better singer than Janis Joplin.
    I have since followed her and I can say she never produced a bad vocal. I even went to to U.K to see her in concert, as recent as 2013. The power and the energy is still there.

  6. Doug/James/Pia
    I simply can’t understand why you have to use different user names to make the same point. I have asked for a check on the ip address and every comment has come from the same static address. Some people would consider this “trolling”. I suggest you use your considerable expertise in all things Elkie Brooks and start your own site in her honour.

    I will not approve any more of your comments as you have spoke sufficiently on your belief, and by using different user/email addresses have unfortunately crossed my moral code on fair criticism.

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