Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Pulling this album off the shelves at random has been an education. It is beautifully unplayed and of course there is no rational explanation for how it came to be on the sagging shelves at Elsewhere.
But perhaps here might be an answer.
This US r'n'b singer might not have done any serious chart damage in her homeland or the UK with this second album (#75 in the US, #21 in Britain) but New Zealand seemed to love her.
The album went to number three and her version of Dionne Warwick's Don't Make Me Over (written by Bacharach-David) topped the singles charts. She also covers the Warwick/Bacharach-David hit Walk On By which was pretty courageous (and how the album was known in the UK).
Not that I knew that.
As I say, a beautifully unplayed album pulled from the shelves to consider. I must have been sent it for review.
Frankly, it's hard to hear why we were so enthusiastic about Sybil: her versions of Don't Make Me Over and Walk on By are vocally bland, only getting by on shuffling beats (which locals D-Faction would elevate to an art form in their covers of Down in the Boondocks, First Cut is the Deepest, Redemption Song etc).
Local artists like Ngaire and Sulata would wipe the floor with Sybil.
Crazy For You with Salt'N'Pepa is more in the dancefloor zone, but the album can't quite make up its mind where it wants to put Sybil, in the bedroom or the club.
And the songs are rarely distinctive (try figuring out Bad Beats Suite).
Perhaps the key player here was Eddie O'Loughlin who is one of the many producers and credited with “music supervision and selection”.
Sybil was no revelation but I'll hang on to this copy until I choose to sell it as “played just once”.
You can hear this album at Spotify here
Elsewhere occasionally revisits albums -- classics sometimes, but more often oddities or overlooked albums by major artists -- and you can find a number of them starting here.