Sunday, 12 February 2017

Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep ~ Mountain High (Soul US 1966)


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Source: Japan SHM-CD Remaster

River Deep Mountain High is a studio album by the American R&B duo Ike & Tina Turner. The album contains songs from several different sources, 5 songs produced by the legendary producer Phil Spector and 7 songs that are older recordings produced by Ike Turner. It was released in September 1966 (1966-09) on A&M Records.

"River Deep – Mountain High" is a 1966 single by Ike & Tina Turner. Considered by producer Phil Spector to be his best work, the single was successful in Europe, peaking at #3 in the United Kingdom, though it flopped on its original release in the United States. Spector claimed to be pleased with the response from the critics and his peers, but he then withdrew from the music industry for two years, beginning his personal decline.

After Eric Burdon and the Animals covered the song in 1968, it was re-released a year later, and has since become one of Tina Turner's signature songs, though it charted even lower, "Bubbling Under" at #112.

In 1999, "River Deep – Mountain High" was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame.


Written by Spector, Jeff Barry, and Ellie Greenwich, "River Deep - Mountain High" was among the first recordings that Ike & Tina Turner did for Phil Spector's Philles Records. Spector was well aware of Ike Turner's controlling attitude in the studio, and resultantly drew up an unusual contract: the River Deep – Mountain High (album) and single would be credited to "Ike & Tina Turner", but Ike was paid $20,000 to stay away from the studio, and only Tina Turner's vocals would be used on record.

The track was recorded using Spector's "Wall of Sound" production technique, cost a then-unheard of $22,000, and required 21 session musicians and 21 background vocalists. Due to Spector's perfectionism in the studio, he made Turner sing the song over and over for several hours until he felt was the perfect vocal take for the song. 

The recording of the song was later dramatized for Tina Turner's biopic, What's Love Got to Do with It. At Ike Turner's 2007 funeral, Phil Spector chastised the film's depiction saying that he had a good relationship with Ike Turner and that the film was "garbage" stating that he insisted for Ike's name to be included on the recording despite the fact that executives of Spector's label Philles had only wanted Tina billed on the recording.

The single entered the lower end of the Billboard 100 and stopped at #88 on the pop charts. Even though it had better fortune in the United Kingdom, peaking at #3 in the singles charts on first release, Spector was so disillusioned that he ceased involvement in the recording industry totally for two years, and only intermittently returned to the studio after that; he effectively became a recluse and began to self-destruct.

Ike Turner remarked that he felt the record didn't do well in America because the sound was "pop or white", while Tina Turner's voice was R&B, so that "America mixes race in it"—though the writer Michael Billig observed that earlier records which had mixed black singers with a white pop sound had sold well, so it was likely to be that in 1966 the black political movement was encouraging African Americans to take a pride in their own culture, and "River Deep – Mountain High" was out of step with that movement.

Later Rolling Stone was to put it at #33 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

George Harrison praised the record, declaring it "a perfect record from start to finish." "River Deep - Mountain High" compared a woman's love and loyalty, respectively, to that which that a child feels for a doll, and a puppy has for his master.

In 1967, Harry Nilsson (who had worked with Spector as a songwriter early in his career) released a cover version of the song on his first RCA Victor album, Pandemonium Shadow Show. This was followed by an epic ten-minute version recorded by Deep Purple for their 1968 album, The Book of Taliesyn. An edited version was released as a single in the United States and reached #53 in early 1969 and #42 on the Canadian RPM charts.

The original Ike and Tina Turner version of the song was re-released the same year to a more receptive public and since then has gained the recognition Spector wanted from the record. Numerous versions have been recorded since, including two different recordings by Ike and Tina Turner that do not feature Spector's "Wall of Sound" production style, as well as some by Tina Turner herself without Ike Turner.

Eric Burdon & The Animals recorded an extended version of the song, with additional musical sections and a heavily dramatized arrangement, for their 1968 album Love Is. An edited version was released as a single, and the full version also appears on their 1969 compilation The Greatest Hits of Eric Burdon and The Animals. In 1985, Burdon recorded a live version of it and released it in 1992 on "That's Live".

The Australian band, The Easybeats, did a cover version in 1967. Another cover version was by 2 of Clubs, a Cincinnati-based American female pop duo, which failed to chart.

01."River Deep, Mountain High" (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector) - 3:38
02."I Idolize You" - 3:46
03."A Love Like Yours (Don't Come Knocking Everyday)" (Holland-Dozier-Holland) - 3:05
04."A Fool in Love" - 3:13
05."Make 'Em Wait" - 2:22
06."Hold on Baby" (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector) - 2:59
07."I'll Never Need More Than This" (Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, Phil Spector) - 3:33
08."Save the Last Dance for Me" (Doc Pomus, Mort Shuman) - 3:02
09."Oh Baby!" (Kent Harris) - 2:46
10."Every Day I Have to Cry" (Arthur Alexander) - 2:40
11."Such a Fool for You" - 2:48
12."It's Gonna Work Out Fine" (J. Michael Lee, Joe Seneca) - 3:14

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You neglected to mention that the LP WAS released (albeit in a tiny quantity of less than 100, maybe as little as 25) as Phillies PHLP 4011, with a plain cover, but with the yellow & red Phillies label, w/o Phil's permission; allegedly to garner excitement or airplay (??) It also appeared as a test pressing on a Monarch Record Manufacturing Co. white label as just "Ike & Tina". Monarch did test pressings for Philles.

In England, it WAS released on London at the time (September 16,1966), where the Tony Hall piece on the back was originally written. I had one, it was the only way to get it until the A&M one came out LATER in 1969.

I can send you pictures of the Phillies and Monarch labels, or you can find the album in the Google images page.

Thanks for posting it. It's also available (still??) as a Spanish import with, methinks, the Checkmates album (which also has some great stuff, but Phil lost interest in it, and let someone else finish it.)


Johnno