Tuesday, 5 February 2013

The Ike and Tina Turner Revue in Europe - February 1971

1971 was a good year for Ike and Tina Turner. In the previous 12 months they'd had their first top 40 hit in the USA in nearly ten years with a cover of Sly & The Family Stone's I Want to Take You Higher (their most famous hit River Deep - Mountain High was a flop when originally issued in the US). A cover of The Beatles' Come Together also charted and began a switch away from R'n'B towards rock flavoured material. In early 1971, they covered Creedence Clearwater Revival's Proud Mary which became their biggest hit, reaching number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and selling over a million copies. A live album What You Hear Is What You Get was recorded at Carnegie Hall and became their first gold-selling album. Such was the success of their 1971 recordings that Ike was able to build Bolic Sound Studios near their home in Inglewood, California.

Watching the clips below from German Beat Club and Dutch TV one can see that Tina Turner was always a star. The voice. The energy. The command of the stage. The sexual allure...  However, how much was she held back by Ike and what could she have achieved without him?

There is no doubt that Tina owes her career to Ike but imagine if she'd left him sooner. Ike and Tina Turner scored some memorable hits but they were covers. What if someone had been writing material especially for her? Can you imagine the results if Tina had recorded at Muscle Shoals for Atlantic in the mid to late 60s? Or, given that Tina always said she preferred singing rock to soul, fronting a rock band and outrocking Janis Joplin?

Anyway, we can only guess and watch some of these excellent clips from the 1971 European tour when Tina still had a lot of rock'n'roll edge before she got softened up in the 80s. The Ikettes are also impressive here as back up singers. Perhaps the choreography doesn't stand up too well now but they have a personality and character that contemporary backing vocalists never have. There is warmth, playfulness, energy and some real raw soul here.

On Beat Club
River Deep - Mountain High
Beat Club was a German music program that ran from September 1965 to December 1972. It was broadcast from Bremen, Germany. The version of River Deep - Mountain High here is stunning - one of the best live versions I've heard. Raw and primitive but matching the tumultuous intensity of the Spector version.

Proud Mary
Starts nice and easy...

Take Another Piece of My Heart.
The Ikettes get their turn and do a solid version of Take Another Piece of My Heart. According to rabbitno2's comment on YouTube under this clip the Ikettes here are, left to right, Esther Jones, Jean Burks and Vera Hamilton

Come Together / Respect
Respect is ironic considering Tina's personal life at the time with Ike. "I'd like to talk about respect but instead..."

The Ike and Tina Turner Review live
An hour of the Ike and Tina Turner Review recorded in February 1971 for Dutch TV.
Not as impressive as the Beat Club performances but Tina is in fine voice, looks great and is very much the star of the show. The Ikettes lend splendid support. What backing singers are this athletic nowadays? Ike stays pretty much in the background, which is probably just as well, as he seems to be sporting a 1964 Beatle wig and looks like he just beamed down from the Starship Enterprise. No wonder the audience seem so bemused in the early part of the show.

Mostly a rock oriented repertoire however the bluesy I Smell Trouble is outstanding - deep soul with Ike giving it some fine and dirty blues guitar.

1. Them Changes
2. Sweet Inspiration
3. I Want To Take You Higher
4. Ooh Poo Pah Doo
5. A Love Like Yours, Don't Come Knockin' Every Day
6. River Deep, Mountain High
7. Come Together
8. Honky Tonk Women
9. Proud Mary
10. I Smell Trouble
11. There Was A Time
12. Shake A Tail Feather
13. I Want To Take You Higher


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