Slick but soulless offerings, with bonus tracks.
Having first made a name for herself in the worlds of folk and West End stage musicals, these two albums, originally released in 1980 and ’81, saw Dickson aiming her music at the broader MOR Radio 2 listeners of the times. But while she’s in fine voice throughout, the songs rarely give Dickson an opportunity to fully show what she can do.
Both albums are produced by Alan Tarmey, previously best known for his work with Cliff Richard and Leo Sayer, and suffer from a clinical sound overly reliant on the kind of cispassionate keyboards one might associate with a 10-a-penny lounge bar acts.
The Dickson-penned Anytime You’re Down And Out on the first record manages to project a little personality, but Tarmey’s own songs are, for the most part, unremarkable.
The album’s Top 10 success prompted more of the same on You Know It’s Me, another batch of formulaic love songs that squandered the talent they were given to. Dickson occasionally manages to forcer her identity onto the so-so material, with Little By Little In Love just about surviving its synthetic setting. Overall, however, it’s an almost instantly forgettable listening experience.
Scottish songbird Barbara Dickson was born in Dunfermline in 1947, and began her career in the folk clubs before becoming a familiar face in West End musicals such as Blood Brothers and appearing in the TV drama series Band Of Gold.
Her debut single came in 1976 with her remake of the Frankie Laine 1950s chart topper Answer Me.
She hit the number one spot herself in 1985, duetting with Elaine Paige on I Know Him So Well, from the popular musical Chess.
These two albums from the early 80s, together now on one CD, represent her collaboration with producer and songwriter Alan Tarney, who also worked with Cliff Richard, Leo Sayer, Squeeze and A-ha.
Notable tracks include the 1980 top tenner January February. Virtually all of the tracks are written by Alan Tarney or Barbara Dickson, with the exception of Mike Batt’s Caravan Song and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Come Back With The Same Look In Your Eyes.