Someone has been very clever on this album, and its probably not Barbara (wonderful, warm human being though she may be) but producer Alan Tarney who helped write some superb showcases for La Dickson's smoothly controlled voice.
There is always a catch in the sound as well as the melody. The present single 'January, February' has a rivetting shift in the bass during, one sing-along verse and to prove the point they do it once without the bass. The guitars are crisp and jangly when acoustic but the fuzzed electric sounds out of place in most of this sophisticated, reserved material.
...Tarney demonstrates his knowledge of her range by holding back the one bopping 12-barish number 'I'll Say It Again'. Only Mel Collins' raw sax is allowed to run away in a break, and otherwise keeps to short, writhing lines mixed in with the vocals.
'In the Night' shoves across a hooky melody and 'Day and Night' picks up a vague country flavour. Barbara Dickson has discipline. Her pitch is spot on, the vibrato neatly gauged, even being exactly reproduced on harmonies.
The last, 'Now I Don't Know' leaves with a good note, kicking off with acoustic for a spiralling melody, gradually bringing in thick polykeyboards playing against their own echo. In fact the echo deck is used cunningly and innovatingly throughout the LP.
All power to Barbara Dickson's ever-improving vocal chords, and Alan Tarney's crafty sliders. Recorded at R G Jones Studios, London, engineered by Nick Sykes.
RECORD MIRROR - April, 1980
In which this brilliant singer at last finds the punchy production and melodic material she needs for her superb voice to truly shine. A tuneful mixture of her own fine songs and Alan "January February" Tarney's beaty pop-rock, every track on this immaculately executed album is a potential jukebox favourite and should finally establish Barbara Dickson as a chart regular - not before time. A real gem.
THE BARBARA DICKSON ALBUM (1980)
'SOUNDS' - April, 1980
"The Barbara Dickson Album" comes at a time when Barbara's career is taking off again. Her last hit was 'The Caravan Song' before she started climbing the Top 30 with the current single 'January, February' (number 11 at the time of writing), which also opens the new album very auspiciously. The whole album jogs along in a fairly up-tempo mood without falling into the 'light disco' trap, thanks largely to the sensitive and well-paced production (by Alan Tarney) and the distinctive melodic quality of Barbara's own compositions.
Out of the ten songs included here, she co-wrote 'In The Night' and 'Day And Night' with Ian Lynn and the entirely signed 'Anytime You're Down And Out' and 'Plane Song' - this last cut one of the album's highlights, with a quasi-reggae beat. And Ms Dickson's remarkable voice, liquid and crystal-clear as ever, is showcased at its best throughout this fine honed "singer's" album.