word) which sounds like it could have been written 100 years ago, while Fool On The Hill is reworked as a low-key string quartet chamber piece augmented by the most delicate of piano flourishes.
There's probably millions of Beatles purists who will, without ever hearing a single note, sneer at the thought of anyone else attempting these songs, but Dickson's personal, historical and spiritual connection to the music more than justifies the project, and the results are both respectful and revelatory.
'DAILY TELEGRAPH' - 16 September, 2006 (Review by Colin Randall)
After she had established herself as one of Scottish folk's brightest talents, Barbara Dickson's starring role in Willy Russell's 1974 musical 'John Paul George Ringo...& Bert' ushered her into more popular territory. In this re-exploration of the Beatles' repertoire, she has picked songs that felt right for a woman of a certain age.
The results are refreshing: 'Eleanor Rigby' is there, so stark that it almost hurts, but so are 'PS I Love You' and 'Across The Universe' among less commonly encountered gems. With delicate, often folk-influenced arrangements, Dickson sounds in splendid voice.
'SUNDAY MERCURY' - 10 September 2006 (Review by Jack Daniels)
You mess with the Beatles songbook at your peril and, on paper, this looked like a bad idea. But Scottish songbird Dickson has sprung a surprise by returning to her folk-singing roots and offering gentle interpretations of Fab Four favourites which retain those magical melodies but boast acoustic guitar, mandolin, bouzouki and whistle.
And although there's an exquisite, almost acapella, Eleanor Rigby and a warmly wrapped Fool On The Hill, the setlist is peppered with lesser-known delights. Former Ultravox frontman Midge Ure duets on I'll Be Back, and PS I Love You is the perfect pop postscript.
'NEW RHYTHM' WEBSITE - July 2007
After a long and varied career encompassing everything from pure traditional Scottish folk to show-tunes, the enviably versatile Barbara has once again returned "full circle" to one of her earlier glories, this time the interpretation of Beatles songs. For it was back in the cheesy mid-70s that Barbara departed the folk stage and gained her "big break", in the stage musical John, Paul, George, Ringo... and Bert.
But here on this new project, commissioned by the good folks at the major label Universal, Barbara almost exclusively steers well clear of the big hits and singles and concentrates instead on bringing us her own personal reinterpretations of album tracks - and, most refreshingly, includes some lesser-known ones at that. With the aid of a small complement of musicians (Mark Frith, Neil Drinkwater, and most notably her expert musical director Troy Donockley) and utilising the production skills of Chris Hughes, Barbara has really been able to give these songs a new lease of life.
The settings vary from stripped-down folk-inspired to modern chamber-style to verging on pop, but in every instance things are managed extremely tastefully. Barbara's in exceptional voice, mature and well-rounded with a glorious tone; she's obviously thought long and hard about her interpretations, for she responds honestly and passionately to the songs' texts, moods and sentiments. Among the 12 songs she tackles here, the most successful by far I think are undoubtedly those where an almost radical back-to-bare-bones rethink has been undergone. Rain (the erstwhile hard-to-find B-side, and an underrated Lennon number) is given a delicious acoustic setting with interweaving ornate violin part, while Eleanor Rigby is without question the album's standout, done like a chamber opera almost, with a heightened sense of real drama: almost entirely acappella, striking and stark, with a theatrical coup for the choral section midway through.
Another of those erstwhile B-side songs, Things We Said Today, is the vehicle for a creative shimmering phantasmal treatment with intelligent use of programmed beats and pulsing rhythms, and the glistening guitar embellishments and swooning whistle of PS I Love You provide a loving counterpart to the song's simple sentiment. Midge Ure's gentle guest (duet) vocal on I'll Be Back is well judged, and the song shares an appealing chamber (piano and string quartet) setting with Here, There And Everywhere. Barbara's version of Across The Universe catches exactly the uplifted, floaty mood of nirvana-optimism, and Troy's arrangement is duly sumptuous.
...This project is a thoroughly satisfying and masterly (and refreshingly non-redundant) addition to the over-large catalogue of Beatles covers, and unquestionably a personal triumph for Barbara.
NOTHING'S GONNA CHANGE MY WORLD (2006)
'RECORD COLLECTOR' - October 2006 (Review by Terry Staunton)
'She loves them, and you know that can't be bad.'
Dickson's first big break outside of her native Scotland was in Willy Russell's stage musical John, Paul, George, Ringo... & Bert', and she's returned to The Beatles' catalogue with subtlety and style more than 30 years later. A veteran of Fife's acoustic circuit, Babs has imbued the Fabs with some nice folky touches.
Mandolins and violins make their mark on refreshingly unobvious selections like Every Little Thing or George Harrison's If I Needed Someone, and even when she does tackle oft-covered chestnuts, she's determined to bring something new to the party.
Eleanor Rigby is stripped to an a cappella ballad (in the traditional sense of the