ARTIST: Ike & Tina Turner
TITLE: River Deep – Mountain High
YEAR RELEASED: 1966 (1969)
CHART ACTION: #102 US, #27 UK
SINGLES: River Deep – Mountain High (#88 US, #3 UK), I’ll Never Need More Than This (#114 US, #64 UK), A Love Like Yours (Don’t Come Knocking Everyday) (#16 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A Fool in Love, It’s Gonna Work Out Fine (both remakes of the original), Save the Last Dance for Me
LINEUP: Ike Turner, Tina Turner, Claudia Lennear, Bonnie Bramlett, Session musicians like Carol Kaye, Glenn Campbell, Leon Russell, Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Jim Gordon, and many more
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The hyped (and flawless) single busted in the US, so this LP was only released in UK until 1969, when A&M put it out.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This is it – the project that drove Phil Spector totally over the edge. When the US rejected the single “River Deep-Mountain High” (there are many theories as to why), Spector pulled this album from production, but released it in the UK and Europe where the single did well.
What the US missed until 1969 was one of the best soul albums of the decade. While re-recording songs seems shaky, Ike & Tina’s re-recordings of their early hits with an updated sound make sense (they’d do that a lot as time went on) as it allowed everything to fit together. Phil Spector produced half of the tracks, with Ike producing the rest. The sound is Spector through and through – big, bold, and loud.
Spector and Ike Turner pulled together the best of the best in terms of songs and personnel, and Tina Turner and Ikettes really put on one of their best vocal performances. It should have been a big hit – but it was not for whatever reason. Pity.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Spector claimed he loved the acclaim the record received in Europe, but basically disappeared for almost three years and his record company stopped releasing new records.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but between 1966 and 1969 they swapped out a track for the second single “I’ll Never Need More Than This”.
GRADE A+: There’s no real filler, here. Everything is just cooking.