Band members               Related acts

- Lulu (aka Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie) -- vocals


  supporting musicians (1969)

- Barry Beckett -- keyboards

- Duane Allman -- guitar

- Cornell Dupreee - guitar

- Roger Hawkins -- drums, percussion

- Eddie Hinton -- guitar

- David Hood -- bass

- Jimmy Johnson -- guitar




- none known





Genre: pop

Rating: 2 stars **

Title:  New Routes

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-310
Year: 1969

Country/State: Glasgow, Scotland

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6070

Price: $15.00


If you're an American over 50, chances are you know Lulu for one thing - 'To Sir with Love'.  If you're American and under 50 chances are you don't have a clue ...


With her recording career having gone into neutral and her marriage to Bee Gee Maurice Gibb falling apart, in 1969 Lulu decided to make some major changes to her career.  Following a string of other performers, she made the trek to  Muscle Shoals where she recorded "New Routes" with producers Tom Dowd, Arif Mardin, Jerry Wexler and the cream of Muscle Shoals studio musicians.  In theory the collaboration should have generated a first-rate album, but for some reason, little on the set worked particularly well.  So who to blame?  Judging by tracks like 'People In Love' and 'Sweep Around Your Own Back Door' Lulu certainly had the vocal chops to handle more contemporary sounds including southern soul.  The big problems stemmed from crappy song choices and the insistence on employing horn and string arrangements that frequently threatened to drown Lulu out.


- Being married to Maurice Gibb, I can understand why she would have wanted to record a Bee Gees song.  On the other hand, I don't have a clue why she would have picked this obscurity (from their "Odessa" concept album).  Slowing 'Marley Purt Down' and slapping a hackneyed New Orleans flavored arrangement on top of it really didn't improve it much.   rating: ** stars

- Her cover of The Bee Gees' 'In the Morning' was simply horrible.  Slowing it down to a crawl and burying her under an overblown arrangement reduced the song to little more than background muzak.   rating: ** stars

- Penned by Muscle Shoals guitarist Eddie Hinton, 'People In Love' finally displayed the collaboration's promise.  Employing her darkest, most rugged voice, Lulu showed she could belt out a soul track with the best of her competitors.   rating: **** stars

- Sporting a great chorus, 'After All (I Live My Life' could have been another winner, but every time the song started to pick up some energy it went off on an MOR tangent ... geez, there was even an oboe solo.  Giving credit where dude , Lulu turned in one of her best vocals here.   rating: ** stars

- You have to wonder who thought it would be a good idea to take Dave Mason's 'Feelin' Alright' and give it a big horn arrangement.  I'm sure it was meant to sound hip and happening, but the results actually came off as flat and plastic - easy to picture her lips synching this one on some faceless early 1970s television variety show.   rating: ** stars

- Opening up with some of Duane Allman's instantly recognizable lead guitar, 'Dirty Old Man' served as another album highlight.  Surrounding Lulu with a tight, rock-oriented simply served to showcase how good she could be.   rating: **** stars

- The woman had a great voice (particularly when she pushed a bit), which made it almost criminal to see it wasted on MOR crap like 'Oh Me, Oh My (I'm a fool For You Baby)'.   rating: ** stars

- While 'Is That Your Love' saw Lulu turning in one of her most soulful performances, the effort was wasted on a bland, and instantly forgettable ballad.    rating: ** stars  

- While I'd love to tell you her cover of Jerry Jeff Walker's 'Mr. Bojangles' was worthwhile, it wasn't.  Allman's guitar and Barry Beckett's keyboards provided the song's highlights.    rating: ** stars  

- Yeah, 'Where's Eddie' had one of those MOR horn and string arrangements, but Lulu managed to hold her own on this weird, plaintive ballad.  Quirky and quite enjoyable.   rating: *** stars    

- The album closer 'Sweep Around Your Own Back Door' served to showcase what might have been.  A take-no-prisoners slice of Muscle Shoals soul (with some more Duane Allman guitar), Lulu's razor sharp performance would have made Aretha Franklin proud.  Easily the album's standout performance.    rating: **** stars  


The album also spun off a single in the form of:



- 1970's 'Oh Me, Oh My (I'm a fool For You Baby)' b/w 'Sweep Around Your Own Back Door' (ATCO catalog number 45-6744)


Nowhere near essential, but I'm still happy to have heard it.  Hum, wonder why she was shown standing knee deep in a lake on the back cover ...


"New Routes" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Marley Purt Drive   (Barry Gibb - Maurice Gibb - Barry Gibb) - 3:21

2.) In the Morning   (Barry Gibb) - 3;30

3.) People In Love   (Eddie Hinton - Grady Smith) - 2:42

4.) After All (I Live My Life)   (Jim Doris - Frank Miller) - 3:12

5.) Feelin' Alright   (Dave Mason) - 3:04


(side 2)
1.) Dirty Old Man   (Mac Davis - Delaney Bramlett) - 2:18

2.) Oh Me, Oh My (I'm a fool For You Baby)   (Jim Doris) - 2:45

3.) Is That Your Love   (Jackie Vaery - John Farris) - 2:40

4.) Mr. Bojangles   (Jerry Jeff Walker) - 3:06

5.) Where's Eddie   (Eddie Hinton - Donnie Fritts) - 3:01

6.) Sweep Around Your Own Back Door   (Fran Robins) - 2:40