Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1093

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BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Feature

P.P. Arnold: Welcome back P.P.

P.P. Arnold @bluesandsoul.com
P.P. Arnold @bluesandsoul.com P.P. Arnold @bluesandsoul.com P.P. Arnold @bluesandsoul.com P.P. Arnold @bluesandsoul.com

Legendary soul songstress P.P. Arnold - best known for her UK chart success while based in London during the mid/late-Sixties, including her original version of the Cat Stevens-penned classic ballad “The First Cut Is The Deepest” - returns this month with her already-critically-acclaimed new double-album “The New Adventures Of… P.P. Arnold”. Which, recorded and produced by life-long P.P. enthusiast and Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Cradock at his Kundalini Studio in Devon, follows on from P.P.’s 2017-released compilation of previously-unreleased material from the late-Sixties and early-Seventies “The Turning Tide”.

Indeed, also featuring songwriting input from aforementioned Britpop star Cradock as well as the likes of “The Modfather” himself Paul Weller, The Boaty Man’s Steve Grizzell, English guitarist Jake Fletcher and P.P.’s son Calvin “Kojo” Samuel (alongside covers of former Monkee Mike Nesmith’s “Different Drum” and British folk songstress Sandy Denny’s “I’m A Dreamer”), “The New Adventures Of… P.P. Arnold” boasts diverse musical moods spanning classic orchestral soul (“Baby Blue”); sunshine pop (“The Magic Hour”); house music (“Hold On To Your Dream”); a spine-chilling gospel-style elegy inspired by her daughter Debbie’s death (“I’ll Always Remember You”); plus an epic, edgy ten-minute reading of Bob Dylan’s poem “The Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie”.

The release, this month, through German-based international label earMUSIC incredibly marks 51-years since her last studio LP, her now-legendary, Immediate Records-released 1968 sophomore set “Kafunta”!

PETE: How did you first hook up with your new album’s producer, Steve Cradock of Ocean Colour Scene?

P.P.: “The origins of Steve and I meeting up actually date back to 1994, when I was performing in the play “Once On This Island” - which actually won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Musical for that year - at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Basically I was called to the stage door, and there was Ocean Colour Scene waiting for me with a big bouquet of flowers introducing themselves and trying to get me to go to their studio, which was right around the corner from the theatre! But because it was the last night of the show and we were going back to London, I couldn’t really hang out with them that night… But yeah, to answer your question, that was the first time that I met Ocean Colour Scene and Steve Cradock.”

PETE: How has all that resulted in the release this summer of “The New Adventures Of… P.P. Arnold”?

P.P.: “Well, around four years ago I was out there doing my own thing when I got a call from Steve saying he and (his wife) Sally had moved to Devon and that, while he was putting his new studio together, he’d just happened to come across all those demos that we’d done together back in the Nineties. You know, he apologised for the things that had gone down and asked me if I’d like to finish this album with him! So I was like ‘Sure’ - because I’d always felt that Steve and I were a really good fit. Like he was really into all the stuff I’d done back in the Sixties with the Immediate label, he had a lot of respect foe me as an artist - and I in turn had a lot of respect for him! Because having worked with him with Ocean Colour Scene I knew how creative he is and that he knows the music left, right, back and centre!… So yeah, we got together. And while it has taken us a few years - and a lot of going back-and-forth from my home in Spain to his home in Devon to record! - “The New Adventures Of… P.P. Arnold” is the finished result of all that work! A true, bona fide labour of love!"

PETE: Can you elaborate on your edgy 10-minute reading of Bob Dylan’s poem “The Last Thoughts On Woody Guthrie”…

P.P.: “Yeah, the Bob Dylan tune was Steve’s idea. And when he played me the track with all those jazz/rock psychedelic kinda vibes on it and said he wanted me to do it I was thinking Gil Scott-Heron, The Last Poets - you know, a take-it-to-the-ghetto kinda thing. And so that’s how it came OUT! And to me it was really quite an amazing thing to DO! Because it’s a ten-minute monologue, and so I had all these pieces of paper in front of me with the lyrics written on - and basically we recorded it all-in-one-take maybe three of four times and then picked the best ones out because it had to be a complete THING. You know, it’s not something you can just drop in and out of. So by the end all the bits of paper were strewn all over the floor! And I just love the attitude and the fact it’s so DEEP. Because, while people may just know me as like P.P. Arnold the soul singer, as a person I am quite revolutionary really! Like just the other day I walked into the BBC and the lady at reception was like ‘Oh I love Trump - are you voting for him?’. And I was like ‘HELL no!’! You know, it just came out like that! So I apologised to her and said I didn’t mean to be rude, but at the end of the day she asked me a question and she got the ANSWER! I mean, I’m a descendant of slaves, right? So just don’t talk to me about TRUMP!”

P.P. will perform at Islington Assembly Hall, London on October 11

The album The New Adventures Of… P.P. Arnold and single Baby Blue are out through earMUSIC

You can read more from B&S assistant editor Pete Lewis' enthrawling interview with soul royal P.P. Arnold, including the full story behind her link-up with album producer and Ocean Colour Scene guitarist, Steve Cradock. Plus more info regarding the artist's first studio release in 51-years! And a heart rendering song featured on the album, dedicated to the soul star's late daughter...all in the current issue of Blues & Soul magazine - click the 'BUY NOW' link below to order straight from the B&S shop or read on for high street retailer details...

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ESSENTIAL LINKS:

TWITTER: PPArnold

INSTAGRAM: PP_Arnold

FACEBOOK facebook/PPAronld

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Words PETE LEWIS

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