Every knowing  music collector (and we’re not just talking about the soul crowd here) know all about the magnificent DARLENE LOVE. Just this year, Rolling Stone magazine featured  her in their 200 Greatest Singers of All Time listing while in 2011 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But music connoisseurs didn’t need a pretentious magazine and/or an award citation to confirm what they knew in their hearts and souls. The Los Angeles-born Darlene Love is simply a stellar presence in the firmament of modern popular music. Little wonder that she was the voice of choice for many of Phil Spector’s classic recordings. Whatever you thought of him, he did know a thing or two about music!

After the end of the Spector era, Ms Love pursued a solo career though she never quite achieved the success  that some of her less gifted contemporaries  achieved. A little disillusioned maybe, Darlene took a career break in the early 80s and was actually working as a maid in Beverly Hills when she came to the attention of star guitar man Steven Van Zandt who encouraged her to make a comeback. That comeback was eventually orchestrated by Bob Lasiewicz who asked her to stage a show that would be filmed and recorded for potential release. The gig took place at Hop Singh’s club in southern California and for the 11 song concert Darlene  was joined (as backing singers) by her sister, the late Edna Wright and Gloria Jones.

For all kinds of reasons the planned film was never released – so step in the Liberation Hall label who have just made it officially available on DVD with a soundtrack CD for those who just want to enjoy the wonderful songs.

On CD and DVD, the stellar trio (Love, Wright and Jones) deliver a set that comprises (mainly) Spector associated songs – songs that either Darlene took original lead on or was involved in as session singer. So once again enjoy vibrant versions of things like ‘Da Doo Ron Ron,’ ‘He’s A Rebel’, ‘He’s Sure The Boy I Love’ and ‘Wait till My Bobby Gets Home’. The “non-Spector” items are a cover of the Beatles’ ‘We Can Work It Out’, a version of Springsteen’s ‘Hungry Heart’ (a nod to Van Zandt), a take on Dan Hill’s dramatic ballad, ‘Sometimes When We Touch’  and a gospel medley which makes a rousing finale to the show. Throughout, Darlene is in fine, powerful form assisted by a top, tight band , The Monte Carlos. Their sax man, Spyder Mittleman is outstanding, delivering  the spirit of those classic Spector originals.

DARLENE LOVE; Live 1982 – DVD and CD – out now via Liberation Hall.