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River Deep-Mountain High

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Album Review

The Universal Music Group's Hip-O Select imprint, devoted to pricey, quality reissues of gems from the company's extensive archives, here hits upon the legendary, if compromised Ike & Tina Turner album River Deep — Mountain High. The title song was Phil Spector's last major effort, a Wall of Sound production from 1966 that hit in the U.K. but flopped in the U.S., leading to his retirement. There were a few other Spector tracks with the Turners (actually, only Tina appears on "River Deep — Mountain High"), and an album was scheduled on Spector's Philles Records label. Discs were printed for a 1967 release, but no covers, and the LP never appeared. Two years later, A&M Records (its catalog now controlled by Universal) finally put it out. It turned out that Spector hadn't produced a whole album's worth of material; in addition to his productions ("A Love Like Yours [Don't Come Knocking Every Day]," "I'll Never Need More Than This," "Save the Last Dance for Me," and the title song), Ike Turner had produced a batch of typical Ike & Tina material, including remakes of their early-‘60s hits "A Fool in Love," "I Idolize You," and "It's Gonna Work Out Fine." Turner's simple, direct R&B production style has nothing in common with Spector's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink style, so the resulting collection is full of odd juxtapositions in sound. But no matter who's in the producer's chair, the center of the music is still Tina Turner, emoting for all she's worth.

Customer Reviews


The clash of Tina's uncompromisable powerful and soulful voice and Phil Spector's easy yet electrified traditional foundation have constructed great listening. You are legally dead if you aren't moved by the title track at least.

Lovely album art too.

My favorite album of all time

Half the tracks are produced by Phil Spector, the other half by Ike Turner. It is easy to tell the difference because only Phil's have the "Wall of Sound" sound, while Ike's are more "funky" than "lush". Also Phil seemed to force Tina to "sing" while Ike lets her "shout" which seems to be her more natural form of expression. The tension this creates in the Tina/Phil tracks reminds me of a caged, not-quite-tamed wild beast. Anyway if you love the song "River Deep - Mountain High" you'll also love the other Spector-Barry-Greenwich songs "Hold on Baby" and "I'll Never Need More Than This" - undiscovered gems of pop music. I have listened to this album hundreds of times since I first bought it on vinyl in 1968 and have never tired of it.

This is a great album!

It's a fantastic album in its entirety - a nice mix of rough R&B and orchestrated pop/rock. The obvious highlight is the title track, but there are other great tunes - especially "Make 'Em Wait" and "Every Day I Have to Cry." Highly recommended!


Formed: 1959

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '70s

As husband and wife, Ike & Tina Turner headed up one of the most potent live acts on the R&B circuit during the '60s and early '70s. Guitarist and bandleader Ike kept his ensemble tight and well-drilled while throwing in his own distinctively twangy plucking; lead vocalist Tina was a ferocious whirlwind of power and energy, a raw sexual dynamo who was impossible to contain when she hit the stage, leading some critics to call her the first female singer to embody the true spirit of rock & roll. In...
Full Bio