Various - This Is Easy

The swinging sixties Easy scene is as much iconic and nostalgic as it is unrealistic, and yet there are calls to hark back to such an age in which fashion, sunshine and cocktails go hand in hand with music. If a chill-out compilation existed in the sixties, This Is Easy would be it, and contains fifty-three well-chosen songs spread over two swinging discs.

Split into two parts, part one, titled Wingding is a fun, ferocious fling headfirst towards swirling rhythms and sixties' timewarp aesthetics. It's chock-full of film and TV themes from the decade, along with many standard songs from classic songwriters as Burt Bacharach and Jimmy Webb. Rather than tiresomely cobble together the same versions that have littered previously similar compilations, the compilers have shown that some thought has been provided for the finished product, and some strong cuts are included. Bacharach's mesmerising South American Getaway is trademark cocktail lounge for the sixties jet set, and was the corner-stone of his dazzling Oscar winning score for Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid. Combine with this the Pearl And Dean cinema theme, along with Quincy Jones' Soul Bossa Nova, so memorably lifted as the theme to Austin Powers, and you already have yourself a classic retro-nostalgic compilation before you reach disc two, and miles before you realise Mike Flowers Pop’s intriguing cover of Wonderwall is also included.

Part two, titled Après Ski, is a raunchier, warmer collection of ballads suited to the easy-listening crowd. Five Bacharach standards open proceedings, and the wonderfully sun-tinged cover of The Doors’ Light My Fire by Jose Feliciano coolly adds to the breeze. It’s no surprise therefore that Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birken’s gloriously-kitsch Je T'Aime Moi Non Plus follows near enough after. By the time you reach the seductive tones of Noel Harrison’s Windmills Of Your Mind and Peter Sarstedt’s Where Do You Go To My Lovely you find yourself suitably relaxed. Nancy Sinatra’s cover of Mick and Keith’s As Tears Go By is mere icing on the cake, along with Engelbert Humperdinck’s From Here To Eternity, more recently revisited by Kinobe for Slip Into Something More Comfortable. Finally, it’s good to see that every corner is covered, with Bobby Womack’s take on California Dreaming and Isaac Hayes’ epic cover of The Look Of Love featured on the close of disc two.

To conclude, This Is Easy is a brilliant chill-out compilation if music stopped being made in the sixties. There is enough strong, left-field choices included on the compilation to render it both accessible to casual indulgers of relaxation or for musical connoisseurs dreaming of wooing Julie Christie or Honor Blackman in their heyday.

Overall

9

out of 10

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