Celtic Connections review: Ronnie Spector & the Ronettes, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

Ronnie Spector
Ronnie Spector
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OF ALL the 60s girl group singers, Ronnie Spector was the voice to fall for, encompassing all the heartache, devotion and attitude of the teenage dream. More than 50 years on, that voice is still in great, raspy shape as Spector cut to the chase with the deathless Baby I Love You, delivered with a bonus, ballsy kick.

Ronnie Spector & the Ronettes, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow ****

Her current show is a revue-style look back at her life, career and influences which showcased the versatility of the voice and her impish wit. She recalled The Ronettes’ roots at New York’s Peppermint Lounge and their iconic look, with backcombed hair and “serious Cleopatra” make-up later copied by Amy Winehouse.

Archive footage of Spector “shaking that thing” left you in no doubt of the impact she made back in the day. Brian Wilson was so enamoured that he wrote the sublime Don’t Worry Baby as a follow-up to Be My Baby. Walkin’ in the Rain was mightily rendered by Spector though, as a rule, her two beehived Ronettes could have been louder in the mix to make the most of the dynamic vocal interplay.

Time and again, her skills as an interpreter were flaunted. She repurposed The Rolling Stones’ I’d Much Rather Be With The Boys for the girls, paid affecting tribute to her late sister Estelle with How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, and delivered a vivacious, if unseasonal Sleigh Ride. Best of all, her unimpeachable version of Johnny Thunders’ You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory was so good that it almost put Be My Baby in the corner. - FIONA SHEPHERD