Perhaps the biggest surprise about the best-known of Linda Lewis' Reprise label albums is that it doesn't feature the best known of her Reprise-era songs. Though the single "Rock a Doodle Do" hit the U.K. Top 20 even as Fathoms Deep commenced its own rise, the hit was excluded from the main attraction -- and sensibly so. Even among Lewis' staunchest supporters, the slinky, squeaky single was seen as a novelty. Helmed by a virtual supergroup featuring the likes of R&B masters Bobby Tench,Max Middleton, folkie Danny Thompson, and rocker Philip Chen, alongside the inevitable Jim Cregan, Fathoms Deep is a true singer/songwriter's album, tasteful and tight, but punctuated with variety enough to ensure that it never sinks into repetitive, whiny balladeering. Even when Lewis' taste for introspection does bubble to the surface, there is always something on hand to keep the heart pumping -- the celeste that haunts "Lullabye," for example, or the almost radical synths that rise to race "Wise Eyes" around the block. Indeed, if Fathoms Deep has one major failing, it's that the dexterity of the musicians (Lewis' own guitar and keyboard playing included) and the ambition of the arrangements occasionally overwhelm the still slight and occasionally freakish nature of her vocal style. Again, there's a reason why "Rock a Doodle Do" wasn't included, and it's a shame to spoil the party by letting elements of it gatecrash. Thankfully, however, there's enough else on display to allow you to ignore them. AMG.
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