Olivia Newton-John Just The Two Of Us Volume 2: A random Aussie suck-up, it seems

Back in May when Volume One of the posthumous Olivia Newton-John duets collection Just The Two Of Us was announced, I made some predictions about what might show up on Volume 2. That appeared this month, so how well did I do?

Atrociously. I literally didn’t pick a single track that appears amongst the 11 on the disc. But in my defence, Volume 2 seems like a very strange collection. It’s also a somewhat leaner selection (Volume 1 had 17 tracks), and there are no previously unreleased tracks.

The two that I probably should have picked as prospects were

  • ‘Dare To Dream’, Olivia’s Sydney 2000 Olympics duet with John Farnham. Olivia toured often with Farnham and recorded a Christmas album with him, but this track is the obvious studio original to highlight the partnership.
  • ‘Rest Your Love On Me’, Olivia’s 1980 duet with Andy Gibb. The two had performed it in 1979 as part of the Music for Unicef concert, but licensing that version would undoubtedly have been complicated. The studio recording session was fraught because of Andy’s drug problems, as reported by Joseph Brennan at Gibb Songs: “[Co-producer] Albhy Galuten winces recalling the session years later. Andy showed up late with his voice so shot that he couldn’t hit all the notes. They had started the session with Barry singing the duets with Olivia, and the contrast in quality was all too clear.”

There are 3 more songs from the 2002 duets collection (2). Weirdly, though, the choices are ‘Tenterfield Saddler’, a posthumous pairing with Peter Allen; ‘I’m Counting On You’, another posthumous duet with Johnny O’Keefe; and ‘I Will Be Right Here’ with crooner and TV host David Campbell. That suggests the collection is being angled heavily at an Australian audience, as neither Campbell or O’Keefe are known outside the local market.

Most of the other tracks are one-off duets that originally appeared on albums by other artists. (‘Falling’ was credited to the Raybon Brothers on its initial release, but Marty Raybon is the only featured male vocalist.)

Cliff RichardEverybody’s SomeoneRise Up (2018)
Dionne WarwickWishin’ And Hopin’My Friends & Me (2006)
Marie OsmondGetting Better All The TimeMusic Is Medicine (2016)
Marty RaybonFallingRaybon Brothers (1997)
Anne MurrayCotton JennyAnne Murray Duets: Friends & Legends (2007)

The disc closes with ‘You Have To Believe’, a dance reworking of Olivia’s Xanadu hit ‘Magic’ by Dave Aude that also features vocals by Olivia’s daughter Chloe Lattanzi. That one dates from 2015.

There’s no word yet on if there’s going to be a Volume 3. But given that everything I predicted back in May didn’t eventuate, there’s still more stuff from (2) to exhume and there are a few other options (Cliff Richard could return yet again with ‘Had To Be’, or the 2010 reworking of ‘Physical’ for Glee with Jane Lynch might show up), I wouldn’t write the possibility off entirely.

Olivia Newton-John Just The Two Of Us Volume Two: Full track listing

  1. Dare To Dream (with John Farnham)
  2. Everybody’s Someone (with Cliff Richard)
  3. Rest Your Love On Me (with Andy Gibb)
  4. Wishin’ And Hopin’ (with Dionne Warwick)
  5. Getting Better All The Time (with Marie Osmond)
  6. Falling (with Marty Raybon)
  7. Cotton Jenny (with Anne Murray)
  8. I’m Counting On You (with Johnny OKeefe)
  9. Tenterfield Saddler (with Peter Allen)
  10. I Will Be Right Here (with David Campbell)
  11. You Have to Believe (with Dave Aude and Chloe Lattanzi)

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