An uncannily ill-chosen pairing, this: each manages to cast the other’s vocals in the worst possible light. Ali Campbell sounds, as ever, like a wrung-out flannel, and would be shown up by even a modicum of emotion. But listening to this song you also realise how Chrissie Hynde always gives the same performance too – smoky, world-weary, defiant, and so on. She’s a pro, of course, and still the best thing about the record, and yes, they’re only replicating the wood-and-flowers dynamic of the Sonny and Cher vocal team. But still there’s something vaguely offputting about the fact that she sounds exactly the same singing about missing her home or her dead friends as she does being vocally pawed by Ali Campbell.
Obviously, however pro forma her performance she doesn’t deserve this grim approximation of reggae backing it up. “I Got You Babe” is as stiff, thin, functional and inspiring as a sheet of building site plastic – the clumsy charm of the 1965 original absolutely vanished.