Shawn Colvin. An American female singer-songwriter I got hooked on for a couple of albums; still searching for another Joni maybe…Anyway it started with CD singles and then I bought her first album Steady On. And it is great, a quite distinct and different voice – a little bit country, a touch folky, and a soft lilt that makes it instantly recognizable. Best songs ‘Diamond In the Rough’ and the title song. For a while I hoped she might be my new musical love, but for whatever reason I just stopped buying her new stuff (who can say why these quite arbitrary choices are made). Also, being American – and before the internet (early 90’s) her records were quite hard to find; now you can find the most obscure stuff on Amazon or ebay. Anyway the second record I bought which was I now find her fourth – A Few Small Repairs (1996). And of course it is great; a bit more upbeat, somewhat happier songs – but the same unique voice; instantly recognizable, and quiet, almost acoustic accompaniment. Best songs ‘Sunny Came Home’, ‘Wichita Skyline’ and ‘I Want it Back’. And then I bought in a charity shop my third Shawn album Holiday Songs and Lullabies. I should have realized -Americans, even serious artists, are mawkish about Christmas, and Christmas albums are very popular. So, I never really liked this record, and it sort-of put me off her for a bit. I did buy a later record, Brand New You; (2000). I have never really given this one enough time, but actually listening now, it is quite okay. Even good, I have to admit. So, ever the completist I have ordered 2 of her earlier records on ebay…you never know.
Rita Coolidge is next. I had heard her voice before knowing her name on Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs album. But she really came to my notice when she was duetting with Kris Kristofferson (see K). What a voice, deep and silky and sultry. She had an album out in 1972 (was this really the very best year for Music?) The Lady’s Not For Sale, which I bought and played to death. I had a couple of others which are now on cassette (albums sold long ago) but this was always my favourite. What an album. From the first bars of ‘My Crew’ to the closing title track, she doesn’t put a foot wrong. Her versions of ‘Fever’ and ;Bird On The Wire’ still send shivers down my neck. Follow that with Dylan’s ‘I’ll be Your baby Tonight’. Rita was such a great interpreter of songs, and a huge part of the late West Coast music scene; her voice sounds almost black in places but somehow it manages to still retain a ‘white’ sensibility. Next up is Fall Into Spring, and somehow this doesn’t quite hit the spot, maybe because this was a somewhat later purchase and I am not so familiar with it. Rita was recording with Kris (brilliant records will be reviewed later) who she had just married, and touring endlessly. As usual, on re-listening – it is actually better than I had remembered. Best songs Kris’s ‘Burden of Freedom’ and ‘desperados Waiting For A Train.’ A year later came It’s Only Love; this is slightly better – maybe a better song choice – best songs ‘Keep the Candle Burning’ (written by Gallagher and Lyle – see G) and ‘My Rock and Roll Man’. For whatever reason, maybe because Rita was moving along with quite a few others, more middle of the road – but I stopped buying her records after this. Though, lunatic that I am, I have just bought (again) her first two albums (I only now have these on cassette) – arriving shortly. I also have a greatest hits selection Collection. Quite pleasant, especially the tracks from the first three records, but it just gets bland from then on in. Best traocks ‘Seven Bridges Road’ and ‘Tempted’.
The Corrs are next; a mid-eighties Irish band I quite liked at the time. They are fairly middle of the road but easy to listen to, and some pretty good songs. The only record I have is Talk On Corners – their big hit. They sound very much like Fleetwood mac to me, without the American accents. Best songs ‘So Young’, ‘When he’s Not Around’ and ‘Dreams’. But like quite a few artists one album is enough.