My Record Collection 141

Kirsty MacColl – a singer songwriter from the late 80s and 90s who sadly died far too early.  She was actually the estranged daughter of folksinger Euan MacColl but she ploughed her own and very different furrow.  Her songs were full of humour and joy and great lyrics, even if her first fame came from singing Billy Bragg’s A New England (see B).  Some of her songs were covered by Tracey Ulmann in the mid 80s, but her first and breakthrough album proper was 1989s Kite.  I loved and still do, this album – possibly her best in originality.  Every song has a certain English charm and her husband Steve Lillywhite produced it and it was a moderate hit.  Favourite songs are ‘Innocence’, ‘Don’t Come The Cowboy With me, Sonny Jum’, ‘What Do pretty Girls Do?’ and Ray Davies song written for the Kinks ‘Days’ which she sung beautifully.  She followed this two years later with Electric Landlady.   And although another good album I never liked it that much.  Hard to say why as the songs are good, and a big hit ‘Walking Down Madison’.  I also like ‘My Affair’.  Titanic Days followed in 1993, and WOW – what a lovely record, a bit gentler, a bit subtler maybe but with some great songs; ‘Soho Square’ (we’ve all been there), ‘Angel’ and best of all ‘Bad’.  Her voice is so clear and crisp and she enunciates every word clearly – but there is a softness now to her voice, a bit less strident and the humour seeps through rather than hitting you hard.  A great effort.  Sadly her last album was in 2000.  She had taken a few years out to raise her 2 sons.  She was tragically killed in a speedboat accident off the coast of Mexico shortly after the album’s release.  It was called Tropical Brainstorm and was very Latin influenced which is okay but I think it tended to drown out some of the lyrics. Still, a nice record over all.  I particularly like ‘In These Shoes’ and ‘England 2 Columbia 0’ and ‘Treachery’.  Who knows what she might have achieved had she lived.  As it is she may always be remembered for the brilliant duet ‘Fairytale Of New York’ with the Pogues.   A couple of retrospectives after her death – The One and Only – features a few rarities and singles – ‘A New England’ and ‘Terry’ and a duet with her estranged father, but best are a couple of tracks with Billy Bragg, especially ‘Welcome To The New Brunette’.   I also have What Do Pretty Girls Do – which is similar but a bit broader in timespan.  Best songs – ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chipshop Swears He’s Elvis’ (well he’s a liar and I’m Not sure about you) and ‘Darling. Let’s Have Another Baby’.  Sad that she died so young…

Madness – Well, it may have been madness to buy this – but it was a fee CD on Daily Mail once – and besides, there was no harm in the nutters…best song ‘Baggy Trousers’. Madonna – Now, I must declare an interest.  I have always thought she was an overrated self-publicising singer.  My daughter Laura worshipped her, and I do accept the part she played in making teenage girls more aware of their powers.  However, I never liked the singles or the videos.  BUT…I do have one CD – and even my daughter admits it is by far her best album – Ray of Light.  I think that this is because, apart from the title track, this is a quiet gentle lyrical album – adjectives one doesn’t normally associate with Madonna.  Best songs are ‘Candy Perfume Girl’ and ‘Frozen’

Five Good Covers: They Don't Know (Kirsty MacColl) - Cover Me