Various Artists

A Concert for Kirsty MacColl

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Recorded in October 2010 at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London, A Concert for Kirsty MacColl is a heartwarming tribute but it's a fun, celebratory time as well with the wry humor the late singer so adored being well represented. After all, the big closer here is a rockabilly rumbler titled "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis" ("but he's a liar and I'm not sure about you") plus, it is comedian and actress Catherine Tate who threatens to steal the show with her pitchy, but perfect in this case, delivery of the sly, Kirsty-penned classic "In These Shoes." There are tender moments, of course, with Ellie Goulding nailing the wistful "Soho Square" while old friend Billy Bragg puts the third verse (previously a Kirsty exclusive) back into his song/her hit "A New England." Still, it is Eddi Reader who pulls the heartstrings the hardest, putting self-reliance before what the heart wants on her wonderful version of "Dear John." Note that the album fades out songs during the audience applause and cuts off intros at will, so the whole concert experience is given up in favor of isolating the tracks. A minor quibble for such a major celebration, and highly recommended for Kirsty fans.

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