Sandie Shaw

Cool About You: BBC Sessions 1984/88

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With good fidelity and performances that find Sandie Shaw in decent voice, this 18-song disc actually serves as a pretty fair overview of her '80s career, in case you can't find the studio versions. Her vocals and material are still the sort of thing whose cultish appeal will baffle those who haven't been converted to the cause. To many, it will sound like ordinary '80s pop/rock, albeit by someone conscious enough of critical faves to cover tunes by the Waterboys and have songs specially penned for her by the Smiths and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Smiths/Shaw completists will be especially enticed by the drumless 1984 versions of "I Don't Owe You Anything" and "Jean," on which Shaw is backed by guitarist Johnny Marr and bassist Andy Rourke. The highlight of the album, though, is actually a 1986 "unplugged" rendition of one of her biggest '60s hits, "Girl Don't Come." Only 14 of these tracks are actually BBC sessions, by the way; the bonus material includes a couple of songs from a live 1988 benefit show (including a version of "Anyone Who Had a Heart"), and a radio interview from 1984. Annotation is outstanding, much above the norm of what you usually get with Strange Fruit BBC compilations and such.

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