British pop star Sandie Shaw had already passed through phases of being a teenage sensation, fashion designer, cabaret singer, and musical writer by the time her influence made it to the ears of the young Manchester band the Smiths in the '80s. Morrissey had championed Shaw's smoky girl group odes to loneliness as much as he borrowed from them, and by the time of 1988's Hello Angel, the two had become good friends and even collaborators. While the album has its ups and downs, the five songs co-penned by Morrissey, including three tunes from the time of the Smiths' first album ("Jeane," "I Don't Owe You Anything," and an especially dark version of "Hand in Glove") are essential for any fan to understand the circle of influence. Shaw is remarkable in her own right, but this particular moment of cross-pollination yields results at times even more delicate and nuanced than the Smiths' originals.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas