The Blue Angel

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This peculiar compilation album was unleashed by the U.K.-based label that briefly (and controversially) held Nico's contract for one album, Drama of Exile, but has somehow stretched that legacy out over many, many more. The collection is built around the standard mix of early-'80s live and studio material, but expands its brief to touch the one back catalog album that Nico herself always hated, her Chelsea Girl debut. Both the foreboding title track and a surprisingly sweet version of Bob Dylan's "I'll Keep It With Mine" are here, and indeed they make curious bedmates for the rocking excerpts from Drama of Exile and its in-concert cousins. They, of course, line up precisely as one would expect and the most interesting point is that just two of the songs here are Nico's own compositions -- "One More Chance" and "Sixty Forty." But with David Bowie, Lou Reed, and the Doors joining Dylan on parade, Blue Angel will at least appeal to collectors of Nico's best-known cover versions.

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