Kirsty MacColl

What Do Pretty Girls Do?

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What Do Pretty Girls Do? is a collection of four performances Kirsty MacColl did for BBC radio from 1989 to 1995 -- 15 tracks in all. Aside from the obvious album tracks from each period (this was for promotion afterall), MacColl pulls out some old favorites from the early days -- a country take on "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop (Swears He's Elvis)," "A New England" (a duet with the song's writer, Billy Bragg), and "He's on the Beach" -- as well as a couple of well-chosen covers like "Walk Right Back" and the charming "Darling, Let's Have Another Baby" (also a duet with Billy Bragg). BBC sets are always fun for fans, but for an artist like MacColl, who has always shyed away from live performance and whose albums have always been so meticulously produced, with multi-layered vocals and carefully conceived arrangements, this one is particularly revealing. She sounds relaxed -- there's no doubt that she's genuinely having a good time -- and, the sheer quality of the songs (and her voice) is made even more apparent in this straightforward, no-frills setting.

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