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Monday, November 23, 2009

Sublime Dame Shirley

I've never been a fan of Dame Shirley Bassey. She always seemed like a relic from a different time. I was vaguely aware of songs like Diamonds Are Forever, Hey Big Spender, and the lady from Tiger Bay in her sequinned gowns. But she was never competing for attention on my ipod.

Until yesterday.

A couple of weeks ago, I heard Dame Shirley on Dermot O'Leary's radio show. She's done a Tom Jones with her latest album and collaborated with some of today's top songwriters and musicians including the Manic Street Preachers, Rufis Wainwright and Gary Barlow. I was busily painting or making cards but the hairs stood up on the back of my neck, which hasn't happened since David Bowie's Starman.

I downloaded the album, The Performance, and have been listening amazed to the sublime tracks. This is a softer, more vulnerable Shirley Bassey. But the songs are still show stoppers. I love the wistful sentimentality of "The girl from Tiger Bay", written by the Manic Street Preachers.

I've been checking out her website, Dame Shirley Bassey dot com (what else?) and discovered the album was Radio 2's album of the week. Give it a whirl!

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