From Croydon to Cuba…

Volume 8, Issue 101; 12 Jul 2005; last modified 08 Oct 2010

In praise of Kirsty MacColl.

Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing.

John Erskine

If you thumbed through my music collectionWhich you're welcome to do. Or peek, at least, at a sliding window into it., you'd quickly discover that I have a predilection for female pop vocalists. Among them, Kirsty MacColl who died tragically in 2000. I first heard her doing a spectacular cover of Billy Bragg's “A New England” (I'm also a fan of Bragg, so perhaps it was a forgone conclusion that I'd like it) and I was hooked. In the United States, I think I've also heard “You Don't Know” on the radio and “Fairytale of New York” with The Pogues, and possibly a few other tracks.

When I discovered just a few days ago that an anthology of her material, From Croydon to Cuba…An Anthology , was published this year, I snapped it up without hesitation.

It's delightful and I highly recommend it, for both new fans and old. Weighing in at 64 tracks, it's chock-full of great stuff I'd never heard before. “Dancing in Limbo” and “Clubland” come immediately to mind, and I haven't even heard it all yet. There's also room for the great songs you may already have heard including “There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis” (it's really good, really) and “England 2 Columbia 0” and “Walking Down Madison”.

It'd probably be unrealistic to expect it to be uniformly excellent, but Kirsty comes pretty damn close.


Disc 3, track 11: her duet with Evan Dando of Lou Reed's "Perfect Day". It's the first track on the mix-CD I made of my absolutely favourite songs. I also melt when I hear her singing the Kinks' "Days". What a wonderful singer, such a great loss.

—Posted by Geoff Arnold on 12 Jul 2005 @ 08:08 UTC #

Or pretty much anything from Kite; a fantastic album full of fantastic songwriting. ("He looked into my eyes just as an airplane roared above / said something about football, but he never mentioned love" was always one of my favourite couplets, as was "the boots just go back on / the socks that had stayed on / the next time they see you they treat you like dirt".)

And Fairytale of New York is worth it just for the vitriol alone: "Merry Christmas, you arse, I pray God it's our last".

—Posted by James Kew on 12 Jul 2005 @ 11:45 UTC #