Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Kirsty MacColl - Electric Landlady


I've been waiting for the pointy stick to land on Ms MacColl only because I knew it would elicit a passionate review from Mine, who is a big Kirsty fan.  I must admit I'm generally ignorant of her work, although I'm very familiar with her duo with Shane McGowan of The Pogues on Fairytale Of New York (if you don't know this classic, check it out here - best listened to with a skin full and preferably loudly late at night).  She's also responsible for a wonderful cover of Billy Bragg's New England, a version I prefer to the original (sorry Billy).

Imagine my surprise when I listened to the first track on Electric Landlady and found I instantly recognised it.  For the life of me, though, I don't know where I've heard Walking Down Madison before (for a moment I was convinced it was covered by the Pet Shop Boys, who I definitely don't like - isn't it curious how the mind works - okay, maybe it's just my mind...)

Anyway, I was kind of hoping there'd be more tracks like it on this album but there aren't.  This doesn't mean the rest of the album is crap, because it's not.  There are some nice tracks on it.  But there's that word again - nice - and I think if you're a regularly reader of this blog you know my feelings on 'nice'. 



I'm crying.  I can't help it. Every time I think about the loss of the songstress who I adored for so many years, I get all teary.  I'm very much a "no regrets" kind of girl but oh how I regret not getting on a plane and flying to London when I heard Kirsty had gotten over her decades-long stage fright and was performing.  I thought to myself, "I can save up for that.  Next year will do." And then she was dead, mown down by a motor-boat driver in Mexico in front of her two sons.

I fell in love with Kirsty when I saw her video for A New England, where she's pregnant (unheard-of for singers even now) and revelled in Kite when it came out a few years later.  I love that the title for this album comes from Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, after he lived in a flat she owned.  I can't say it's my favourite Kirsty album, I love them all.  I can say I love Walking Down Madison, All I Ever Wanted and My Affair.
But so many of these songs are beautiful.  My only problem is listening to them without howling.  I miss her so much and on my next trip to London I'll be sure and make a pilgrimage to her memorial bench in Soho Square, dedicated in her memory and a fitting tribute as it reflects a song on her next album, Titanic Days.

VERDICT: TURN IT UP so you can't hear me sobbing

For more information: http://www.kirstymaccoll.com/

In our collection we also have Kite, What Do Pretty Girls Do?, Titanic Days, Tropical Brainstorm, The Essential Collection and The One And Only


  1. Mine - if you'll stop blubbing for a moment, I'll tell you why I like Kirsty. Ready? It's because she not afraid to be innovative. Rock? check. Folk? check. Latin American? check...and so on. The thing is, I don't like everything she's done (and that dreadful Pogues thing tops the list) but I do admire artists that have the gumption to be a bit different once in a while. She was a shining example to other artists to be adventurous and not just hide in their safe comfy box (are you listening, Gallaghers?). Perhaps I'll trek across town and have a look at her memorial. But frankly, in these shoes?

  2. Musicobsessive...

    Gumption she had, in spades. A pity she didn't translate it to on-stage gumption till later in life, then I might have had the opportunity to see her. YourZ is deeply fond of the Pogues song, and I don't mind it at all, but I guess I'm totally uncritical of Kirsty generally. If you wander over to Soho Square, send her my best wishes and tell her I miss her, won't you?

    Stopping blubbing now...