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Eddi Reader - The Best of Eddi Reader

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 15 / 5 / 2016



Eddi Reader - The Best of Eddi Reader
Label: Reveal Records
Format: CD

intro

Double CD spanning former Fairground Attraction singer-songwriter Eddi Reader’s career to date


According to the notes, this collection of songs, thirty in total, was compiled by Tom Rose. While he has made an excellent choice, what an unenviable job that must have been. Apart from a couple of albums with Fairground Attraction (if we include ‘Ay Fond Kiss’), Eddi must have released at least a dozen solo albums and trying to whittle down the best of those into a double CD package must, given the quality of Eddi’s work, have been a real headache. The best known song here is, of course, Fairground Attraction’s ‘Perfect’, but for those unfamiliar with Eddi’s solo work it will come as a surprise just how many of these songs are familiar. While it’s immediately apparent why ‘Perfect’ proved to be so popular, it’s far from the best song on offer in this collection. In fact it’s not even the best of the three Fairground Attraction songs featured on ‘The Best Of…’. That song, as are many of the songs on this compilation, was written by Mark Nevin (surely one of the most under-rated songwriters of his generation), but it’s ‘Whispers’ from Fairground Attraction’s debut album that is the most rewarding of the three songs featured from ‘The First of a Million Kisses’. And Eddi Reader wrote that. So, not only was Eddi an excellent interpreter of other writer’s work, but she was no slouch at penning a memorable song herself. While, quite rightly, it’s her gorgeous voice that has attracted all the attention through the years, Eddi’s songwriting should also be applauded. For sure, she had a knack of choosing the right songwriters to supply her with songs. Apart from Mark Nevin there are a number of Boo Hewerdine compositions here and the work of both of those exceptional songwriters are the perfect vehicle for Eddi’s vocals, but some recognition should be given to her own songwriting skills. ‘Patience of Angels’, is one of the most well known songs here (even if you don’t think you know it until you hear it). A little gem of a song which was a co-write between Eddi and Hewerdine, that one track alone is worth the price of this collection. Eddi’s a singer who, although well known in certain circles, still seems to be under-rated. Never a high-profile artist, she’s always let her music do the talking, and listening to the songs on this collection, apart from the obvious talent displayed in the songwriting, just brings home the fact that she must rank as one of our all time great singers. There’s a song a third of the way in on the first CD, ‘What Do You Do with What You’ve Got’, which incidentally is another Reader co-write, which opened ‘Mirmama’, Eddi’s debut solo album some twenty-five years ago and which, although forgotten for this writer in the mists of time, has just moved me to tears. The haunting quality of Eddi’s vocals is simply spine-tingling. It’s just one of those performances that can’t fail to move the listener, Powerful yet vulnerable, it’s just so moving and just one example here of how much great music Eddi has made that many of us have temporally forgotten about. A ‘Best of’ usually falls short as there’s always certain favourite tracks that are left off, and, while Eddi’s core base of fans will no doubt have plenty to say about their particular favourite being overlooked, what this collection achieves over similar compilations by other artists is that Eddi Reader’s work really should be re-assessed. There are songs here that really should be better known. ‘Kiteflyers Hill’, ‘Dear John’ and ‘Muddy Water’ are just a few that will have the listener wondering why they’ve not played an Eddi Reader album recently. The feeling one gets from listening to these songs again is the same as greeting an old friend you’ve not met for years and being able to pick up exactly where you left off all that time ago. These songs have not been part of your life for years, yet here they are sounding as fresh as they were originally and like they never left. ‘Wild Mountainside’ (John Douglas’s contribution to Eddi’s ‘Songs of Robert Burns’ album from 2003) is another track where the purity in Eddi’s vocals shines through and the world stops turning for the duration of the song. On the second CD, ‘Mirmama’ is revisited again for Fred Neil’s ‘Dolphins’ which is given the Reader treatment and surely Eddi’s version is the definitive one of this most covered song. The version of ‘Love is a Losing Game’ is another example of how Eddi can take an established, well-known song and take it places the original (with the greatest respect to Amy Winehouse) never got close to. Even her version of ‘Moon River’ moves the listener like no other has done. Not a genuine ‘Best Of’ then as it’s brought to mind so many more Eddi Reader songs that need to be dusted off and lived with again, but a brilliant taster for a vastly underrated singer-songwriter and a collection that will stay within reach; here’s one set of ears that’s not going to be deprived of such a emotive singer again.



Track Listing:-
1 Find My Love
2 Perfect
3 Whispers
4 Patience of Angels
5 Dear John
6 What You Do With What You've Got
7 Kiteflyers Hill
8 Wings on My Heels
9 Muddy Water
10 Leezie Lindsay
11 My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose
12 Wild Mountainside
13 Love Is the Way
14 Roses
15 Baby's Boat
16 Vagabond
17 My Old Friend the Blues
18 Dolphins
19 Hummingbird
20 Semi Precious
21 The Girl Who Fell in Love With the Moon
22 Galileo
23 Willie Stewart
24 Ae Fond Kiss
25 New York City
26 Dragonflies
27 Follow My Tears
28 Snowflakes in the Sun
29 Love Is a Losing Game
30 Moon River


Band Links:-
http://www.eddireader.co.uk/
https://www.youtube.com/user/rosstyuk
https://plus.google.com/106289467619229103124
https://www.facebook.com/eddireader
https://twitter.com/eddireader


Label Links:-
http://revealrecords.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/tomrosemusic
https://www.facebook.com/RevealRecords
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phi8UmvtWWI



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