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No Business Like Snow Business

Stuart Bailie | 16:18 UK time, Friday, 25 November 2011

Back in 1991, Kate Bush released a version of the Elton John / Bernie Taupin composition, 'Rocket Man'. It was fairly bonkers, with a skanking rhythm, Kate on the ukulele and Davy Spillane and his uilleann pipes getting us ready for touchdown. Even though Kate looked rather well in a spacesuit, we forgot about the video and hoped that the exercise would never repeat itself.

Yet here we are, twenty years later, and Kate is back on an Elton John dimension. This time she is sharing vocals with the guy on a song called 'Snowed In At Wheeler Street'. It the story of two old lovers, finally reunited after decades of pain and awful complexities. The song unravels like some Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, damaged by war and calamitous timing, but hurrah, love prevails at the end of the allotted eight minutes.

The track is question comes from a very rum experiment called '50 words For Snow'. It's all about the weather conditions, man. And of course, Kate takes this conceptual throwdown and makes something unique out of it. A few of the tracks drag over the ten minute barrier and too much 'jazz' makes me fidget, but the title track is astonishing. It's both literal and also tremendous poetry, as Stephen Fry intones the indigenous terms for different kinds of white stuff while Bush excitedly counts them down. Altogether now: "phlegm de neige, mountainsob, anklebreaker, erase-o-dust..."


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