There is nothing like a Dame.
Michael Quinn 2007-06-21
The be-diamoned and be-dazzling Dame’s first album in nearly a decade comes out of the speakers firing on all cylinders, made over, souped up and more than ready for action.
Bassey approaches her 70th birthday in June with all the pomp and panache of someone who knows that she’s still got it, and ‘it’ in this case is a voice that makes microphones simply redundant and is strictly off the menu for musical vegetarians. This new shut up-sit up-and-start listening outing starts with that strangely seductive panther-like purr of old before Bassey takes possession of Pink’s “Get The Party Started” with the thumping Big Beat chutzpah last heard in her late-90s collaboration with Propellerheadz.
What follows is a jaw-dropping collection of remixes that foreground the Tiger Bay vixen’s fabulous stadium-filling voice with all the drama and glamour you’d expect. Raise your expectations here and you won’t be disappointed in a “Big Spender” that makes Marilyn Manson seem like a novice nun, courtesy of a stunning remix from Chuck Norman and Bob Kraushaar (aka NorthxNWest), who also provide fresh, feisty face-lifts of stage-classic “I Who Have Nothing” and disco anthem “I Will Survive”.
“Slave To The Rhythm” gets some sexy and seductive treatment from oh-so-sophisticated remixers The Glimmers, and even Lionel Ritchie’s saccharine-soaked “Hello” seems less risible heard in Soul II Soul producer Dobie’s shimmering, slow-burn of a take with Bassey in deliciously feline form. Just as playful is Restless Soul’s knowingly tongue-in-cheek treatment of “Kiss Me Honey Honey” which begs the question Whose tongue? Whose cheek?
Throughout, the Dame is on impeccable form, equally at home with Bugz In The Attic’s cool-as-a-Dry Martini take on “What Now My Love”, supremely poised in “This Is My Life”, a Bassey essential belted out with take-it-or-leave-it bravado against a swirling, absinthe-tinged cabaret backing.
And recent chart entry “The Living Tree” – throbbing away like the Bond movie theme it should have been – adds its own scene-stealing contribution to announce in no uncertain terms that the Dame is back. And, damn it, she’s as good as ever!