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Eddi Reader


Country of origin:

Scotland

Type of music generally:

alternative and mainstream pop with folk and traditional influences

Status:

Most recent release, Back the Dogs (EP, 2014)

See also:

Eddi Reader's site

Wikipedia's entry on Eddi Reader

The Ectophiles' Guide's entry for Fairground Attraction, the band Eddi Reader was with before going solo.

Comparisons:

Mary Black, Judie Tzuke

Covers/own material:

A mix of her own, covers, with some traditional songs

General comments:

Eddi Reader has a wonderful, caressing voice. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Eddi Reader has a careworn yet playful voice with a vibrato and an accent that make me melt. (paul2k@aol.com)

Comments about live performance:

It was phenomenal! It took 3 songs before I stopped leaking tears out of my eyes and the goosebumps went away. Well, they never really went away totally, and neither did the misty eyes.
     Her voice is still as perfect as it ever was, if not even better. She's fun and funny and very laid-back, as proven by the interesting and sometimes bawdy stories she told before each song. She performed songs from all phases of her career (though none, boo hoo, from Mirmama), even Fairground Attraction ("Perfect," "Allelujah," and a freakin' killer a capella version of "Clare"), but the show skewed heavily toward her Robert Burns' songs, since she was brought to Chicago as a benefit for a local Scottish charity (Illinois St. Andrews Society).
     Eddi played a couple of different acoustic guitars, and the cutest ukelele. Boo Hewerdine played guitar. Also with her was a fantastic violin/flute/mandolin player, John McCusker, and Alan Kelly, who played the accordian. No drums or bass. They were all great and worked so well with her. It was a perfect lineup. (08/07, vickie@enteract.com)

Recommended first album:

Mirmama

Recordings:


Mirmama

with the Patron Saints of Imperfection

Release info:

1992—BMG (U.K.)—PD 75156 [CD]

Availability:

Wide in U.K.

Ecto priority:

Very highly recommended

Group members:

Eddi Reader—vocals, concertina

Guest artists:

Roy Dodds—drums, strange percussion
Phil Steriapulos—double bass
Neill MacColl—guitars, piano, backing vocals, autoharp, mandolin
Dominic Miller—guitars
Huw Warren—cello, accordion, piano, vibraphone
Aly Bain—fiddle
Kim Burton—accordion, Hammond
Jools Holland—Hammond, piano
Calum MacColl—penny whistle, zither, dulcimers

Produced by:

Eddi Reader and the Patron Saints of Imperfection

Comments:

Very nice album, though perhaps too soft for some tastes. (jbr@casetech.dk)

It is pretty darn good. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

In my lifetime top five. (lissener@wwa.com)

I can thoroughly recommend it. It has more of a band feel to it than her later, solo, records but isn't poppy like the two Fairground Attraction albums. It could be my favourite Eddi Reader album. (nightwol@dircon.co.uk)

This is absolutely my favourite Eddi Reader disc—the band sound here gives all her songs a liveliness that to me is missing from both her later solo work and her earlier work with Fairground Attraction, all of which I find a little sweet for my tastes. I love her version here of the traditional song, "The Blacksmith". This whole album shows off her wonderful voice in a setting that I appreciate more than her softer, less quirky work. (Neile)


Eddi Reader

Release info:

1994—Warner (U.S. and U.K.)

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for those who like more mainstream pop

Group members:

Eddi Reader—tambourine, vocals, backing vocals

Guest artists:

Curt Bisquera—drums, shaker
Teddy Borowiecki—organ, guitar, piano, accordion, keyboards
Roy Dodds—drums
Jon Ingoldsby—backing vocals
L. Katia Ingoldsby—guitar
E. Mark Levin—guitar
Dean Parks—guitar, percussion
Greg Penny—percussion, drums
David Piltch—bass
Mark E. Nevin—guitar
Katia Lempkowicz—backing vocals

Produced by:

Greg Penny

Comments:

I'd been looking for this for ages and only found it a couple of weeks ago. It was worth the wait. I think it is (in my opinion) well worth having. A bit uneven compared to the Patron Saints of Imperfection album but it showcases Eddi's superb voice to excellent effect and the first (UK) single "Patience of Angels" is just great! The album doesn't maintain that level of excellence throughout, though. Eddi's voice is the main attraction here and it comes over very well. The songs are a solid and consistent set, and the band never fail to come up with the goods, but this is very much a vocal showcase for Eddi and succeeds on those terms. Her wonderful voice is prominent throughout. (nightwol@dircon.co.uk)

This is right on the edge of my sweetness tolerance, and I simply can't listen too it very often, unlike Mirmama. I had the same experience with her Fairground Attraction work. (Neile)

i thought this was only okay, and not as good as Mirmama. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Some great cuts, some good, but none were weak. Great to listen to. (mundopax@ingress.com)


Candyfloss And Medicine

Release info:

1996—Warner

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for those who like more mainstream pop

Group members:

Eddi Reader—acoustic guitar, harmonica, concertina

Guest artists:

Teddy Borowiecki—organ, bass, piano, accordion, bass, glockenspiel, electric guitar, keyboards, Hammond, timbales, melodica, Fender Rhodes, string arrangements, wurlitzer, music box
Bernard Butler—electric guitar
Roy Dodds—drums, tambourine, Peruvian percussion
Martin Green—soprano sax
Boo Hewerdine—acoustic guitar, percussion, electric guitar, rhythm guitar
Calum MacColl—dulcimer, acoustic guitar, guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals, zither, penny whistle
Dominic Miller—electric nylon string guitar
David Piltch—bass
Anthony Thistlethwaite—mandolin
Annie Whitehead—trombone
Jules Singleton—string arrangements
Electra Strings—strings

Produced by:

Eddi Reader and Teddy Borowiecki

Comments:

This is a quietly disturbing album with all sorts of dark thoughts hidden away beneath the surface and behind even the lighter moments. Highly recommended for excellent songs, co-written by Eddi with Boo Hewerdine and/or Teddy Borowiecki, Eddi's fabulous voice and atmospheric work by the band.
     With the additional tracks on the U.S. release, the mood of the album is now even more closely focussed on recurring themes of ill-health and "medicine" (not always of the prescribed or proscribed varieties!), relationships awry and bittersweet nostalgia.
     On first hearing, the laid-back approach and moderate tempi may give the impression that Eddi has whipped up a candyfloss confection from hardly any ingredients, but as the subtle tracks (mostly co-written with combinations of her regular collaborators Boo Hewerdine, Teddy Borowiecki and Calum MacColl) imprint themselves on the brain and the arrangements reveal their glories, the strength and depth of this album will become apparent...and the effect is ultimately much more uplifting than the subject matter might suggest.
     From the breezy youthful busking of 'Glasgow star' and the heart stopping chord change in the chorus of 'Rebel angel', on through the medical metaphors of 'Sugar on the pill', 'Medicine' and 'Shall I be mother', to the bleak philosophical musing of 'Butterfly jar' and the filmic narrative of 'Darkhouse' every shift and re-occurrence of mood is caught by Eddi's clear and expressive voice.
     All this is underpinned by sensitive drumming from Roy Dodds (who has drummed for Eddi since her Fairground Attraction days) and the acoustic guitar of Boo Hewerdine (perhaps best known stateside for his collaboration with Darden Smith). Teddy Borowiecki's keyboards and arrangements and David Piltch's bass (both recently heard to great effect on k d lang's Drag, which, incidentally, includes a song Boo co-wrote with Gary Clark and Neill MacColl) complete the core of the excellent band.
     This is an album which can be said to be essential for lovers of subtle, exquisite "acoustic" singing and songwriting. (DOVERAL@lib.bham.ac.uk)

I agree with every detail. I also was initially unimpressed with the album—Eddi Reader was such a profound disappointment after the once-in-a-listener's-lifetime genius of Mirmama, and I expected the worst from Candyfloss And Medicine. So I didn't give it much of a chance. A couple months ago I got it out again after nearly a year of ignoring it, and was floored. It's no Mirmama, but then Mirmama's in my lifetime top five: An album can be "no Mirmama" and still be one of the best albums released last year, like Candyfloss And Medicine. (lissener@wwa.com)

I've heard some bits of this and liked it, though it seems a bit mellow. Not as sparkling as my favourite First of a million kisses. (Marion)

i've listened to eddi reader's latest a number of times and like it. it's a deceptive album, very subdued. the first couple listens were disappointing since the first track is so wonderful, but the rest of the album is relatively mellow and not terribly involving. more listens though have proven it quite nice and rewarding in the long run. (woj@smoe.org)

I like this one. (Riphug@aol.com)


Simple Soul

Release info:

2001—Compass Records—7 4302 2

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Eddi Reader—singing on everything and acoustic guitar on 3, 6, 7, and 10

Guest artists:

Boo Hewerdine—acoustic guitars on all songs except 5 and 6, glockenspiel on 1, backing vocals on 2 and 3, Ben's toy keyboard on 4, tanbura on 8, harmonium on 11
Roy Dodds—drums and percussion on all tracks except 3, 6, and 10
Teddy Borowiecki—keyboard sounds on 1, 2, 5, 11; keyboard bass on 2 and 9; Indian harmonium on 3, 7, 8, and 9; accordion on 7; whirly tube and tanbura on 9
Tim Harries—bass guitar on 1, 4, 5, 7, and 11
Adam Kirk—dobro on 5, acoustic guitars on 4 and 7, electric guitar sounds on 10
Johnny Scott—pedal steel on 1 and 5, acoustic guitar on 7
Dawson Salah Miller—frame drum on 8, udu on 9
Simon Edwards—guitaron bass on 8
Dylan Bates—violin on 8

Comments:

Simple Soul is such an appropriate title for this album, a lovely collection of laidback folk-pop songs. It doesn't match Mirmama, but it's also good for a different mood being quieter and a bit slower. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Eddi Reader Sings The Songs of Robert Burns

Release info:

2003—Rough Trade—98097

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of Eddi Reader or of traditional music

Group members:

Eddi Reader—acoustic guitar, vocals

Guest artists:

David Amon—viola
Ian Budd—viola
Ian Carr—acoustic guitar, piano
Phil Cunningham—piano, accordion, whistling
Roy Dodds—percussion
Pauline Dowse—cello
Claire Dunn—viola
Jeremy Fletcher—cello
Christine Hanson—cello
John Harrington—viola
Boo Hewerdine—acoustic guitar
David Inglis—double Bass
Andrew Martin—violin
John McCusker—violin, whistling, cittern
Robert Mitchell—double bass
Edwin Paling—violin
William Paterson—cello
Colin Reid—acoustic guitar
Janet Reid—violin
Royal Scottish National Orchestra—strings
Betsy Taylor—cello
Ewen Vernal—double bass
Marion Wilson—violin
Wanda Wojtasinska—violin
Bob Yeomans—violin

Produced by:

Boo Hewerdine

Comments:

As a fan of Eddi Reader's interpretations of traditional work, I was pleased to discover this album. Occasionally it's a little sweet for my tastes, but there are some great lively tracks, especially "Jamie, Come Try Me" and "Charlie is my Darling", and "Brose and Butter". The poignant "Ye Jacobites" especially lovely. (Neile)

I have found it to be a wonderful, charming CD. I don't have any of her other CDs for comparison, but I'd think about it based on this one.
     I know Eddi falls on the sweeter side for some, and I suspect this album might fall into that category. Then again, it's got a nice traditional feel that might balance that out.
     My fave is the lilting upbeat "Charlie is My Darling". Beautifully done. (neal)


Eddi Reader Live: London, UK 05.06.03

Release info:

2003—Kufala—KUF0039

Availability:

See Kufala's website for availability

Ecto priority:

Recommended for fans of Eddi Reader

Group members:

Eddi Reader—vocals, guitar

Guest artists:

Boo Hewerdine—guitar, vocals
Graham Henderson—accordion, whistle, mandolin, guitar, vocals
Christine Hanson—cello, vocals
Colin Reid—guitar
John McCusker—fiddle, whistles

Comments:

A double-disc set that mixes Reader's recent versions of Robert Burns with old favourites in an intriguing way. The mix of Reader's onstage banter and well-played songs makes for a good listen. Her disarming sense of humour comes through and her singing has rarely been better. Makes me want to see her live.
     The highlights for me was "My Love is like a red red rose" "Patience of Angels" and a rousing "Perfect". I have a feeling it's a record that will suit fans of Reader better than those who've never heard her before. Her first solo record is a better introduction.
     Still, it's a nice listen either way. (stjarnell@yahoo.com)

Further info:

Eddi Reader has a long history of doing backing vocals for many groups and artists, including: Thomas Dolby ("Astronauts and Heretics"), the Associates ("Perhaps"), John Foxx ("In Mysterious Ways"), Laurie Freelove ("Smells Like Truth").

Other collaborations include:

  • a cover of Nana Mouskouri's "Only Love" with Vladimir Cosma on his album The Very Best of Vladimir Cosma (1990)
  • "Dimming of the Day" with Clive Gregson and Boo Hewerdine on The World Is a Wonderful Place: the Songs of Richard Thompson (1993)
  • the single "Wonderful Lie" with Clive Gregson and Boo Hewerdine (1993)
  • "Jenny" with Anthony Thistlethwaite on his album Aesop Wrote a Fable (1993)
  • "Bantry Girls Lament" with Eleanor Shanley on her album Eleanor Shanley & Friends (2001)
  • "Stars Are Rising" from Sun Ju Lee on Lullabies From the Axis of Evil (2004)
  • a cover of Laura Nyro's "Sweet Blindness" with Cubismo Grafico Five (2008 single)
  • "Wind and Rain" with Julie Fowlis on her album Uam (2009)
  • "I Hung My Harp Upon the Willow" with Alan Kelly on his album After the Morning (2010)
  • Good Year for the Roses" and "Dream a Little Dream" with Tom Urie on his self-titled album (2011)
  • "Fisherman's Blues" with Mick Taylor on his album Stinky Fingers (2011)
  • "Hornchurch Park" with Barry Kirsch on his album Images in Black & White (2011)


Thanks to Jens P. Tagore Brage, Anna Maria Stjärnell, and JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Entry last updated 2015-06-14 16:48:07.
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