This site too slow? Try a mirror  --  Subscribe to the Guide  --  Find artist:
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

Kirsty MacColl


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Mainstream pop/rock

Status:

Kirsty MacColl died in December 2000. There have been several posthumous compilations; her final studio album was Tropical Brainstorm (2000)

See also:

The Kirsty MacColl website

Wikipedia's entry on Kirsty MacColl

Comparisons:

Vocal similarities to Carly Simon

Covers/own material:

Own, co-written, and covers

General comments:

She has a wonderful, distinctive voice and (with a few understandable lapses) was a damned good songwriter. She was also a helluva cover artist and collaborator (she made "Days" her own and worked miracles in "Fairytale of New York" among other accomplishments). I've been a fan since Kite was released (the LP cover is hanging in my kitchen and it's still my favorite Kirsty album) and I'm going to miss her terribly. (vickie@enteract.com)

I currently listen to Kirsty more often than any other artist in my collection. I deeply love her music, and it must be because I feel a kind of kinship to Kirsty's sentiments, a lot of them dealing with love-gone-wrong, my favorite theme. :-) Her lyrics are emotional, intelligent, and lots of times based in "anger", another of my favorite themes. ;-) When you couple this with her beautiful, plaintive voice, which was so appropriately described by a reviewer once as being "...able to melt butter." (alundra@netos.com)

Harmonizes all by her lonesome self but does so exquisitely. Pop-oriented, but not icky. (paul2k@aol.com)

Comments about live performance:

I've seen Kirsty a couple of times. Excellent shows both times. (neal)

I've seen her live, and wasn't that impressed. I hate going to a concert and hearing the artist sing the songs exactly as they sound on the record, and I'd put Kirsty into that category. (valerie@smoe.org)

Recommended first album:

Any of the compilations would be a great place to start

Recordings:

  • Desperate Character (1981)
  • Kirsty MacColl (1985)
  • Kite (1989)
  • Electric Landlady (1991)
  • The Essential Collection (compilation 1993)
  • Titantic Days (1994)
  • Galore (compilation, 1995)
  • What Do Pretty Girls Do? (BBC compilation, 1998)
  • Tropical Brainstorm (2000)
  • The One and Only (compilation, 2001)
  • "Fairytale of New York" (2005 re-release of various versions of the 1987 single with The Pogues)
  • From Croydon to Cuba (box set compilation, 2005)
  • The Best of Kirsty MacColl (compilation, 2005)
  • A New England: The Very Best of Kirsty MacColl (compilation, 2013)

Kite

Release info:

1989—Virgin—CD KM1

Availability:

Wide on release

Ecto priority:

High

Group members:

Kirsty MacColl—lap steel, autoharp, percussion, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass guitar

Guest artists:

Guy Baker—trumpet
Mark Berrow—violin
Stuart Brooks—trumpet
Paul Crowder—tambourine, percussion
Ben Cruft—violin
Yves N'Djock—electric guitar
James Eller—bass
Mel Gaynor—drums
Wilf Gibson—violin
Roy Gillard—violin
David Gilmour—electric guitar
Pete Glenister—electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Malcolm Griffiths—trombone
Robbie McIntosh—acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Steve Lillywhite—bass
Johnny Marr—electric guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica
Pino Palladino—bass
David Palmer—drums, percussion
Guy Pratt—bass
Colin Stuart—acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Jamie Talbot—tenor sax
Phil Todd—clarinet
Steve Turner—electric guitar (harmonics/effects)
David Woodcock—violin
Gavyn Wright—violin (leader)

Produced by:

Steve Lillywhite

Comments:

If you are looking to try more Kirsty, I would suggest Kite. It includes her cover of The Smiths' "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby" and the Kinks' "Days." And, Johnny Marr is once again present on some tracks. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

The last track is a "calypso" version of "Complainte Pour Ste. Catherine"! In general, very light, dance-like music. (jbr@casetech.dk)

A great pop album, with some really biting, sarcastic lyrics. Highly enjoyable! (Neile)

It's a great album. Kirsty has kind of a light, airy, lilting voice. Sorta folky, but not exactly. The album is chock full of catchy melodies and clever lyrics. She covers a number of songs and makes them all hers (The Smiths' "You Just Haven't Earned It Yet Baby", The Kinks' "Days", and a song in French written by one of The McGarrigles). Johnny Marr of The Smiths plays guitar all over the album too. I think it's wonderful and highly recommend it. It did take a few listens to grow on me though, as I thought Kirsty's voice was a little too lightweight, but it quickly became a favorite. (neal)


Eclectric Landlady

Release info:

1991—Virgin

Availability:

Wide on release

Ecto priority:

Recommended for Kirsty MacColl fans

Group members:

Kirsty MacColl—vocals, guitar, autoharp, keyboards

Guest artists:

Pete Glenister—guitar
Elliot Randall—guitar
Mark E. Nevin—guitar
Ian Aitken —guitar
Johnny Marr—guitar, keyboards
Colin Stuart—guitar, mandolin
Philip Chevron—guitar
Terry Woods—cittern
Jem Finer—banjo
Sal Cuevas—bass
Pino Palladino—bass
Darryl Hunt—bass
Guy Pratt—bass
Robbie Ameen—drums
Mel Gaynor—drums
David Palmer—drums
Andrew Rankin—drums
Adrian Lillywhite—percussion, tambourine
Jody Linscott—percussion
Milton Cardona—congas, bata
Jose Mangual Jr—bongo, bell guiro
Marc Quinones—timbal, bell, shaker, bata
Dave Valentin—occarina, pan pipes, flute, whistle
Oscar Hernandez—piano
Ed Shearmur—piano
Hamish MacColl—keyboards
Trevor Gray—organ, synthesizers, programming
Ed Shearmur—clavinet
James Fearnley—accordion
Bob Loveday—violin
Lewis Kahn—violin
Lloyd Carter—violin
Felix Ferrer—violin
Enrique Orengo—cello
Angel Fernandez—brass arrangements, trumpet
Steve Sacks—saxophone
Lewis Khan—trombone
Ite Jerez—trumpet
Joe Shepley—trumpet
Spider Stacey—whistle
Judd Lander—harmonica
Jimmy Chambers—backing vocals
George Chandler—backing vocals
Aniff Cousins—Rap on "Walking down Madison"

Produced by:

Steve Lillywhite

Comments:

actually i don't really care for this one. i should probably go back and listen to it, but i never really stuck, which disappointed me because i so love Titantic Days and then i bought Electric Landlady and i didn't really like it. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

This was Kirsty's follow-up to Kite, and I found it a bit disappointing. If you really like Kite, get it anyway, since it has a lot of great songs. But Kite had simple, straightforward arrangements, where the vocals, lyrics, melodies and all the songs parts blended perfectly. Electric Landlady is full of clutter. (Oddly, they are both produced by Steve Lillywhite, Kirsty's husband at the time.) Kirsty experiments with different styles of music and a wide array of backing musicians, from the Pogues to more Spanish-sounding horns to some rap. I really like half the songs unequivocally, and those tend to be the ones that seem cleaner (but not always). Seems like you can count on Kirsty to provide clever lyrics and a sharp cynical viewpoint throughout (although bittersweet springs to mind too), I just don't like the sound of many of the songs as well. (neal)

It's very inconsistent. While there are some truly wonderful songs, especially "Halloween," there are also all those songs that sound like she's hired a mariachi band to perform with her. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

My personal favorite Kirsty album. (alundra@netos.com)


The Essential Collection

Release info:

1993

Availability:

U.K. on release

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Kirsty MacColl—vocals, etc.

Guest artists:

Various

Produced by:

Various

Comments:

I have The Essential Collection containing a sampling of her early songs, including "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis", "A New England", "Terry" and "80-Year-Old Millionaire". A fantastic compilation, but I've never seen it since. (valerie@smoe.org)

Titanic Days

Release info:

1993—IRS Records—7243 8 27214 20

Availability:

Wide on release

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Kirsty MacColl—vocals, guitar, keyboards

Guest artists:

Mark E Nevin—guitar, harmonium, bass
David Ruffy—drums, programming
Gary Tibbs—bass
Peter Glenister—guitars
Jamie West-Oram—guitars on 2 tracks
Chester Kamen—guitars on 2 tracks
Andy Kowalski—additional program in 1 track
Ray Dodds—drums,percussion on 3 tracks, congas on 1 track
Steve Nieve—keyboards on 4 tracks
Simon Edwards—bass on 1 track
Kate St. John—cor anglais on 1 track, oboe on 1 track
Roger Beaujolais—vibes on 1 track
Kim Burton—keyboards on 1 track
Ken Rice—violin on 1 track
Flachra trench—string arrangements
Gavyn Wright—string leader

Produced by:

Vic Van Nugt and Baboon Farm; 1 track by Steve Lillywhite; 1 by Kirsty MacColl and Mark E. Nevin

Comments:

Titanic Days is actually my favorite CD of hers. I *love* this album. While it gets a bit uneven toward the end, the 1st 3/4s of it are pure pop heaven. "Can't Stop Killing You" is just a perfect song. And, while songs like "Titanic Days" and "Soho Square" are a little overproduced, they are still two of my favorites of hers, they are just perfect songs. Anyone having second thoughts about purchasing Titanic Days should put them aside and immediately get this CD. I was having my doubts about Kirsty after Electric Landlady but Titanic Days renewed my faith. I loved it the first time I heard it, and I still keep going back for more. The album is full of intelligent lyrics and beautiful arrangements. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

great, catchy, lovely. (woj@smoe.org)

Lyrically, she concentrates on the never-ending struggles between men and women, covering an amazing range of emotion, from wistful to angry, innocent to naughty, accepting to denial, growth to destructive, fantasy to reality. Yet she draws no sharp lines or conclusions, treating the characters and situations with exceptional depth and ambiguity. About the only constant is the darkness of the songs, again covering a wide range of darkness, but none leaving much room for optimism. As a writer, her lyrics are solidly written, spiced by an occasional sharp image and wonderful turn of phrase.
     Musically, if forced to categorize, I'd put it in the pop category. In many songs, the music is actually quite upbeat, working wonderfully against the darkness of her lyrics, mostly strikingly in "Titanic Days". She weaves many instruments together, with many wonderful little touches here and there. About my only complaint is her voice, which slightly grates in my ear. It took some time for me to get used to. (dbx@aa.net)

She sang backup on a The Smiths songs and I loved her voice so I bought this. Johnny Marr actually co-wrote a song on this. It's got some great tunes, among them "Angel" and "The Last Day of Summer", very light, very breezy, and her voice is very distinct. I thought it was a little bit overproduced, and some of the songs, like "Bad" are just really throwaway pop stuff. "Angel" has been my favorite song for the past three days. Really, really cool. (RedWoodenBeads@aol.com)


Galore

Release info:

Availability:

Wide on release

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Kirsty MacColl—vocals, etc.

Produced by:

Liam Sternberg (track 1); Steve Lillywhite (tracks 2, 4-14); Bazza (track 3); Vic Van Vugt, Kirsty MacColl, Mark Nevin (track 15); Vic Van Vugt, Kirsty MacColl (track 16-17); Kirsty MacColl, Boz Boorer (track 18)

Comments:

Galore is just so much fun. (iflin@speakeasy.net)

Her greatest hits, Galore, provides a nice overview of her career, including her songs with the Pogues and her version of "They Don't Know" (which she wrote and Tracey Ullman made famous). (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Early, somewhat rare, and easily attainable Kirsty all on one disc. A great introduction to her stuff — it even includes her Pogues songs. :) Wonderful to drive to. (meth@smoe.org)

It's a collection of some of her "hits" and include some b-sides, the classic "Fairytale of New York" with the Pogues, and two new songs, "Caroline" and "Perfect Day (w/Evan Dando)" are included in this generous 18-cut release. (I think "Perfect Day" is new.) This album, together with the album The Essential Collection will give new listeners a great overview of Kirsty's incredible talent. (alundra@netos.com)


What Do Pretty Girls Do?

Release info:

1998—Strange Fruit

Availability:

U.K.

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Kirsty MacColl—vocals, etc.

Guest artists:

Various

Comments:

It's a collection of all of her BBC Radio 1 sessions. A lot of it is simply live versions of previously released stuff. But there are some live B-sides and previously unreleased songs. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)

Tropical Brainstorm

Release info:

2001—Instinct—557

Availability:

Wide on release

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Kirsty MacColl—vocals, lap steel guitar, auto harp

Guest artists:

Felix Gonzalez—rap vocals
Pete Glenister—guitar, programming
Luiz De Almeida—nylon string guitar, surdo
Ernesto Estruch—violin, piano
Omar Puente, Gabriel Fonseca—violin
James Knight—saxophone
Ben Storey—trumpet
Joseph De Jesus—trombone
Mark Hinton Stewart—keyboards

Produced by:

Kirsty MacColl, Pete Glenister, Dave Ruffy

Comments:

Three of the songs on Kirsty MacColl's new CD, Tropical Brainstorm, are a hoot: "In These Shoes," "Treachery," and "England 2, Columbia 0." Especially, "England 2, Columbia 0," a clever, quirky and very listenable song, with a surprise in the middle. Lots of fun. (billonline@adlerbooks.com)

3 listens and i was madly in love with it. Well-written songs, fun production, and those always beautiful vocals. (paul2k@aol.com)

An artist at her peak with this cd. (Riphug@aol.com)

I will admit I too was VERY wary about Kirsty's new album. She is one of my favorite artists, and I had been waiting years for new material from her. But I still almost didn't buy the album because the idea of her doing Latin music just really didn't sound appealing. But I decided to give it a chance anyway, even at import price. And, I really like it. Yes, about 70% of the songs have a definite Latin feel to them. But that Latin influence is mixed with distinct Kirsty melodies and her incisive, often biting, lyrics. The closest comparison is "My Affair" from her Electric Landlady album. And, there are a number of songs which have no Latin sound at all.
     I will admit that I was hoping for more classic Kirsty songs and sometimes I wish I could delete the horns and Latin percussion from parts of the album. But I still enjoy the album much more than I expected I would. (stuart@sph.emory.edu)


Further info:

She sang backing vocals for a large number of artists, including The Smiths, Morrissey, Billy Bragg, David Byrne, Alison Moyet, The Pogues, Robert Plant, Rolling Stones, Talking Heads, and Tracey Ullman.

Kirsty MacColl: The One and Only—The Definitive Biography by Karen O'Brien was published in 2004.

From Croydon to Cuba: The Videos DVD was released in 2005


Why the ads?


Rock

121 - 160 of 268 entries

<<  10-Br  Br-Di  Di-Hi  Ho-Ma  Mc-Pe  Pe-St  St-Zo  >>

Click the bullet for speed (drop the menu) or the name for convenience (keep the menu)


>
Penelope Houston

>
Penelope Houston and Pat Johnson

>
Magdalen Hsu-Li

>
in june

>
Pi Jacobs

>
Susan James

>
Leah Jee

>
Jehovah Waitresses

>
Jonathan Incorporated

>
Rickie Lee Jones

>
Janis Joplin

>
Josette's Eye

>
Joydrop

>
Brenda Kahn

>
Rebekka Karijord

>
Karney

>
Kelly's Lot

>
Angélique Kidjo

>
Kindness

>
Kaki King

>
Kittywinder

>
Jann Klose

>
Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris

>
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

>
Land of the Blind

>
Lanterna

>
Letters to Cleo

>
Lift

>
Maria Lithell

>
Luba

>
V.K. Lynne

>
Kirsty MacColl

>
Natalie MacMaster

>
Madder Rose

>
Maestro Subgum and the Whole

>
Wendy MaHarry

>
Michelle Malone

>
Aimee Mann

>
Charlotte Martin

>
Kat Maxwell

<<  10-Br  Br-Di  Di-Hi  Ho-Ma  Mc-Pe  Pe-St  St-Zo  >>


Other Genres...
the Ectophiles' Guide: * Guide Home* What's new* * Alphabetical* Genre* Commentator* Location* Random artist* Search* Contact the editors* Credits

DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2016-06-05 15:04:50.
Please request permission if you wish to
reproduce any of the comments in the
Ectophiles' Guide in any context.

The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music is copyright © 1996-2004 by the editors.
Individual comments are copyright © by their authors.
Web site design and programming copyright © 1998-2004 usrbin design + programming.
All rights reserved.