It hardly seems that long ago that when the charts were laden with the repetitive beats of Stock Aitken and Waterman songs, Eddi Reader and Fairground Attraction arrived to take music back to its most simplistic but melodic form. The song Perfect hit the top of the charts, and although Fairground Attraction split shortly afterwards Eddi continued as a solo artist and has continued to create, diversify and even educate us with great music in the 25 years since.
The Best of Eddi Reader is a comprehensive collection of 30 tracks, taking in the Fairground Attraction hits Perfect and Find My Love, solo successes Patience Of Angels and What You Do With What You’ve Got as well as renditions of Ay Fond Kiss, Moon River and My Love Is Like a Red Red Rose.
Not just a treasured collection, The Best Of Eddi Reader is an introduction to one of the UK’s greatest singers, listen to this and you’ll want to discover more from her, and she has a solid back catalogue to back every track on here up – a rare accolade indeed!
The life span of a hit record these days appears to go a lot further than it would have done 20 or 30 years ago. Maybe that’s because after several weeks (or even months) of a pre release a song can spend an incredible long time floating around in a chart and to a degree even longer on a “no repeat” radio station playlist. If it still has any durability left, the song will then wind up on numerous compilation albums.
Just Great Songs 2016 appears to have done that for tracks which have been around for well over a year including Hozier’s Take Me To Church and One Direction’s History. Still with other contributions from Justin Bieber, Zayn, James Bay and Foxes, this might be the ideal compilation if you want to avoid annoying commercial radio adverts and still hear recent hits.
Its common practice now for artists to revisit their back catalogue and tweak classic albums for remastered and extended editions. Phil Collins, appears to have taken a step further with recent reissues of No Jacket Required, Hello I Must Be Going, Face Value, Dance Into The Light, Both Sides and Testify. These 6 titles bookending an album output of some 30 years.
Not only has Phil given the tracks a significant clean up, but he’s also taken the trouble to recreate the original album artwork with up to date images of himself.
Of course, Phil Collins music goes beyond face value, In The Air Tonight, Both Sides Of The Story and Take Me Home, among others still stand up as great pop songs, and if remastered renditions of classic Collins is still not enough to pull you in there is an extra disc to accompany each album brimming with demos and live rarities.
Now's the time to get caught up on one of the greatest British solo acts of the 80s and 90s, the music of Phil Collins has never sounded better.
- Versions of these reviews by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement, The Guide during May 2016.