Mitchell: Impressive debut album from UK’s Doolittle

CD Reviews

Eliza Doolittle: (Parlophone/EMI)

This album came out last year in Eliza Doolittle’s native UK where it made its debut at No.3 and featured the big hit Pack Up.

Another one of Doolittle’s songs, Skinny Genes, also included on this self-titled CD, was used as the theme music for the fashion website Very and it too became a Doolittle crossover hit.

She was born Eliza Caird but she uses the stage name Doolittle from the George Bernard Shaw play Pygmalion as adapted for the big screen as My Fair Lady.

And Doolittle does come by a theatrical, musical background honestly where the 22-year-old’s mother, Francis Ruffelle, starred on the TV series West End as well as a stage production of Les Miserable while her grandmother was a noted stage producer and director.

Anyway, this is an impressive debut album and her label was smart to let Doolittle develop in Britain before launching her career in North America.

This album is getting noticed, albeit slowly, where it has made its debut at the No. 89 spot, but I would look for this album to garner a lot of interest.

Doolittle offers unique pop perspectives not unlike Lily Allen and Kate Nash and her very early successes in the UK promise to evolve on these shores too.

Doolittle mixes in some campy and cheeky 1950s samples from The Fleetwood’s hit Come Softly To Me into her lovely ballad Missing.

Her UK hit Pack Up mixes some of the old WWI lyrics from Pack Up Your Troubles (In Your Old Kit Bag) proving that, unlike retro girl group pop singers such as Duffy and Amy Winehouse, Doolittle is aiming for an even earlier pop milieu.

Doolittle also sings in a cute English accent while high profile song writing collaborators Johnny Dollar ex-of Massive Attack and Craigie Dodds of Sugababes will make this at least a cult classic.

It will probably take some time but I suspect Eliza Doolittle’s clever blend of light ska, ’50s pop and breezy summer fare will make a splash on this side of the Atlantic as well.

An artist to watch.

B

Twisted Sister: Come Out And Play

(Armoury/Eagle Rock)

It is difficult to fathom that there is still a following for Twisted Sister, but their back catalogue is being re-issued including this 1985 gold selling album, Come Out And Play, which was released again on CD just yesterday.

This was the album released right after Stay Hungry which made the band a household name thanks to the idiotic heavy theatrics of lead singer Dee Snider and his anthemic hit We’re Not Gonna Take It.

But Snider has since become a popular syndicated radio DJ and he is also something of an opinion maker often appearing on The Joy Behar Show.

Arnold Schwarzenegger also used TS’s anthem We’re Not Gonna Take it as a theme song for his successful run for governor of California last decade.

This hardly sounds like enough to warrant the re-issue of the band’s back catalogue but fans may want to note that this re-issue has been remastered so it is not nearly as muddy sounding as the original album.

Also, there is a bonus song now on CD with the sludgy ballad King Of The Fools which was hitherto only available on the earlier cassette version.

Twisted Sister, in their heyday, were little more than kitsch crap but I was always a closet fan of their one-off, loopy collaboration with Alice Cooper, Clarence Clemons and Brian Setzer on the theatrical Be Chrool To Your Scuel (sic) that sounded like Meatloaf auditioning for a part in the musical Grease.

The re-mastering of this disc makes it sound way better but I am not sure this is enough to start another stampede for Twisted Sister who had two years of glory before they became way too overexposed.

C-

Jane Eamon:

(Janey Girl Music)

Our peripatetic Kelowna folk singer/songwriter Jane Eamon has added yet another strong set of songs to her impressive catalogue with this self-titled new(ish) album that I only just discovered was stuck behind my in-mail box.

Eamon’s last album was a wonderful foray into gospel folk and there is a bit of that on this eponymous album with Arms Of The Angel, but for the most part this eight-song CD features country folk. These are nicely fleshed out all-acoustic songs with poignant lyrics that venture into classic country narratives as well as spiritual self introspections, but this CD also serves as a solid demo of songs as Eamon, I am sure, is probably shopping these tunes and others to Nashville publishers.

There is a lot of money to be made if a country star records one of your songs and I like Eamon’s chances, especially with the handsome opening boozers lament Hotel Disgrace.

But the best song on this fine release is the seemingly Joni Mitchell-inspired A Bit Of Grace which is positive and upbeat while Eamon spiritually ponders her mortality.

This new album was recorded in Texas as the wandering Jane Eamon searches for new inspirations, but I also like her eye for photography where she took the snap of this delightful CD cover.

B

bwcmitchell@shaw.ca