Album review: ELEANOR McEVOY – Stuff

Eleanor McEvoy - Stuff

Moscodisc [Release date 12.05.14]

Compilations can be hit and miss affairs but Eleanor McEvoy’s got the balance just about right on 11 track ‘sampler’ that includes something for everyone by way of collaborations, single remixes and B-sides, and even some new material.  The Who may have pinched the best title back in 1974 with ‘Odds & Sods’ but ‘Stuff’ is an equally apt.

For those who haven’t been fanatical enough to track down some of Eleanor’s less readily available work with other artists, ‘Little Look’ (2009) performed with Polish a cappella group Banana Boat is one of her (and their) most sublime moments – quite unusually usurping the very fine original that featured on Out There (2006).

And in the same vein, although not quite hitting the same dizzy heights, is ‘Lover’s Chapel’ a co-write with Dave Rotheray taken from the latter’s Homespun album Short Stories From East Yorkshire (2008) featuring Eleanor on vocals.

The inclusion of the cover of The Fratellis’ ‘Whistle For The Choir’ and a re-working of ‘Please Heart You’re Killing Me’ – both single B-sides from the 2008 Love Must be Tough sessions makes absolute sense, unless you opted for the limited edition of that album on which they were both included.

More strange is the inclusion of 4 recent single edits (none startlingly different to their parenting album tracks) – ‘The Night May Still Be Young’, ‘But I Am Not’ (2008), ‘Deliver Me’ (2010) and ‘Don’t Blame The Tune’ (2013).  That is, unless you look at Stuff as being the natural companion piece for Eleanor’s 2009 Singled Out collection.

Finally, for those who have been diligent enough to seek out the aforementioned material, Stuff includes re-recordings of ‘Take You Home’ (one of my all-time Eleanor favourites from I’d Rather Go Blonde (2010)), a re-reading of Chuck Berry’s ‘Memphis Tennessee’ originally on 2004′s Early Hours, plus ‘Milord’, a cover Eleanor has been including in recent live sets as a tribute to singer Edith Piaf and writer Georges Moustaki.  Although personally, as good as they are, I don’t feel either reworking surpasses the original.

As anyone familiar with her work will know, Eleanor’s vocals and audiophile work in general is an absolute pleasure to listen to and Stuff is no exception in that regard.  Some odd bedfellows perhaps, but it holds together cohesively nevertheless.  ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley


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