It took me a long time to `come round` to Shirley Bassey. It was partly thanks to her recent album The Performance and the televised concert she gave to promote it, along with further tribute programmes, that converted me. What a great lady!
This is a bargain disc, with no frills - and no sleevenotes - but as such is one of the best introductions to Shirl I have come across.
The early tracks here are something of a revelation, as she actually sounds more than a little like Piaf, such is the intensity of her singing, in a slightly simpler, less overwraught style than she later adopted. My favourite of these is Reach For The Stars, a lovely song with a great melody, recorded in 1961, when she was a mere 24.
Most of her best-loved songs are here, including her Olympian version of the suitably dramatic Climb Every Mountain, the marvellous I (Who Have Nothing), the immortal Goldfinger - as famous now as the film itself - and the jokey Big Spender, quite a lewd song when you think about it, of which I`m quite sure Shirl is and was well aware. Her thoughtful reading of Tonight is captivating, too.
The last track is the utterly irresistible Never Never Never, her last big hit, from 1973.
The sound is good (some of these tracks are fifty years old, after all) and this is a sensible, strong selection of crowd-pleasers, lasting nearly an hour, of the Girl from Tiger Bay.
The girl done good.