'Mirmama' is the real McCoy. For all Fairground Attraction's charm, there was an element of cutsey-ness which held back the talents of a truly great interpretive singer. On this, her first solo album, Eddi Reader's soul is let loose. From the opening bars of the incredibly beautiful 'What You Do With What You've Got', through to the weary melancholy of 'My Old Friend The Blues', Reader never sets a foot wrong. Her voice is one of the most fluid I've ever heard and she uses it as much like a lead instrument as a vehicle for lyrics. Few singers can get right to the heart of a song like Eddi Reader can and I defy the listener not to get pulled into the bitterness of 'All Or Nothing' and 'Pay No Mind'. With Thomas Dobly working some magic in the background, 'The Blacksmith' belies its age (hundreds of years old, folks!) and becomes a great, twisted tale of a woman spurned. The rhythms underline the drama and this could easily have become a dance track with a bit more knob-twiddling.
It's not often that covers and originals sit so well together on the one album but the joins are impossible to see. The songwriting talents of Eddi and her cohorts are top notch (witness 'All Or Nothing', 'Cinderella's Downfall', 'Pay No Mind' and the beautiful new melody for 'What You Do With What You've Got'). John Prine's gorgeous song 'Hello In There' is just perfect. The Americanisms have been replaced with words and images truer to Eddie's Scottish brogue, thus ensuring that the song strike home absolutely.
Shame on RCA for not marketing this album properly and letting a real masterpiece go to waste. This may sound like hyperbole to the casual browser but I promise you that the measly sum you're asked to fork out for this disc will not be wasted.