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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5
18 Carat Garbage
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£34.99+ £1.26 shipping

on 3 February 2003
If you have not yet had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Billie Ray Martin then your life to this point has definitely been missing something. Just close your eyes and think of Aretha Franklin and you won’t be far out…
18 Carat Garbage continues the Motown / rare-groove feel that accompanies some of her previous material, and features a guest appearance by the unique Ann Peebles.
Throughout the album her delivery is outstanding; managing to switch from barely a whisper to the full diva treatment without missing a beat. The tracks weave an emotional path through sultry and melancholy, to upbeat numbers that feel like they’ve been ejected from some mysterious parallel ‘60s that never was.
All in, a fine album and well recommended.
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on 26 March 2015
Good album, with some really good tracks. Still getting into it, but am playing it every day and enjoying it.
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on 28 August 2007
I understand (from BRM's own website) that prototype artwork for this album showed our heroine seated on a very industrial-looking lav, suggestive of something you might find in a psychiatric hospital. Not very Tesco-friendly, perhaps, but, sadly, even a "safer" approach failed to help propel this masterwork to the massive commercial success it deserved.
Everything other reviewers have said about 18-Carat Garbage applies, and more. This woman is clearly a perfectionist, taking her music in more of a soulful direction than on Deadline For My Memories, but with arrangements which cross over from 60s-style R&B instrumentation to the cool electronica we're familiar with from Billie Ray. It's all great, but standout tracks include the title track, which has a deliciously understated horn section and holds up against anything you might hear at the House of Blues. It's a duet with the legendary Ann Peebles, who also pops up elsewhere in the album, notably the fine ballad Ten Minutes On Tuesday Afternoon In Buffalo. There's the obligatory touch of gospel revival on Legends That Die, while Anyone Will Do For A Heartache is a torch song showcasing BRM's ever-witty writing.
My copy also has a bonus track of Elton John's Mona Lisas And Mad Hatters. Different arrangement to anything else on the album (very true to the original), but it doesn't jar at all.
She's often compared to Aretha Franklin, and she can do similar things with her voice, but I'd suggest that, tonally, she's a very different singer and no less talented.
With this album, I thought Billie Ray Martin had reached the peak of her powers, surely, but then remixes of a truly innovative dance track like "Undisco Me" slip out (only on download as far as I know now, folks) and she surprises me yet again.
The latest is that, after a relatively quiet period (Billie Ray's been doing a lot of DJing, though) there are not one, but two new albums in the pipeline - one an electronic excursion as one half of a band, The Opiates. Roll on 2008!
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on 29 February 2012
For me, Billie Ray Martin is quite simply one of the greatest singers of her generation. After the masterpiece that was 'Electribal Memories', Electribe 101's only album from 1990, the group in which BRM found fame as lead singer, she embarked on a solo career that began with 1995's 'Deadline For My Memories'. Spawning the MASSIVE single 'Your Loving Arms', although the voice was as majestic as ever, it was sometimes marred by BT's over-production except on tracks such as the soulful 'You And I (Keep Holding On)' which wouldn't have been out of place on any of Aretha's Atlantic albums. On 'Never Been to Memphis', BRM teams up with Ann Peebles' band with stunning results. Against a backdrop of Memphis's finest session players from the 60s and 70s, BRM recreates southern soul for a new millenium, adding just the right dose of electronic flourishes to stop it being a pastiche. This is a truly remarkable album that incorporates blues, soul, disco, and dub - too many highlights to list, although the title track deserves special mention as BRM duets with the legendary Ann Peebles. And guess what? She more than holds her own. Apparently, when the session players heard the demos before they had seen or met BRM they were convinced it was a wind-up that she wasn't black, then when she arrived in the studio, their initial trepidation led to high 5s the second she opened her mouth to sing. Coming from these guys that was the ultimate praise. Not bad for a white girl from Germany. As Aretha would say, "This girl can SANG!" Do yourself a favour and buy it. I have owned this cd for 11 years and it never grows old. A true classic.
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on 27 July 2002
Back in 1995, former Electribe 101 vocalist Billie Ray Martin released her first solo album 'Deadline For My Memories'. It's
a scorcher (please read my review of it on Amazon). After years
of songwriting, legal wrangles and suchlike, Ms Martin is back and how!
For those who have never experienced our Bill, she has a voice
like no other: at once seductive and terse by turn, she takes
no prisoners. 'Garbage' sees her give full vent to her feelings
once more. Opener 'Captain Drag' is unusual in that it's one
of very few songs ever recorded to have gender reassignment as
its theme. Here she gives the listener a first taste of just
how her expressive voice can bring you the full impact of the
story. You end up feeling you know the person involved!
Billie is nothing if not varied in her writing styles so you've big ballads like the fabulous 'Anyone Will Do For A Heartache'
alongside stompers like the Motown-inflected 'Where Fools Rush
In' and the bluesy title track.
Another highlight for me is the New Order feel of 'Systems of
Silence' later on on the album but judge for yourself as there's
plenty to get totally lost in here. By the way, her website
also offers an album of demos of the stuff here and also another
album of remixes of them so one can hear a track from several
perspectives.
I've seen her live twice now and she is a truly superb performer.
She deserves to be huge.
Al Ferrier
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