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  • #3
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on 29 June 2013
My daughter loves this group so she was very pleased with this issue. Various tracks were just extended editions of older tracks which although she enjoyed it, was a little disappointed at the lack of new tracks.
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I am currently in the middle of setting the sort of personal record that dear old Roy Castle probably wouldn't have been very interested in, but which might well turn out to be the very pinnacle of my own life's achievements: namely, just how many times can I play the utterly amazing 'I Can Drive' at stupendously loud volume before either becoming bored of it (which is highly unlikely) or being dragged down to the cop shop to be charged with a breach of the peace...?

I'm up to twenty three in the count at the moment but, given how utterly amazing that track is, I am confident that I can probably double that number before being offered a cup of sweet tea down the nick by the custody sergeant. The irony is, I should have been watching Bananarama's Sara and Keren singing at an 80s concert down in Southampton today - but my car refused to start and so 'I CAN'T Drive'. I thought I'd be heartbroken about it but, quite clearly, I am not.

It's true, God moves in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.

He must have a much more reliable form of transport than I've got then, that's all I can say...

The album '#3' has had a very torrid time of things over the years, the poor love. Marcella Detroit left the band in 1993, and work progressed on the original, single disc version, from then until 1996. Siobhan was still married to Dave Stewart then (and I was still cursing him on a regular basis for his infuriatingly jammy piece of good fortune) and he had a lot to do with the production of '#3': which makes it all the more baffling that it was effectively sent into artistic exile for the next nine years. A bit of internet research reveals the gobsmacking fact that 'I Can Drive', a song so good you just have to play it 31 times in one day (and still counting!), was the last single released before 'Shakespears Sister' were dropped by their record label; as a result of which, '#3' was seemingly held hostage, an innocent and creatively brilliant pawn in, what appears to have been, a game of spite and petty-mindedness on the part of London Records.

Thankfully though, the album finally got its (albeit limited) release in 2005, followed by the ultimate honour of the 2CD 'whistles and bells' version that can be found here. There is some evidence that London Records may have deemed '#3' in its original form to be, not to put too fine a point on it, not in keeping with the sort of image they felt 'Shakespears Sister' (in other words, Siobhan Fahey) ought to have had.

If that's true then it would seem to have been very narrow-minded of them. As an artist - and as, I think, her work her can attest to - this lady is completely unique. They were worried about her being too 'alternative'?! That's what she DOES, for heaven's sake!

I know some reviewers think Marcella Detroit's presence would have somehow added 'something' to this music that, in their opinion, is severely lacking but, I have to say, I don't agree with that at all. She was superb on the two albums prior to this one, of course she was... but she had already departed from the scene before work had even started on '#3', so trying to imagine how things would have turned out had she been involved is like wondering what Bananarama would have sounded like had Siobhan not left. In other words, it's all a little bit pointless. And there is NOTHING lacking in this product whatsoever. Well, not on the first disc of it anyway.

'I Can Drive' (currently on its 38th playing!) is obviously the highlight for me. But (with one definite exception) there are no duff tracks to be found around here at all. As usual with Ms Fahey's work, to try to describe any of it in relation to anybody else's style or genre would be doing it, and her, a great disservice. You have to listen to it, really.

Anyone who has already invested in the equally brilliant The MGA Sessions will recognise 'What's it Like to Be So Wonderful?', 'After All', 'The Older Sister', 'Suddenly' and 'The Attic Song'. The original edition of '#3' stops at 'I Never Could Sing Anyway', so there is enough extra material on the 2012 version for it to be worth buying this one as well. 'The Poison Tree' alone, which features Ms Fahey reading words to a spooky-sounding backing tune in a huskily sultry manner, is worth any amount of money in my book. Such a shame that it only goes on for just over a minute. Oh, but WHAT a minute!

It's fair to say though, that CD2 has a lot less going for it than its companion. While I am a great lover of Siobhan Fahey's (Blimey Charlie, where's a genie with a lamp and two OTHER wishes when you need him?), I am not a great fan of endless remixes of the same songs. Especially where, in the case of 'I Can Drive', the original version is so much better. I also feel duty bound to use three-little-letters-plus-suitable-punctuation (as in 'WTF?!') with regard to this double disc's parting Shakespearean shot, 'So Cold'. The lady is fantastic but, as a diligent Amazon reviewer, I really must be honest and say that listening to that song is a right old ordeal for the average lugholes.

Sort of like listening to 'I Can Drive' 44 times in one day might prove to be, I suppose...
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on 2 September 2014
This has turned into my favourite album by SS. Turned up in good time and in good condition. Fantastic.
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