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Reader is a class above new pop acts

RETURNING home after this gig there was Burt Bacharach on the TV at the Electric Proms, his songs being murdered by today's chart topping singers.

RETURNING home after this gig there was Burt Bacharach on the TV at the Electric Proms, his songs being murdered by today's chart topping singers.

What a contrast to the crystal soaring voice of Eddi Reader who, for over two hours, had enthralled a Birmingham audience at the Town Hall.

She's got a terrific band but it's her voice that seals it, warm, powerful and as clear as when she first hit the headlines 20 years ago with Fairground Attraction and Perfect.

Latterly Reader struck a seam of gold when she latched onto the songs of Robert Burns, turning out two knockout CDs which won her plaudits the length and breadth of this country and beyond.

It was folk pop with a tartan tinge, reflecting her own Scottishness and finding her a new audience.

But this gig was all about the latest album, not out until March 2009, but available 'exclusive' for concert-goers only.

Reader arrives late on stage with her six piece band, apologies (been down the pub) and immediately launches into the new material.

It's good too, moving her away from the Southern Uplands of her homeland and depositing us firmly into adult orientated folk pop.

It's grown up music for grown ups and thanks to a band that includes brilliant songsmiths like Boo Hewardine, the tunes are sparkling too.

The audience lap it up as Reader returns to the eighties and that perfect number one hit before encoring with Burns's rousing tribute to his drinking pal, 'Willie Stuart'.

Criticisms? Well, Reader's band sorely missed fiddle player John McCusker, leaving as it did just Phil Cunningham's accordion to provide ornamentation.

At times too there were four people strumming away on guitars of various shapes and sizes - surely at least one too many.

Otherwise a great night, and yes I did buy the CD and yes, it's superb.

 

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