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Review of I WANNA BE KATE

By John Everson, The Star Newspapers, December 24, 1998

FOR KATE BUSH FANS
Various Artists
I Wanna Be Kate: Songs of Kate Bush
(Atlantic)
* * * 1/2

It's amazing this hasn't been done before. And on an international scale. But Chicagoans can take the credit for putting together a great little all-Windy City artists tribute album to England's Kate Bush, who long ago achieved cult status with many fans around the world (Tori Amos and Sarah McLachlan owe much of their fame and some of their style to Kate). There aren't many famous names on here, but there are some pretty worthwhile revisions of Bush standards. The Aluminum Group adds a bit of rock to the brooding "L'Amour Looks Something Like You." Susan Voelz (of Poi Dog Pondering) adds her violin and layered breathy vocals to "The Sensual World," and The Moviegoers bring an almost Crash Test Dummies-low vocal in to turn "Hounds of Love" into a straight-up guitar hit. Thomas Negovan wonderfully captures the rare, sad beauty of "And Dream of Sheep," Syd Straw stays true to the folky late '70s feel of "The Man With The Child In His Eyes" and Nora O'Connor plays "The Saxophone Song" pretty true to Kate as well. In fact, if there's a song that comes close to improving on the original, it's O'Connor's work on this track. While Kate's own version tended to be a bit airy fairy in its vocal delivery, O'Connor's vocals are just a little more anchored and earthy. This disc also has versions of "Running Up That Hill," "Love and Anger," and the very difficult to handle rhythm and reel nightmare song "Jig of Life." There's also one horrible misstep: The J Davis Trio completely strip the melody and mystery of "There Goes A Tenner" and rap the lyrics over a slow beat. If the title wasn't on it, I'd never have known this was one of my favorite Kate Bush songs! If you have a Kate fan on your list, they'll thank you all year for finding this one.

(Can't find it at the record store? Call (773) 508-5221).

- John Everson


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