Saturday, 13 April 2013

Cassette experiment day 54 - Sinead O'Connor 'Am I not your girl?'

I’m writing a book about great cover versions (in my head though – in the real world I haven’t started it yet).
For me there’s only one thing that’s more exciting than a fantastic cover version and that’s a whole album full of the little blighters.
To take this whole thing up a notch further, there’s something that’s even better than an album of cover versions and that’s a screamingly unhinged album of cover versions.
Sitting atop this mighty pile like two great controversial colossi sit Kevin Rowland’s dress-sporting ‘My beauty’ and the subject of today’s experiment, Sinead O’Connor’s 1992 collection ‘Am I not your girl?’
Stunningly performed by Sinead with beautiful orchestration and arrangements (I’m not classically trained so these may both mean the same thing). What makes this album stand out from the crowd is partly the selection of songs, partly the faultless but slightly venomous vocal delivery and partly the bit at the end of side 2 where Sinead ‘goes off on one’.
Songwise, the side 1 opener ‘Why don’t you do right?’ is infused with a menace never before experienced in any other version of this particular tune; mischievous Sinead changes the ‘Bewitched, bothered and bewildered’ lyrics just slightly with brilliant effect and even the usually avoidable ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’ sounds eminently listenable. The instrumental version of Sir Tim Rice and Lord Lloyd-Webber’s classic that almost finishes side 2 should be avoided at all costs however, unless you’re a great fan of Radio 2’s Clare Teal on a Sunday night - and of course many are. Incidentally, on tomorrow night’s programme Clare pays tribute to Ray Anthony, known, apparently as ‘The Young Man with a Horn’. I’m not sure how you gain a reputation like that.
Meanwhile, with the first track on side 2, ‘I want to be loved by you’, Sinead channels Marilyn (which conjures a slightly disturbing mental image). The moving ‘Scarlet Ribbons’, in a version very close in quality to that of the great Harry Belafonte, is a tune that always possesses the power to leave me in a sobbing heap in the middle of the floor.
Label – Ensign
Year - 1992