Album Review: Kirsty MacColl


Kirsty MacColl -‘All I Ever Wanted – The Anthology’ (Edsel)

Even reading about the death about Kirsty MacColl still saddens me, nearly fourteen years later. It must be fairly bittersweet for her two sons, Jamie and Louis, every Christmas, when the anniversary of their mother’s death – through no fault of her own – happened right in front of them. Her most famous part – that of the female protagonist on The Pogues’ ‘Fairytale Of New York’ became a million-seller and is rightly regarded as the nation’s favourite Christmas song.

Of course, there’s far more to Ms. MacColl than her death and ‘Fairytale.’ It appears here, of course, but it’s telling that it appears halfway through the second disc of this compilation. Not because I think it needed to buried (hell, I’m still not sick of 26 years later), but because as the other 42 tracks reveal, there was so much more to her than that song.

So we have a number of her singles from over the years, songs that were deservedly hits -‘Walking Down Madison,’ her covers of The Kinks’ ‘Days’ and a radio session version of ‘A New England’ recorded with Billy Bragg; singles that weren’t hits -‘They Don’t Know,’ ‘Terry’ and ‘In These Shoes?’ as well as album tracks that showed just how awesome she was on that format, too – ‘England 2 Columbia 0’ and ‘Us Amazonians.’

It’s a genuinely comprehensive overview of her career as you’d expect, and hope, and one I feel does her twenty-year career justice. It’s also got decent sleevenotes (so nice when us reviewers are sent these rather than just streams or downloads!); and is both a great introduction and fantastic round-up.


All I Ever Wanted – The Anthology is out on Edsel on April 7.

(not this version on this compilation but I had to share!)

New Kirsty MacColl compilation


In the words of Morrissey, Kirsty MacColl was ‘a supreme original, although not, as far as I know, an original Supreme.’

The singer-songwriter died tragically in 2000, but her twenty year music career was absolutely brilliant. And whilst she’s best known for ‘Fairytale of New York’ and her cover of The Kinks’ ‘Days’ and Billy Bragg’s ‘A New England’ there’s much more to discover.

A new compilation called All I Ever Wanted: The Anthology is out on April 7 (tracklisting here), which gives me an opportunity to post some videos of her.

This was her first hit, ‘There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis.’ A novelty hit? Maybe, but what fun, and a gem in her hands.

I remember hearing the 12″ version of ‘Terry’ when I worked in HMV in 2002 on a various artists compilation, I honestly think this is superior to the original version and I’m glad it’s on the album.

The last album she released before she died, 2000’s Tropical Brainstorm is an excellent record which I bought on it release and showed her love affair with South American msuic. It also showed her way with a witty and acerbic lyric. ‘England 2 Columbia 0’ is the outstanding track on the album.

Finally, she worked with The Smiths (hear her on ‘Ask’, which came out around the same time as Billy Bragg’s ‘Greetings To The New Brunette’ which also featured her on backing vocals) and also with both Morrissey and Johnny Marr once The Smiths had split. ‘Walking Down Madison’ was a chart hit in the UK, featuring Johnny Marr on guitar in early 1991, and she was back in the charts a couple of months later singing backing vocals on Billy Bragg’s hit ‘Sexuality.’

All I Ever Wanted: The Anthology is released by Salvo on April 7.

For a great fansite see here