There Is No One Like A Dame (Music Thoughts: Hello Like Before, Dame Shirley Bassey)

sbassDame Shirley Bassey has a new album. Well, it’s new-ish, as it came out late last year but I am just getting a chance to write about it now. Can you believe she has been in the business for sixty years? Her 36th album, “Hello Like Before,” shows that she is still in strong voice: it’s still big, brassy, and the Bassey voice that we have all grown to love after all these years. The album itself is an incoherent mix, with tracks from all over the place. There are re-recordings of previous Bassey hits – she does “Goldfinger” again because she claims three were a coupel of bum notes from her original version. Yet to my ears it sounds exactly the same. She duets with Paloma Faith on a fun “Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend.” and it sounds funky and modern. But, my favorite tracks are the more reflective ones: her life and experience shine through on melancholy tracks like “Here’s To Life,” “It Was A Very Good year,” and the slowed down version of Bill Whithers’ “Hello Like Before.”  There’s some quiet dramatic and realistic readings in there, and those are what I related to the most.

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