The Beautiful South - Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs

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An album that is, possibly, greater than the sum of its parts.


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Another batch of cover versions? You can tell the winter's drawn in. This album should come complete with "Ideal gift for Her" stamped on the front with a pretty little red ribbon. This is basically the Beautiful South doing karaoke, but thankfully it's a lot more interesting than it looks on paper. Firstly, there's the song's themselves, which are an eclectic bunch to say the least. The 'South take on Rufus Wainwright, The Stylistics, ELO, even S Club 7 to name a few.


 


An intruiging collection to say the least, these songs have been totally transformed. For example take the opener You're the One That I Want. The original, made famous by Olivia Newton John and John Travolta, was the tale of two teenage lovers in a sun drenched, Californian high school of the 1950's. Here it sounds like the tale of two middle-aged piss heads in the back of a smoky boozer in Hull, talking over a pie and peas supper. It works surprisingly well.


 


Elsewhere they've taken Don't Fear The Reaper, originally by The Blue Oyster Cult, dusted off its never ending light metal guitar noodlings and reinvented it as a Latin Salsa. Whereas the original was intended for large football stadiums filled with leather and denim clad bikers, this sounds like it was intended for one of those sequin clad house-bands you find on cruise ships. Again it works when you think it shouldn't; and that goes for the rest of the album as well.


 


If you put the original songs in this same order and listened to them, you'd have a pretty horrendous compilation but what I find most impressive about this album is that they all seem to fit together here, making up an album that is, possibly, greater than the sum of its parts. It's a novelty record in the end, for sure, but it'll make a decent stocking filler for Christmas. It's more entertaining than socks and slippers for starters.


 


Words: Damian Leslie