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Eddi ReaderEddi Reader
Album: The Best Of
Label: Reveal
Tracks: 30
Website: http:///

If you are unaware of the wonderful Eddi Reader, then this CD is probably as good a place to start to learn about her musical talent as any other. The new album, rather unimaginatively entitled "The Best Of" charts her musical journey from 1988 to today.

Eddie grew up in Glasgow and has been described by Jools Holland as "one of my favourite singers of all time." Praise indeed. Starting out her career as a busker, she sang harmonies and toured with Annie Lennox in The Eurythmics before becoming part of the still fondly remembered Fairground Attraction. She released her first solo album "Mirmama" in 1992. Despite this lengthy career, it could be argued that she has never received the accolades nor achieved the popularity that her immense talent richly deserves.

Her music is an eclectic mix of self-penned songs, traditional music and modern folk/pop. I first heard Eddi back in the 90's and was immediately struck by the clarity of her voice with its, at times, almost pure innocence. Her vocal range is immense, more than wide ranging enough to challenge Minnie Ripperton in that respect.

Many of the songs on this compilation have been co-written with long term songwriting partner Boo Hewerdine, all sung by Eddi with her very unique vocal approach and sound.

Two songs in particular are rather unexpected but beautiful none the less. Henry Mancini's "Moon River" closes the album with a delightfully orchestrated version of this classic. Immediately before this track is a version of Amy Whitehouse's "Love Is A Losing Game" which suits Eddie's voice perfectly. Silky and emotive! I think Amy would approve of this version.

There are just so many good songs on this fabulous CD that it seems almost churlish to pick out any individual tracks although I suppose that I have already done that above. "Wings On My Heels" is possibly my favourite with its melodic piano and accordion backing. Another Boo Hewerdine song. I was slightly confused by the title as iTunes changed it to "Wongs On My Heels" which I thought might be a new Chinese dish. "Willie Stewart" is a traditional Scottish song which sounds like it has come straight out of a Glasgow pub on a Saturday night. Back to her roots here for Eddi?

Overall this is a fabulous album which traverses all musical genres and ticks all the boxes for lovers of quality music. It is delightfully produced and beautifully sung as it chronicles the musical career of a truly outstanding artist. This is a real winner for me. It is released on the 11th March 2016 and Eddi is also on tour although this ends on the 7th April. You will need to be quick to see her so this outstanding album will probably have to do for most fans.

Rory Stanbridge