Slipcue.Com Celtic & UK Folk Guide

Singer Kirsty MacColl (1959-2000), the daughter of British folk legend Ewan MacColl started off singing trad and topical folk songs with her parents, but emerged as a pop-indie singer in the 1980s, with a distinctive, keeningly airy voice that captured many fans. Sadly, Ms. MacColl was killed in a boating accident in the year 2000, cutting short a promising career. Here's a quick look at her work...


Kirsty MacColl "Desperate Character" (Stiff, 1981)

Kirsty MacColl "Kite" (Virgin, 1989)
(Produced by Steve Lillywhite)

Ewan's daughter Kirsty got her start in music singing backup on his Thatcher-era protest albums; during the early punk scene she emerged as a new-waver on the fabled Stiff label. I'm partial to this later pop outing; sort of a guilty pleasure, I suppose, but it still has several lovely tunes (particularly her haunting version of "Days" (an old Kinks song) and "What Do Pretty Girls Do?" an incisive piece of social commentary which recalls her bolshie family background...) Besides, I just love the natural-sounding timbre of her voice, which never came through better than on this disc. And yay! for ex-Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, who provides beautiful accompaniment throughout.

Kirsty MacColl "Electric Landlady" (EMI, 1991)

Kirsty MacColl "Titanic Days" (ZTT, 1993)

Kirsty MacColl "Tropical Brainstorm" (V2/Instinct, 2001)
An odd, ambitious and wholly original album, with MacColl exploring her passion for Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian music. On a couple of songs she sings in Spanish, but even more fascinating is her ability to write whimsical, witty English-language lyrics that fit naturally into the dense polyrhythms of the style. Willfully dorky in some regards, uncannily skillful in others. Some of the latin music is taken from samples, though on several songs there are also live musicians. An interesting record which, sadly, was her last -- right after its release MacColl died in a freak boating accident, which really was a tragic loss for us all.


Kirsty MacColl "Galore: The Best Of Kirsty MacColl" (EMI, 1995)

Kirsty MacColl "The Stiff Years" (Stiff, 2005)

Kirsty MacColl "The Best Of Kirsty MacColl" (EMI, 2005)

Kirsty MacColl "From Croydon To Cuba: An Anthology" (EMI, 2005)
A 3-CD set, covering her entire career.

Kirsty MacColl "The Collection" (EMI, 2008)


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