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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

BODACIOUS BASSEY (article first published : 2000-11-13)

A few years ago I saw Shirley Bassey perform at the Village Green in Durban and I was amazed at how effortlessly the sixty-something singer belted out hit song after hit song for two hours without stopping for a breather. She transformed an otherwise tacky venue into a glittering Las Vegas for 120 minutes and received standing ovations after every song.

I remember being struck by the diverse age group of the audience, with grannies and teens enthralled by The Voice. It came as no surprise that her career has spanned 50 glorious years and if you think she is ready to take a final bow, think again.

EnterThe Remix Album…Diamonds are Forever (EMI), a collaborative effort that sees some of the world’s top DJ’s and mixers fusing nine of Dame Bassey’s standards with the grooviest contemporary sounds they can muster. The result is a non-stop tribute to this living legend that will liven up dance clubs, karaoke bars and living rooms around the world. From the awayTeam’s opening mix of Where Do I Begin to the final If You Go Away with DJ SkyMoo, this album is a breathtaking roller-coaster through the phenomena that is Shirley Bassey.

Tracks to put on repeat are Goldfinger with Propellerheads (the group that pushed Bassey into the charts in 1998 with History Repeating), the scorching Diamonds Are Forever mixed by Mantronik, the unusual remix of Big Spender by Wild Oscar and DJ Spinna’s cheeky version of Spinning Wheel.

My only criticism of this album is that Bassey’s voice is sometimes drowned in a sea of sound, and that two versions of Light My Fire seems a bit like overkill. But what the hell, can there ever be too much of the singer who put ‘amour’ in glamour?

Exotic. exciting and an aural treat that is bound to introduce one of the 20th century’s leading ladies to a new generation, this album deserves all the airplay it can get – Clinton Marius.




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