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Friday, August 15, 2014

50 Words For Kate: #12 - Healing

As if recording The Red Shoes wasn't enough work, Kate Bush also managed to squeeze in two contrasting cover versions for other projects during this period.

The first was another contribution to a tribute album, this time a joint celebration of the composer George Gershwin and the celebrated harmonica player, Larry Adler. The Glory Of Gershwin, featured another stellar line-up, including Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Carly Simon and Sting. The sessions were produced by the legendary Beatles producer, George Martin. Kate chose to perform a true classic, The Man I Love, and again her track was selected to be the first single released to promote the album.

It was refreshing to hear Kate sing a standard. I sometimes think that so much attention is placed on her songwriting and producing, her extraordinary vocal talents are overlooked. Here she proves that she is a world class interpreter of song.

The other track Kate recorded was destined to feature on her friend Davy Spillane's album, A Place Among The Stars. Of all the songs you might expect Kate to cover, Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing is probably not the first track that would spring to mind. Kate gave a suitably sensual performance, again showing the versatility of that voice, while Davy's uilleann pipes add to a completely unique revision of the song.

When Davy's album appeared in stores in August 1994, Kate's track was nowhere to be found. Apparently the record company didn't think the song fitted the album. While you have to admire their artistic integrity, you surely must question their commercial nous. Davy gave Kate the rights to the track and it would be eleven long years before it was officially released.

Although I expect Kate will never do a whole album of cover versions, it is always interesting and surprising when she decides to reimagine songs written by other people. Regardless of the style, age or subject of the original song, they always end up sounding uniquely Kate.

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