Kirsty MacColl - First 4 Albums

dogfacedboy's picture
What's it called?: 
Desperate Character \ Kite \ Electric Landlady \ Titanic Days
What does it sound like?: 
Over ten years after her tragic death, Kirsty's catalogue is getting an overhaul with added extras to tempt the faithful. Her first album 'Desperate Character' is appearing for the first time on CD. Its a little unsure of itself with a few covers but the promise is there. 'Kite' is where she found her voice - its a wonderful record full of the wit, anger and tenderness that attracts me to her music. 'Fifteen Minutes' and 'Free World' are social commentary without being preachy. Her collaborators Steve Lillywhite and Johnny Marr perfectly compliment her awesome melodies and harmonies. 'Electric Landlady is coloured by its times with the single 'Walking Down Madison' dancing very much a late 80's baggy dance beat. 'Titanic Days' is her most overlooked and (as is always the way) most interesting album with 'Soho Square' 'Bad' and the title track achingly honest. Beautifully packaged with extensive notes - the perfect way to explore her and get past the non "hits".
What does it all *mean*?: 
It's tragic that she produced just one more album after these reissues. Kirsty's songs only met with public taste in the mouths of others. Pale imitations fade - Kirsty's talent only shines brighter by the year
Goes well with …: 
Sucking a thoughtful tooth, a laugh, a dance, a drink, some chips, a sinking ship, you and me baby, walking down Madison. songs you'll remember all your life and with a hand on your arse in a Spanish bar. I wouldn't tell you, if I didn't care
Might suit people who like …: 
Singer-songwriters with biting wit, a heartbreakingly honest unique voice. Each album is different and within is great variety. Like a true artist she was constantly exploring and excited by the new. Not just for Xmas (songs) but for all time


Its lovely to hear that these records are getting the treatment they deserve. I've loved Kite and Electric Landlady for years-for some reason I passed on Titanic Days at the time-will rectify that now.

If I could bring one artist back it would be Kirsty-I saw her at Warrington Parr Hall in about 95/96-she had not toured for long time (stage fright was a problem I believe) and I literally fell in love with her-as I am likely to do wih anyone who encores with Thre's A Guy Works Down The Chipshop Swears He's Elvis and a cover of The Ramones I Wanna Be Sedated.

Read DogFaceBoy's review and go and buy (Kite in particular) you will love her forever

I shall add no more than a further whole hearted recommendation for Kite esepcially, but all the above in general.
She played at Wollaton Park (Nottingham) once, sometime early 90s I'd suspect, and she was fantastic. So glad I saw it, even if my memory is almost blank of the gig itself.
A great talent and a massive tragedy.

Like Terry, He's On The Beach or A New England included?

They don't appear to be no.doesnt appear to be much in the form of extras on the debut -but it is only four quid.

Are on Galore, which was a best of.

... that includes all 3 of those tracks, Amazon link here (other sellers are available.)

Bearing in mind how universally loved she is/was, it's scary how little commercial success she had (outside the Pogues of course); just 4 hit singles, 2 of which were covers, and only one in the top 10...

which includes the country version of Chip Shop and 16 other Stiff tracks.
Only one copy advertised, and as Kirsty might have said, "at this price?".

Grab it now.

they couldn't get the rights to the Stiff material or felt that the first album should stand alone in its first release

A new "best of" is due in time for Christmas and the Shepherds Bush tribute gig from 10/10/10 is due next year

I must add that I personally dislike that room has been taken up with multiple remixes of "Walking Down Madison" and "Angel" as I find these things dull. Titanic Days was released in a 2CD edition by Salvo in 2005 and featured demos including one of her finest songs 'Dear John' and a couple of live tracks. Its a shame these weren't used for the new editions.

"Fabulous Garden" - 3:15
"King Kong" - 3:57
"Dear John" - 2:43
"Miss Otis Regrets" (Recorded live at the Belly Up Club, Solana Beach, San Diego 1 Dec 93) - 3:03
"Free World" (Recorded live at the Belly Up Club, Solana Beach, San Diego 1 Dec 93) - 2:45
"Touch Me" - 3:36
"Irish Cousin" - 4:48

However the mastering of the albums has been sensitively done and they've never sounded better
"Kite" is the place to start if you wann dip your toe and if you like that then dive in. These releases are ridiculously cheap. I got all 4 through Ebay for £20. Must add that they are not due for release til this time next month

The 2nd CDs for each edition are

Electric Landlady

1. One Good Thing
2. The Hardest Word (alt. take 3) (previously unreleased)
3. Walking Down Madison (6am Ambient Mix)
4. Walking Down Madison (Extended Urban Mix)
5. Walking Down Madison (LP Extended Mix)
6. Darling, Let's Have Another Baby (featuring Billy Bragg)
7. All The Tears That I Cried
8. My Affair (Ladbroke Groove Mix)
9. My Affair (Bass Sexy Mix)
10. My Affair (Olive Groove Mix)
11. Don't Go Near The Water
12. All I Ever Wanted (re-recorded single version)
13. There's A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis (BBC track live)
14. Walk Right Back (BBC track - live)
15. Darling, Let s Have Another Baby (BBC track - live)
16. A New England (BBC track - live duet with Billy Bragg)


1. Closer To God?
2. The End Of A Perfect Day (original demo version)
3. You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby
4. La Fôret De Mimosas
5. Happy
6. El Paso
7. Still Life
8. Please Help Me, I'm Falling
9. Innocence (single remix)
10. Clubland
11. Don't Run Away From Me Now
12. Innocence (Guilt mix)
13. No Victims (Guitar Heroes mix)
14. Other People's Hearts
15. Complainte pour Ste Catherine
16. Am I Right?
17. You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby (She's having A Baby soundtrack version)

Titanic Days

Angel (Piano mix)
2. Angel (Single Mix)
3. Angel (Apollo 440 Remix)
4. Angel (Stuart Crichton Remix)
5. Angel (Into the Light Mix)
6. Angel ( Mysterious Mix) (previously unreleased)
7. Tread Lightly (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
8. Caroline (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
9. They Don t Know (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
10. Innocence (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
11. Free World (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
12. Miss Otis Regrets (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
13. My Affair (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
14. Don t Come The Cowboy With Me, Sonny Jim! (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
15. Walking Down Madison (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
16. A New England (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)
17. I Wanna Be Sedated (Live at the Fleadh Festival, 1995)

Is one of the all time great song titles.

And the song matches it was seeing her sing that song on an episode of French and Saunders that launched my love affair wih Kirsty. I commend this song to the masses

Electric Landlady not so much because of the sound - hubby Steve stuffed it up I reckon

... can I mention Tropical Brainstorm? I know it's not among her first four but it is a terrific album and if you don't own it and you're just a teensy, weensy bit of a fan of Kirsty, then you should buy it. You will love it, I guarantee it.

why Tropical Brainstorm isn't part of the reissues. Some rights issue or other. Its a fabulous album with Head, England 2 Columbia 0, Here Comes That Man Again, Mambo De La Luna, Us Amazonian and In These Shoes? absolutely top drawer stuff. She was so on top of her game and happy and then....oh, it breaks your heart, doesn't it?

It really does.


God bless that girl.

DFB, you included a demo version of 'Sun On The Water' on a mingle CD some while ago.

I've played that song over and over. It's a joy. Sweet crystal voice on a beautiful song. Kirsty MacColl is much missed in this quarter. I shall be investing in these reissues.

magnificent album, the only one of hers that disappointed me was Electric Landlady. I was fortunate to see her at the Palladium a few months before she died; she seemed so happy and sure of herself. Her death was a tragedy but she left us with a fine body of work.

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