Shirley Bassey,
Diamonds Are Forever:
The Concert Collection

(Artful, 2005)

Shirley Bassey was always equated schmaltz to me, a true showbiz diva and James Bond theme song interpreter-extraordinaire. Listening to this CD you can imagine being in Las Vegas, Broadway or the London Palladium with Dame Shirley glitzed to the eyeballs in furs and diamonds, a gigantic orchestra and 20 male dancers boogeying behind her.

Shirley has endured time, which is more than you can say for alot of others in the 1960s. (Whatever happened to Julie Driscoll or Helen Shapiro, who showed so much promise in that era?) And this CD is a lot more versatile than I expected. Not only do we get our James Bond classics such as "Goldfinger," but a dash of Ira Gershwin ("S' Wonderful"), Otis Redding ("Try a Little Tenderness") and, surprisingly, a rock guitar sound into "Eleanor Rigby" done vocally in a rockier style, with "Hey Jude" following in a gospel arrangement. Shirley is taking risks -- oh my god!

Ending with the definitive "I Am What I Am" from La Cage Au Folles is every drag queen's dream, but then we are not talking about an ordinary crooner here. Shirley Bassey is one of the true icons of our time. This CD collection is recommended, but only for people who go for "belt it out" renditions of their favourite tunes.

by Risa Duff
15 April 2006

Buy it from