Eleanor McEvoy,
Love Must be Tough
(independent, 2008)

Eleanor McEvoy is a singer who defies being put into a category. This seems to be a deliberate policy of a singer who changes direction with every album and manages to win new fans while retaining those who were hooked by her earlier efforts.

For many people, she is connected forever to the iconic 1990s album A Woman's Heart, and in particular that title track that came from her pen and her voice -- before being recorded by just about every female folkie in the world at some stage. The irony is that her most famous song is probably her lease typical.

On this new CD she gathers the cream of contemporary writing and mixes them in with some of her own compositions. The odd thing is that the songs by Jagger & Richards, Nick Lowe and Rodney Crowell, among others, are tracks usually sung by men about women. McEvoy takes them on board, rattles them round and delivers a new take on the old as only she can do.

"Mother's Little Helper" opens the album and sets the scene with her unique interpretation, making it a totally new song. The title song is co-written by Eleanor with Johnny Rivers in, of all places, Killarney and sung with a very distinctive Ireland southeast accent that somehow adds to the reality of the lyrics.

The only track on offer not originally by a man or from the pen of McEvoy is a 1995 song, "Hands Off Him," and it sits very well into the set with a great beat and delivery. My favourite song here is a wonderful "Lubbock Woman." This is hit material if it gets the airplay.

The songs on offer are very well delivered by an accomplished singer and bear very close listening for the black and bleak humour in some and the unique feeling of hearing a woman sing a "man's songs."

Who knows what direction Eleanor McEvoy will take next, but based on this and earlier albums I am sure it will open our ears and minds to something new and wonderful.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

8 November 2008

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