mon 21/05/2018

Kiki Dee's soulful Sixties finally heard on CD | reviews, news & interviews

Kiki Dee's soulful Sixties finally heard on CD

Kiki Dee's soulful Sixties finally heard on CD

Kiki Dee's sixties reclaimed by bang-on sixties' comp

Im_Kiki_Dee_Lp_webBradford-born Pauline Matthews signed with Fontana Records in 1963. She was 16. Renamed Kiki Dee, she began an inexplicably hit-free spell at the label which lasted until 1968. Her complete 32-track British Fontana output is collected for the first time on I’m Kiki Dee... Northern soul fans have known for years how good some of this music is – if the single ever turns up, her superb 1968 B-side “On a Magic Carpet Ride” commands sky-high prices. The 1967 single “I’m Going Out (the Same Way I Came In)” is another floor-filler. Slow numbers, like the same year’s “Excuse Me”, equal the power of an emotive Dusty Springfield performance. In fact, Kiki was never far from Dusty as, along with Madeline Bell and Lesley Duncan, she backed her live and on record. Dusty returned the favour, contributing audible backing vocals to Kiki’s 1966 version of “Why Don’t I Run Away From You”. This was prime British soul, and it's little surprise that Kiki signed with Motown in 1969.

But this compilation is about the years that led up to that. Sequenced chronologically, it kicks off with a quartet of Joe Meek-ish single sides that are hardly essential. The theme song to the 1965 film Doctor in Clover is pretty stinky. Thankfully those were blips - the balance is towards the great here. Over 40 years on, it’s time these essential performances were heard again.

Listen to Kiki Dee's "On a Magic Carpet Ride"

  • Find I’m Kiki Dee - The Fontana Years 1963-1968 on Amazon

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For the people who put down Kiki Dee, remember that having a hit is not making music. Kiki has always been more than the sum of her hits. This CD is an important piece of her history and shows why Tamla took such an interest in her. Whilst this looks like the end of her re-issues, many more tracks are still out there to be re-issued, including her foreign releases during the Fontana period and the material released afterwards but not on on her normal labels. Kiki is a musician's musician and not a top ten wonder, check out the the various endorsements by the likes of Scott Walker during the 60s and David Bowie during the 70s. Kiki does 'have the music in me'.

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