Album Review: Caroline O’Connor – What I Did For Love

“Like a clown whose tears cause laughter…”

Caroline O’Connor is an Oldham-born triple-threat – singer, dancer, actress – though she has spent much of her life in Australia and so carries dual nationality these days (she’ll always be a Lancashire lass to me!) She was recently in London with her one-woman show The Showgirl Within but it is her 1998 album What I Did For Love that was pressed into my hand by a friend who recommended I give it a spin.

Exercising her full voice on standards like ‘All That Jazz’, ‘America’ and ‘Don’t Rain On My Parade’, her throaty chuckle permeates these songs and gives a real sense of her character and I also enjoyed her ‘There Are Worse Things I Could Do’. But mixed in with these well-known songs are things I’d never heard before which always come as a nice surprise when they are as good as the sweetly sung ‘The Night It Had To End’ from Romance, Romance and Side Show’s ‘Who Will Love Me As I Am’.

‘What I Did For Love’ with its late-appearing choir is also good, but the fast-paced runs through songs like ‘I’ve Got The Sun In The Morning’ and ‘Whatever Lola Wants’ stretched my patience a little: there’s a slight relentlessness to proceedings which makes one long for a little more variation, but ultimately I suppose this would work against the showgirl aesthetic being pushed here.

O’Connor’s irrepressible spirit is huge fun to listen to, but for me it works better in small doses and with her tendency towards the brassier showtunes here, this is less a CD to listen to from beginning to end and one where my favourite moments will be whacked into a high energy playlist.

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