Album Review: Shona White – I’ll Bring You A Song (2011)

“It is nothing to do with the wine
Or the music that’s flooding my mind”

Shona White is a rather under-rated (for my money at least) Scottish actress and singer perhaps most famous for stints in Mamma Mia which were 12 years apart, but whose musical theatre credits stretch far and wide. Her 2011 album I’ll Bring You A Song, produced by Richard Beadle reflects the breadth of her career and it is this variety which is both its strength and its slight weakness.

I have to admit to finding it hard to get too excited about tracks like ‘To Sir With Love’ and Tell Me On A Sunday’s ‘Take That Look Off Your Face’. They’re sung perfectly competently but familiarity breeds a certain measure of contempt. Where this type of song choice succeeds is where the interpretation dares to be different, the sharp emotion of Chess‘ ‘Nobody’s Side’ a case in point here, so too the slowed down take on ‘As Long As You’re Mine’ from Wicked with the ever-melodious Daniel Boys.

Generally much more interesting are the trips into slightly obscure musical theatre – ‘Easy To Say’ from Christopher Hamilton’s Over The Threshold builds marvellously into leading lady territory and on a similar theme, ‘Easier’ from Dougal Irvine’s In Touch is delicately powerful. Throw in the sultry ‘How ‘Bout A Dance’ from Bonnie & Clyde and you wonder why White bothers with the mainstream when there’s gems like these to be unearthed.

The title track (an original song?) sparkles with a pop-rock edge and a supremely confident vocal, and it is perfectly balanced by the gentle folkiness of ‘Ae Fond Kiss’, proving White can do subtlety too. And for myself, my favourite track is the cover of the immortal Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten’, its drama as theatrical as any of the showtunes on here.

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