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Michael Hannah: The Lost Years

Twinkle

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Album Review

The songs on Michael Hannah, the Lost Years marked Twinkle's comeback after close to a decade in the commercial dumper, but themselves spent so long in obscurity that many fans doubted they even existed — a pervasive myth by a remarkable legend. Thirty years on from the 1974 recording, however, one of the team involved in engineering that comeback, David Evans, rediscovered the tapes and painstakingly coaxed them back into life, baking the oxide into place and then hurriedly transferring them to a less degradable medium. And the results are worth every minute he spent at the stove.

Produced by Mike d'Abo, with Del Newman, Duncan Browne, Jack Lancaster, and Madeline Bell lining up among the supporting case, the ten songs here marked Twinkle's first recordings since her brief dalliance with Immediate Records in 1969. As such, one might expect them to show at least a little hesitancy, rust, or awkwardness. In fact, The Lost Years proves she had lost none of the talents that brought her to fame in the mid-'60s.

Traveling a path that matched unspeakably buoyant pop with deliciously thoughtful melody, Twinkle's voice remains one of the most alluring instruments in modern rock, while her songwriting has lost none of the charm or strength that so influenced Morrissey and Kirsty MacColl (to name but two of her debtors). From the swing-tinged "Ladyfriend" to the perky "Bowden House," from the wistful "Zefferelli" to the haunted "Soldier" ("24 Hours From Tulsa" meets "Terry"), any one of the songs here could have catapulted Twinkle back where she belonged.

The spellbinding highlight, however, has to be "Michael Hannah" itself, Twinkle's so affecting tribute to her manager of the time. It was he who pushed her back into the studio in the first place, but his death in a 1974 air disaster pulled the rug out from any hope the album had of release. The 32-page booklet accompanying the CD tells both his story and that of the album, and the entire package stacks up as truly fascinating (not to mention unutterably heartfelt) — a time capsule whose time has finally come.

Biography

Born: 15 July 1948 in Surbiton, Surrey, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s

A British one-hit wonder of the mid-'60s that never crossed over to the U.S., Twinkle made number four in the U.K. at the end of 1964 with her self-penned debut "Terry," a maudlin disc about the death of a (fictional) biker boyfriend. "Leader of the Pack" it wasn't, yet the record caused a furor, accusations of bad taste leading to its ban from the BBC (and, most likely, aiding its rapid rise to popularity). Only 16 at the time, Twinkle owed her rapid entry into the studio to a then-boyfriend...
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Michael Hannah: The Lost Years, Twinkle
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