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The Minor Fall, the Major Lift (The best of Claire Hamill)

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Album Review

Teenage songstress Claire Hamill was all of 16 when she was signed to Island Records and taken into the studio by label head Chris Blackwell to record her debut album, 1972's One House Left Standing. A lovely, gentle set, reflective of the times and the singer/songwriter climes, it garnered enough attention for a follow-up, October. It was a grand start for Hamill's long career, still going strong after all these years. The Minor Fall, The Major Lift pays tribute to the legendary artist with a sumptuous two-CD compilation that encompasses her entire career and draws selections from each of her nine albums. In 1974, the fast-maturing artist moved from Island to Ray Davies' KONK label, with the Kinks mainstay overseeing her Stage Door Johnnies set. An American tour followed, with Hamill returning with her own band and a demand to self-produce her next album. Davies agreed, and Abracadabra resulted, a special set only somewhat marred by her lack of experience on the other side of the board. Punk's rise was Hamill's downfall, or at least the end of her solo career — for a time. It wasn't until the '80s that Hamill resuscitated her solo career, reopening her account with the synth-heavy and dance-friendly Touch Paper. However, it was 1987's Voices that finally garnered Hamill the acclaim she'd so long deserved, as she dove headfirst into the new world music genre. Years passed before Hamill delivered her next set, returning to her roots for the pastoral glories of Love in the Afternoon. Invariably, a more synth-oriented set followed, Summer, with the compilation drawing to a close with a quartet of numbers taken from her last album, the lush The Lost & the Lovers. By that time, American singer Eva Cassidy had already taken Hamill's "You Take My Breath Away" into the charts, reactivating interest in the British singer. Over the years, Hamill has shifted styles on many occasions, but what hasn't changed is the beauty of her songwriting or her exquisite crystal-clear vocals. A legend finally getting her due, and the perfect introduction for a new generation of fans to come.


Born: 04 August 1954 in Port Clarence, Middlesbrough, Yor

Genre: New Age

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Claire Hamill released her first album in 1971, called One House Left Standing. Her next album was entitled October, and was released two years later. The following year, Hamill released Stage Door Johnnies. Abracadabra came out in 1975. When her career started to lag due to punk rock fever in the music business, she joined up with Wishbone Ash, recording two albums with them. She left that group in 1981, returning to her solo career. The first fruit of that labor was Touch Paper, which came...
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The Minor Fall, the Major Lift (The best of Claire Hamill), Claire Hamill
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