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Album Review

Having been propelled to fame by a now long-forgotten TV reality show, The Cruise, Jane McDonald was in danger of being swallowed up by a plethora of new young singers, fresh out of talent shows. She had always been slightly different than these bright new young things, however, as her style was more akin to a cabaret lounge, or indeed a cruise ship, than a polished TV studio. And her choice of songs had always been paramount — as definitely shown to be the case on her seventh album, Jane, released in the autumn of 2008. There was a maturity that had been lacking on several of her previous albums and indeed, McDonald's voice had improved from her early days in the recording studio at the beginning of the century. Five of the 14 songs were not even cover versions, but co-written by McDonald and Lisa Harman. The album opened with a very faithful reproduction of the Sunny Leslie hit from 1974, "Doctor's Orders," even including the phone call in the middle of the song, and continued with two slow piano-led jazzy ballads, "Time for Love" and "Song for You." What may have seemed a strange choice, the Brazilian samba rhythmic "Mas Que Nada," worked very well, and then the songs varied from uptempo 1960s-style numbers "Nine Times Out of Ten" and "Sweet Talker" to ballads "How Do You Keep the Music Playing" and "Not a Day Goes By." There were a couple of Barry Manilow covers, "Even Now" and "One Voice," and one of the highlights of the album was her version of Neil Sedaka's "The Hungry Years." One of Jane McDonald's better albums.

Customer Reviews

The British Barbra

Jane isn't a big name (yet) in the USA but her voice is incredible: it rings with power yet can melt into gentle softness in one measure. Her voice has all the power and beauty of Barbra Streisand without the stuffiness! I love her upbeat tempo and playful voicing in songs like 'Doctor's Orders' and 'Mas Que Nada.' Many of her songs are sung to those with broken hearts and she carries the banner well. While not a fan of torch songs I have to credit Jane with being able to sing these 'Someone-Done-Someone-Wrong' songs without sounding whiney or sappy. Again that strong voice and crystal clear phrasing shines through. I highly recommend this album and hope that iTunes will carry more of her wonderful songs. You've got to find her renditions of "Blame It On The Bossa Nova," "Behind Closed Doors," and "Where The Boys Are" to hear her at her best.

Biography

Born: April 4, 1963 in Wakefield, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of the U.K.'s first successful reality TV recording artists, cabaret singer Jane McDonald became an overnight sensation after appearing in BBC docu-soap The Cruise. Born in Wakefield in 1963, McDonald started her singing career performing at various workingmen's clubs across the North of England, employing her father as her roadie. After working as an entertainer on several cruise ships, she retired from the business for nine months until a call from her agent persuaded her to take up one final...
Full Bio
Jane, Jane McDonald
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