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Concert Review by Dave Broom
HMV Oxford Street, London, 6th September 2005

I was early for the next appointment, so decided to kill time by browsing in HMV Oxford Street. Just browsing, mind. (Who are you kidding? Browsing infers no intention of buying. Your version is about resisting temptation and only buying one cd rather than five and then trying to convince yourself that money has been saved because four have been put back. “Just the one” .. It’s the same with drink.)
Anyway, I’m looking for Doctor Dog. It’s hard to tell if there’s anything there because a bloody mixing desk is blocking the end of the ‘D’ section. I twist into a ridiculous shape to try and discern the presence of the Doctor. (You call that browsing?)

K.T. Tunstall
The mixing desk doesn’t register as I wander into the next aisle (Just look. What was on the list? Forget the list.) When I turn around I’m wedged in by a crowd of remarkably clean and glossy young people. Maybe there was a reason for the mixing desk. Right enough, there’s a stage, a mic and a big screen saying “K.T. Tunstall here at 1pm” Might as well hang on. Don’t mind K.T. Scottish you know. She’ll also stop any “just the one” happening.
The last in-store performance I witnessed was Elliot Smith (the heroin-addicted singer-songwriter) at Amoeba Records in Haight Street, the best record store in the world (.. well .. up there with Aquarius .. oh and Louisville’s ear-X-tasy.. and NYCs Other Music. You’re making another list. Stop it. How many voices are in here?) Anyway he was fantastic. Chatty and happy even if his songs were of despair and heartbreak. I found myself crushed against the C section looking into the eyes of Gene Clark (the alcoholic singer songwriter) It seemed too much of a coincidence. Just the one..

So I wait for the same thing to happen ..

Electric Prunes
Electronic Embrace
another minute then I must go ..

East of Eden
Earth Eels!

.. she must be on soon ..

Froufrou Fruit Bats
Free freak kitchen

If you’re still here you must really like her.
4th Finger..
Fountains of Wayne!

and she’s on.

K.T. Tunstall
She has a voice. A very very good voice, a natural blues voice rather than the swallowing technique which makes the singer sound like she’s singing in Martian in a empty metal septic tank. Think Anastacia.
She has songs. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree is a cracker. She’s from a folk tradition, a blues tradition which drifts into soul. She does Other Side of the World, Another Place to Fall (a bit Macy Gray, which is no bad thing) and Black Horse, stomping on pedals to create loops of claps, backing vocals, sounds, layering the sound. I clap.
K.T. Tunstall       That said, I have a problem with her album. It’s overproduced, her solo-penned numbers are stronger than the ones with joint credits. (though the little electronic bleeps and grinds on Universe & U takes her towards Beth Gibbons territory). You get the feeling her personality is drowning as the buttons of style are pressed (bit of nu-soul? tick; hint of country? tick; straight pop? tick). She’s on the verge of being airbrushed into acceptability : oor wee KT from Skye.

Here, on her own, in the aisles she’s better, more raw. This is has happened before. In the 60s and early 70s, Glasgow produced two great r&b singers. One was Maggie Bell who formed Stone The Crows and then .. well .. disappeared, potential unfulfilled. The other was Lulu who ended up a national pop treasure. I want KT to be Maggie Bell. Jerry wexler could do wonders with that voice. Reckon her management want her to be Lulu.
I’m still in the F’s. I’m looking at Lepidoptera by Fursaxa. Moths and butterflies. Night and day. Seems to make sense. I buy it. Just the one... - Dave Broom

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