30th Anniversary Reissue of ‘Jewel’ by Marcella Detroit

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Album Review by Phil M.

An extended version of the album ‘Jewel’ has been released to mark the passing of thirty years since it was originally released. Marcella Levy (who adopted her hometown as her stage name) has had a lengthy musical history, working with Eric Clapton in the 70s, co-writing ‘Lay Down Sally’ as well as ‘Promises’ and ‘Wonderful Tonight’ with him and appearing with him at Live Aid in 1985. She has also worked with a huge number of other notable artists, including Alice Cooper, Bob Seger, George Benson, Belinda Carlisle and Chaka Khan.

She formed Shakespeares Sister with ex-Banarama member Siobhan Fahey in the late 80s, hitting a peak with ‘Stay’ (recently covered by Swedish rockers Ghost) which was at number one in the UK charts for eight weeks. After Shakespeares Sister she concentrated on her solo career and working with former Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera and Jools Holland released ‘Jewel’ in 1994, reaching number 15 in the UK album chart, and the single ‘I Believe’ reaching number eleven in the singles chart.

As you’d expect from someone used to working with a broad range of talented musicians, the sound is spot on, and the feel is very much that of the 90s. The title track has a mellow beat and Detroit immediately shows her great vocal range and there is nice dual guitar work in the closing section of the track.

‘I Believe’ is recognizable to most people with an interesting keyboard sound and nice bass work underpinning the track and a memorable chorus. ‘Perfect World’ was also a single release (although not as successful) having an electronic style beat and a chorus that doesn’t stick with you like ‘I Believe’ does.

‘Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing’ is a cover of the original by Marvin Gaye and Tami Terrell is given the duet treatment with Elton John and was included in his ‘Duets’ album but doesn’t stir like the original, though it did moderately well in the charts.

As you’d expect with a reissue there is a plethora of additional material included in the CD release including acoustic versions, a live take of ‘Stay’ recorded at the Jazz Café the same year this album came out as well as many alternate mixes of her songs.

While pleasant to listen to I would suspect that only dedicated fans are going to want to shell out for those acoustic recordings and remixes that this reissue includes.

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