Single Of The Week 13/06/97

Single Of The Week is where I review a single I'm particularly enamoured of at the moment. It might be a brand spanking new release, or a classic from decades past that I just feel like going on about.

They Don't Know
Tracey Ullman
K 9277

Tracey Ullman is now so well known as an actress and comedienne that many people forget that her initial field of greatest success was actually as a singer. Before she wowed Americans in The Tracey Ullman Show, and even before she embarrassed herself by appearing in Paul McCartney's infamous movie megaflop Give My Regards To Broad Street, Tracey had already managed to achieve a Top Ten hit in both the US and the UK with her first single, 'They Don't Know', released in 1983.

While I think Tracey is a hugely talented actress and a better singer than 80% of the females currently wielding guitars, I have to admit to some bias here. For, as music fans will know, 'They Don't Know' was composed by the utterly fabulous Kirsty MacColl. It was her first single way back in 1979, and was an unaccountable flop. But Tracey was signed to the same label (Stiff), and Kirsty appears singing backing vocals on the record. Kirsty's original is a little less shrill, but this is still a fine recording.

The B-side, imaginatively entitled 'The B Side', gives an early indication that Tracey still preferred acting, as she takes on a variety of characterisations and discusses B-sides generally. While the A-side has been endlessly anthologised, this track's not available anywhere on CD, as far as I know. Writing all this reminds me that I ought to get on with revising my Kirsty pages (which are now 12 months out of date), so I'll go now.

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