Monday, November 26, 2018

Kirsty MacColl - Desperate Character (1981)

I'm a big, big fan of Kirsty MacColl's music. Some women get famous because they're beautiful. Some get famous because they have remarkable voices. Some get famous because they're excellent songwriters. But MacColl was a rare case of a woman was all three of those things. I especially appreciate her songwriting talent. Her murder in 2000 was a particularly great loss, because her last album was her best one in my opinion, and she was just starting down an exciting path of mixing her English pop with Latin music.

"Desperate Character" is MacColl's first album, from 1981. I normally don't post official studio albums, but I'm doing so here for two reasons. One, the album remains unfairly obscure and out of print. And two, I've added four songs at the start which are from two singles she put out in 1979. This makes a big difference, because all four songs are very good, and the first one, "They Don't Know," is an all-time classic (and a good example of her songwriting ability).

Unfortunately, MacColl was half-hearted about her solo career for about the first ten years of it, rarely playing concerts and doing little promotion otherwise. She was shy, and spent more of her time singing backing vocals on dozens of famous records instead. So she helped Tracey Ullman have a top ten hit with "They Don't Know" in 1983. She even re-sang the "Baby!" yell near the end of the song when the music stops for a couple of seconds, because Ullman couldn't sing that high.

I'm also posting this here because it was MacColl's only album until 1989. Once I post the next couple of stray tracks albums, you'll have all of her music prior to 1989, which has never been properly collected in one place.

This album is 42 minutes long.

01 They Don't Know (Kirsty MacColl)
02 Turn My Motor On (Kirsty MacColl)
03 You Caught Me Out (Kirsty MacColl)
04 Boys (Kirsty MacColl)
05 Clock Goes Round (Kirsty MacColl)
06 See That Girl (Kirsty MacColl)
07 There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He's Elvis (Kirsty MacColl)
08 Teenager in Love (Kirsty MacColl)
09 Mexican Sofa (Kirsty MacColl)
10 Until the Night (Kirsty MacColl)
11 Falling for Faces (Kirsty MacColl)
12 Just One Look (Kirsty MacColl)
13 The Real Ripper (Kirsty MacColl)
14 Hard to Believe (Kirsty MacColl)
15 He Thinks I Still Care (Kirsty MacColl)

The cover art is just the official album cover.


  1. The 2012 CD edition of this album contains a bonus track - There's A Guy Works Down the Chip Shop (country version) - maybe you can add it?

  2. Oops, forget my comment - I just noticed it's on your next Kirsty collection. Thanks.

  3. Thanks for sharing so much of Kirsty MacColl's music. Are you a fan of the Scottish singer Eddi Reader? I noticed that her former bandmate in Fairground Attraction, Mark Nevin, worked on several of Kirsty's solo albums.

    Eddi might be a good topic for an Album That Should Exist! I love her contributions to the 1 Giant Leap album, and her song with Little Tempo called "Dub Is Beautiful".