5 years since the release of Dame Shirley’s last studio album ‘The Performance’ comes her new album ‘Hello Like Before’. Fans have waited patiently for this to be issued ever since it was known she was making a new album. As always news leaks out but Sony / RCA were very slow in officially announcing it and then all details appeared on the Amazon website while the record company and the official DSB site remained quiet. At long last it’s now available!
There are three physical album versions to chose from. An 11 track a Standard Edition and a 13 track ‘Deluxe’ Edition. A stocking-filler Vinyl Edition follows later on December 15th, one week after the planned UK TV broadcast of Dame Shirley Bassey’s performance on this year’s Royal Variety.
The ordinary version comes in the normal plastic jewel case and includes a booklet. It contains 3 colour photos and the lyrics to the songs as well as the credits. The deluxe version comes in a card sleeve and as well as including 2 extra tracks, it has an expanded booklet which is attached to the sleeve. The booklet contains more photos (there are a couple of b/w ones which look as though they were taken when she recorded the original version of ‘Goldfinger’ back in 1964). There are the song lyrics and credits and also notes by Dame Shirley on each song. The gold DSB symbol on the front of the deluxe sleeve is embossed.
I have read a few reviews and also spoken to some fans as to what they think of the album. Was it worth the wait? In my opinion a definite yes!
When I first saw the track listing I must admit that I wasn’t over impressed with the choice of songs and moaned at the inclusion of ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Hey Jude’. I wasn’t too keen on the song ‘This Is What You Are’ when I first heard it on the radio but have to admit that it has grown on me.
On the whole I love the album and for a woman of 77 to sound so powerful and emotive is incredible. ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘This Is What You Are’ are my least favourite tracks but I cannot fault Shirley’s singing on them.
I have been a long time fan of Johnny Mathis and in 1957 he was the first artist to record ‘Wild Is The Wind’. I loved it and still do very much. He sings it at a faster pace and although Shirley’s version is excellent it is a little too slow for me and is the one song I was initially disappointed in. I know a lot of you will disagree with me on this one but we do not all have the same tastes. It may grow on me but at the moment I find it a little too dreary.
I also love ‘We Got Music’ and it’s so different to the Dario G version (I love that version as it really cheers me up). I would love to see Shirley sing ‘Fever’ live. It’s great on the CD but I can imagine it going down a storm live. She gives a great performance on ‘Goldfinger’ and there’s no doubt she can still reach those notes.
I was never keen on ‘I’m Still Here’ and ‘Here’s To Life’ when I’ve seen Shirley do them before. No idea why but I was certainly missing something as I love them on this CD. The duet is great also and it comes over that Paloma Faith and Shirley loved recording it.
I have never really liked ‘Englishman In New York’ and so it was one I really wasn’t bothered about listening to. How wrong can you be! It’s brilliant and she certainly does a great job with it. A great addition to the album.
The title track of the album ‘Hello Like Before’ I was looking forward to as I like the Bill Withers version very much. She doesn’t disappoint me at all and I think it’s really beautiful and she’s in great voice.
I have always liked Sinatra’s version of ‘It Was A Very Good Year’ and was looking forward to hearing Shirley’s version. For me it’s one of the highlights of the album.
When I saw the track listing for the album and I saw ‘MacArthur Park’ I was absolutely dreading it. It is a difficult song to sing and not one I ever thought DSB would or indeed could sing. I deliberately skipped listening to this track until the very last. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I went cold with shivers down my back and in the middle section of the song the tears came. Dame Shirley has the knack of being able to do that to me. When the song finished I just said ‘WOW’! That last note of all. I was breathless. Some fans have said it was forced but to me if forced or not there is no doubt in my mind she can still do it. Sheer magic. Without a doubt this is my favourite track on the CD.
As far as I’m concerned it’s a terrific album and it was certainly worth the wait. When is the next one?
Dame Shirley you certainly have not disappointed this fan.