The Neasden Queen Of Soul first broke through thirty years ago with the 1982 hit ‘Just What I Always Wanted’. Now entering her fourth decade as a recording artist Mari is reconciled with her past and excited about the future.
Teaming up with string-arranger, orchestrator, composer and pianist Simon Hale, Mari has recorded some of her favourite songs "I’ve never made an album of covers before and thought it was about time, especially as I perform some of these songs in my show and have often been asked if they are available on CD".
The album is a surprising and diverse mix of both classics and contemporary songs, from the likes of the Bee Gees and The Pretenders to Gillian Welch - they’ll all be given the Mari Wilson treatment - and finally, having played Dusty Springfield in Dusty The Musical, at last a Dusty song,
Recorded in Hale’s Oxfordshire studio and mixed by Haydn Bendall, Mari relished taking a production role in the record: "I co-produced this album with Simon, together with some wonderful musicians I’ve worked with over the years. We’ve tried to give the album a cinematic and melancholy atmosphere."
The musicians are Simon Hale piano, John Parricelli - guitars, Geoff Gascoyne - bass, Keith Fairbairn - percussion and Ben Hale - flugelhorn.
The end result is a more chilled affair and in many ways more of a concept album than Mari’s previous releases. Her lightness of touch, notably on ‘They Don’t Know’ originally by her friend Kirsty McColl, is to be applauded and when Big Audio Dynamite’s Mick Jones and Don Letts heard that Mari was recording a version of ‘Everybody Needs A Holiday’ they said "Really glad it's gonna get a second time out with a new feel by a great singer...."
In order to fund the recording and promotion of the album Mari has teamed up with PledgeMusic. Fans wanting to relive the glamorous days of the beehive have been able to purchase exclusive items such as a 1983 Royal Variety Performance programme, Mari’ silver lurex stage dress (an original 1960's dress which belonged to a friend's mum and which Mari wore for her first beehive gig back in '81), a Liberty of London-print dress (made for Mari by Liberty for a TV appearance), handwritten lyric sheets and posters including a large Dusty The Musical and various tour posters.
"I realised I had an attic full of memorabilia that was valuable. Obviously many of the items have great emotional connections for me, but the making of this album and my work as an artist now was more important than keeping hold of things from my past."
The tracklisting is:
1. Don’t Get Me Wrong (Chrissie Hynde)
2. Disney Girls (Bruce Johnstone)
3. Be My Baby (Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich)
4. Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying (Gerry Marsden)
5. I Only Want to Be With You (Mike Hawker/Ivor Raymonde)
6. First Of May (Bee Gees)
7. Own Side (Caitlin Rose)
8. Right About Now (Ron Sexmith)
9. Dear Someone (Gillian Welch)
10. They Don’t Know (Kirsty McColl)
11. Everybody Needs A Holiday (Mick Jones, Don Letts)