Saturday, 3 October 2015

7 inch singles collection: Sally Oldfield - Silver Dagger

It's not Tubular Bells it's,


A-Side: Silver Dagger
B-Side: Sometimes I'm A Woman
(CBS 1987)      

I discussed the reasons for buying records before, especially for those records that were bought unheard. The reason for this purchase was simply because Sally Oldfield is Mike Oldfield's sister. Now, I know full well that just because one person creates something you enjoy, it doesn't mean that their sibling will produce something good or even something in the same oeuvre*. Nevertheless when you're in a record shop and there's a number of cheap bargain bin singles all screaming "BUY ME!" at you, then some arbitrary decisions have to be made. This purchase was the result of one such decision. No video link for this one as all the links on YouTube have been removed for copyright reasons - there does seem to be one on a German site, but I'll let you hunt that down yourselves.

I thought that this was going to fall into the singer/songwriter territory that we found ourselves in for the previous blog entry, so I was surprised when Silver Dagger turned out to be much more of pop sound. Although the kind of pop that is aimed at grown-ups, so it's all twinkly synths, and a glossy overproduction. It's that production that lets the side down here - because structurally Silver Dagger sounds like a traditional folk song, and Sally Oldfield has the kind of warbly voice that sits well with folk - like Maddy Prior or June Tabor. The lyrics are dark and about jealousy and infidelity and a "Gypsy's Curse", if the arrangement had been fiddles and mandolins instead of synthesizers this may have worked more to the songs advantage.

The opposite problem is true on the flipside - there's not enough production. Sometimes I'm A Woman, should be a big diva-esque number the kind that belongs to your Whitneys, Mariahs and Celines - but instead the production is a bit dowdier. It wouldn't particularly be my cup of tea, but it would have a spark. Come back with me to the mid 1980's - it's Saturday evening and you're watching The Two Ronnie. It's come to the part where Ronnie Corbett leans forward in his chair and says "Now it's our very special guest, Barbara Dickson..." This song is just like one of those songs that's she would have sung, only slightly browner. For those of you wondering about the title of this song, Sometimes I'm A Woman, the lyrics make it clear that when she's not a woman she's a child - a fairly dull answer which matches the rest of the song. I wish she'd sung that "sometimes I'm a woman, but sometimes I'm a dinosaur"- it would have given the song a bit of a lift.

Two songs then that are neither here nor there, sung by a singer that can't decide between folk singer or diva and so settles, unsatisfying somewhere between the two.

*Yes I do have an album by Chris Jagger, why do you ask?

Next time were California bound...

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