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An­nie Len­nox in con­cert on Ra­dio 2

The Daily Telegraph - Review - - Arts -

An­nie Len­nox is one of the blaz­ing stars of the Bri­tish pop fir­ma­ment and this tightly con­trolled yet fiercely emo­tional con­cert – recorded live at the Mer­maid Theatre in Lon­don ear­lier this month for broad­cast on Ra­dio 2 this evening – re­minds us why.

Fifty-three-year old Len­nox has rarely been seen on stage since her 1980s hey­day and is far from pro­lific, hav­ing pro­duced only four solo al­bums (in­clud­ing her forth­com­ing Songs of Mass De­struc­tion) and one Eury­th­mics set in the past 17 years.

But never mind the quan­tity, feel the depth and rich­ness of her ma­te­rial. Backed for this gig by a some­times overly re­strained ses­sion band and the BBC con­cert orches­tra, the sound is al­most cin­e­matic. The em­pha­sis falls on Len­nox’s fine, clear voice, shift­ing ef­fort­lessly from bluesy holler to frag­ile falsetto, while two back­ing vo­cal­ists add lay­ers of sur­pris­ing har­mony. Im­pres­sive or­ches­tra­tions re-in­vig­o­rate the elec­tro-blues stomps of clas­sics such as Here Comes the Rain Again and Sweet Dreams, while a fu­ri­ously paced ver­sion of Sis­ters Are Doin’ It for Them­selves, with Len­nox play­ing solo on the pi­ano, is raise-the-roof an­themic.

‘An­nie Len­nox and the BBC Con­cert Orches­tra’ is on BBC Ra­dio 2 from 8pm tonight.

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