Kirsty MacColl : See That Girl 1979-2000 8CD Box Set Box Set, 8CD Review

Unboxing the Kirsty MacColl Deluxe Set: A Journey Through Her Musical Legacy

This 8 CD box set is not just a compilation of songs; it’s a comprehensive journey through the musical and personal life of Kirsty MacColl, spanning from 1979 to 2000.

A Treasure Trove of Music and Memories
“See That Girl” is a collector’s dream, featuring 161 tracks, with over 40 previously unreleased recordings. This includes the complete 1983 album “Real,” alongside a plethora of B-sides, demos, extended versions, BBC sessions, and collaborations. The set also features live performances from Glastonbury and the Jazz Cafe in London, capturing the essence of MacColl’s dynamic stage presence.

More Than Just CDs: A Hardback Book of Kirsty’s World
What sets this box set apart is the inclusion of a 60-page hardback book. This isn’t just a collection of photos and lyrics; it’s a deep dive into Kirsty’s life, her entry into music, and the evolution of her career. The book is filled with stories, memorabilia, and detailed track information, offering fans a chance to understand not just the music, but the artist behind it.

A Design That Celebrates the Artist
The design of the box set follows a familiar yet effective format, similar to what we’ve seen in collections from Hawkwind, Thin Lizzy, and Humble Pie. The CDs are neatly tucked into fold-out panels, but the standout feature is the hardback book, which elevates the entire set, giving it a deluxe feel that truly honors Kirsty’s legacy.

A Deep Dive into the Tracks
The first disc is a compilation of singles, setting the stage for the journey through Kirsty’s career. As we move through the discs, we encounter a detailed chronology of her work, complete with information about the musicians involved in each track. It’s a comprehensive look at her evolving sound and style, from the jangly guitars of her early work to the rich, folk-infused vocals that defined her later years.

Live Performances That Bring You Onstage
The live recordings in this set are a standout feature. Unlike some box sets where live tracks can feel distant, these recordings are so vivid and well-produced that they transport you right to the heart of the performance. Whether it’s the energetic atmosphere of Glastonbury or the intimate setting of the Jazz Cafe, you’re right there with Kirsty, experiencing her music as if you were on stage.

The Connections and Collaborations
One of the most intriguing aspects of this set is the exploration of Kirsty’s collaborations, particularly with Billy Bragg. Their mutual influence and shared approach to songwriting add a fascinating layer to the collection. The collaboration disc is a highlight, showcasing Kirsty’s versatility and her ability to blend her voice with a variety of artists and styles.

A Fitting Tribute to a Beloved Artist
Kirsty MacColl’s untimely passing left a void in the music world, but this box set serves as a fitting tribute to her talent and impact. It’s not just a collection of songs; it’s a narrative of her life, her passions, and her artistic journey. For fans old and new, “See That Girl” offers a chance to immerse yourself in the world of Kirsty MacColl, to discover or rediscover an artist whose voice and vision continue to resonate.

Final Thoughts
“See That Girl” is a testament to Kirsty MacColl’s enduring legacy. It’s a set that Sue and I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring, and it’s expanded my appreciation for an artist whose work transcends time. Whether you’re a long-time fan or just discovering Kirsty’s music, this deluxe set is a journey worth taking.

Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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