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Having been a longtime fan of the main title music
from “Goldfinger,” “Diamonds Are Forever,” and
“Moonraker,” as well as classic James Bond movie
scores in general, I decided that after all of these
years, I should hear an album by Shirley Bassey
(1937 – ). Aside from a couple of “greatest hits”
compilations which I have made a habit to avoid,
the only disc I located was “The Magic Is You,”
released in 1978 on the EMI-Manhattan label.

I’m glad that I checked it out. I don’t ordinarily listen
to Pop albums, but damned if I wasn’t occasionally
moved to tears by Ms. Bassey’s hauntingly seductive,
strong renditions of some of the 10 songs on this
roughly 40-minute CD. As with Ms. Bassey’s three
“Bond” songs, much of the credit falls on the shoulders
of her musical arranger. In this case, Nick de Caro
(1938-1992) provided a typically “70’s-sounding” backdrop.

In addition to the title tune, other songs included
“This Is My Life,” “Better Off Alone,” and a different
arrangement of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Don’t Cry for
Me, Argentina,” from “Evita.” Though much of this
music may be schmaltzy and somewhat cheesy,
it definitely “worked” here, and presented Ms. Bassey
in a favorable light. I’m not surprised that as of 2000,
she was considered to be Great Britain’s most
successful female vocalist. It’s nice to have finally heard
her outside of a James Bond context, and I look
forward to hearing more of her albums. Hers is
a voice with the power to move!

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