Reissue: Julia Fordham – Julia Fordham

God, if this album was any more 1980s it would come with a free Ra Ra skirt and fluorescent leg warmers.

But despite the overproduced tinny guitars, hideous fretless bass and synthesised keyboards, that are so redolent of the time, it is saved by Julia Fordham’s gorgeous smoky jazz tinged voice.

Fordham was one of novelty chanteuse Mari Wilson’s Wilsations, but when she stepped out of the backing vocals shadows her debut LP made the top 20. Opening track the uptempo Happy Ever After has plenty of those dated 80s sounds, but shows Fordham’s ear for a hook and her ability to move effortlessly from the bottom of their range to the top.

Woman of the 80’s is not only dated musically – but lyrically  too – as we are now in a world where people can cope with forceful female artists. Thankfully the glass ceiling Fordham is battering her head against has moved up considerably since the dark days of Thatcher.

If the overproduced uptempo numbers feel a tad dated the opposite is true of the slower numbers with their bittersweet words. The wistful Where Does The Time Go? remains one of the key songs of that decade as Fordham pulls off a lovely duet with John O’Kane.

As always with the Cherry Pop reissues there are are plenty of extras like 12 inch remixes  for those of us old enough to remember when vinyl was still king. They have also thrown in a live CD where Fordham’s powerful voice soars over the stripped down arrangements so it’s a shame her producers didn’t see her onstage before they got to work with all their needless studio trickery

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