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Released: 1st January 1998.

Eva Cassidy - SongbirdImagine some of the best divas rolled into one: a singer with the power of Celine, the femininity of Mariah and the emotion of Whitney. That's Eva Cassidy for you. Sadly, though, unlike the others, there won't be any new material from Eva: in 1996 her life was tragically taken from her through cancer.

It may come as a surprise, then, that this album, a compilation of her greatest works, released in June 1998, has had a spell at the top of the UK album charts almost three years after its release. If you're in any doubt as to why, one listen to the final track here, her emotive and amazing version of "Over The Rainbow" will answer the question. The song became the most requested song in the history of "Top Of The Pops 2", while Radio 2 listeners voted her performance on it as one of the most important musical statements in the past century.

It's not surprising that such a sad story as Eva's would generate so much publicity, but this is really a very good album. It's gospel-coated, with traditional tracks such as "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Wade In The Water" forming two of the ten tracks here. All the tracks on the CD are good, though it is, undoubtedly, "Over The Rainbow" that stands out the most.

The recording quality isn't perfect, but then Cassidy never had much real commercial success during her lifetime while recording. However, what we are left with is a fantastic album, only advertising further what amazing talent she had.

* * * * * (DS)

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