If I Have To Go
Not quite what you would call a concept album but Flossie Malavialle has put this collection of covers under the theme of the impact we can have on others and what we leave behind as we travel on our own journeys through life.
She opens with pretty much a straight lift of Paul McCartney's Early Days. It's a gentle ballad which lends itself to her voice very easily and the simpleness of the execution gives it very much an unplugged feel. This gives way to the aforementioned Abba's contribution to the collection and Malavialle's version is much more mature sounding than the original. Agnetha Faltskog's version is a little saccharin to say the least but Malavialle plays it straight and makes it slightly more emotive. Willie Nelson is a living legend but it would be interesting to know how many people know this song because of a donkey companion to a green ogre. Malavialle's version has the same energy of Nelson's rendition but she does struggle with some of the high notes which tend to drop flat because there isn't enough vocal energy to keep them up there.
With Katie, from Jimmy MacCarthy, you get more of the real sound of Malavialle. Her voice finds a much more comfortable level with this ballad. Perhaps the bravest song to tackle is Suzanne Vega's Luka which was a massive hit in the 80s and it's just one of those songs where almost everyone knows at least the chorus. However, few realise the song, light as it may sound, is about abuse and domestic violence which was pretty groundbreaking in its day. It's obviously lodged in Malavialle's pysche and she neither adds nor takes away from the original but plays it straight giving it a kind of matter of fact feeling with her singing. She goes local for Tin Soldier from John Wrightson
|"The Tin Soldier" 1101
It doesn't stretch her abilities and the strength is in the lyrics and the fact it means a great deal to her.
If I Have To Go is quite hit and miss and possibly the reason for it is Malavialle has picked songs with which she connects deeply but could have misjudged whether her listeners will feel the same. There is very little wrong with this album but by the same token there is very little which stands out either, which is a shame really because Malavialle live is an engaging and extremely verbose character who enjoys connecting with her audiences, sometimes for quite long periods between the songs. However, there is a suspicion that this album means more to Malavialle than it will to her fans.
If I Have To Go is available now for download and through the artist's own website.