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Review: music

Kiki Dee

Kiki Dee

Brunton Theatre, Musselburgh

Rob Adams

In the 1970s Kiki Dee was touring America with Elton John and phoned home to invite her parents to fly first class to New York, spend a week in the Waldorf Astoria, see their daughter perform at Madison Square Garden and sail home on the QE2.

Her mother replied, "Sorry, love we've already booked a caravan."

The former Pauline Matthews, who had topped the charts with Sir Elton, duetting on Don't Go Breaking My Heart, prevailed over her mother's Yorkshire down-to-earthness and her dad ended up swapping a caravan for a chauffeured limo drive through Harlem.

If you're thinking, "Kiki Dee, how old must she be?" Don't. She's the coolest, sveltest bus-pass holder going, and, more importantly, her voice is ageless.

Don't Go Breaking My Heart comes early in the set, reworked and understated but a perfect showcase for Dee's magnificent tonal projection, utterly true and effortlessly cool, soulful phrasing.

It is necessary at times to tune out her partner in music, Carmelo Luggeri's rather overzealous, effects-assisted guitar accompaniments, but to hear a singer this good in an intimate space like the Brunton is a real treat.

Newer material, such as Salty Water and Everybody Falls, complete with Dee conducting an unabashed, embarrassment-free audience clap along, shows that she and Luggeri are writing songs with something to say, and arrangements of Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill and Leonard Cohen's Dance Me To The End of Love confirm Dee's status as a superb interpreter.

She's got the music in her (she sang that one too) all right, and if anyone has ever sung a sweeter True Love Ways, it must have been a heartbreaker.

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