What Do Pretty Girls Do?
is a collection of four performances Kirsty MacColl
did for BBC radio from 1989 to 1995 -- 15 tracks in all. Aside from the obvious album tracks from each period (this was for promotion afterall), MacColl
pulls out some old favorites from the early days -- a country take on "There's a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop (Swears He's Elvis)," "A New England" (a duet with the song's writer, Billy Bragg), and "He's on the Beach" -- as well as a couple of well-chosen covers like "Walk Right Back" and the charming "Darling, Let's Have Another Baby" (also a duet with Billy Bragg). BBC sets are always fun for fans, but for an artist like MacColl
, who has always shyed away from live performance and whose albums have always been so meticulously produced, with multi-layered vocals and carefully conceived arrangements, this one is particularly revealing. She sounds relaxed -- there's no doubt that she's genuinely having a good time -- and, the sheer quality of the songs (and her voice) is made even more apparent in this straightforward, no-frills setting.