Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christie's Cool Again; Yorkshire Lad: Tony Christie's Latest Album Mines the Musical Legacy of Sheffield, near His Own Home Town of Conisbrough

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christie's Cool Again; Yorkshire Lad: Tony Christie's Latest Album Mines the Musical Legacy of Sheffield, near His Own Home Town of Conisbrough

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID SMYTH

Tony Christie plays at the Cadogan Hall, SW1 (020 7730 4500, www.cadoganhall.com) on 19 November.

JOHNNY Cash, Neil Diamond and Kris Kristofferson all did it - found a new audience in later years by stripping back their sound and taking their music seriously again. Now another old-timer is following their lead with a careerrejuvenating new album.

Made in Sheffield by Tony Christie won't be released on the Autonomy label until November, but I've had a sneak preview and can confirm that it's set to be this year's Christmas crossover hit.

Christie, 64, is actually from Conisbrough, near Doncaster, but has immersed himself in Sheffield's musical history with the help of the city's most vocal musical enthusiast, Richard Hawley.

Hawley's past three albums are named after local landmarks, and his ballad Coles Corner, which references a renowned department store meeting point, was written with Christie in mind.

"On the drive back home after a recording session I heard Coles Corner on the radio," says Christie. "I said to my son, 'That's the sort of production I should be getting,' to which he replied, 'Richard sent you that song four years ago'." Now he finally sings it, alongside Born to Cry, a Pulp rarity that appeared on the soundtrack of the film Notting Hill in 1999, tracks by Phil Oakey of The Human League, Sheffield up-and-comer Martin Bragger, and Only Ones Who Know by

Arctic Monkeys. The latter, the Monkeys' most mellow moment, is enriched with subtle strings and Christie's gigantic voice. It's not cheesy in the least.

Though it must have been tempting to put together a modernising set of duets along the lines of Reload by Tom Jones, the songwriters have stayed in the background and the result is something much more subtle. "There are moments of real beauty on the record, some really moving performances," says Hawley, whose band provide the Fifties dancehall sound. …

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