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I Wanna Be Kate CD Cover
Image © 1999 Brown Star Records 

(12 February 2000) Recorded by various artists and produced by Thomas Dunning, I Wanna Be Kate - The Songs Of Kate Bush (BSR (Canada) 6947, 1999) is an interesting collection and collaboration of seventeen artists covering classic tracks of the legendary female vocalist. Unlike the two-CD set, A Tribute To Kate Bush - The Child In Her Eyes (Dressed To Kill (UK) DOP152) (amazon.com) by E-clypse with Gemma Price doing the vocal work, the Chicago artists' recordings on Dunning's production have worked as hard to make them different and their own as they have to capture their original Kate Bush essence. Further information on the contributing artists may be accessed from the album's website. We were as mystified by the photographs in the booklet as we were by several of the musical arrangements of the tracks. Ordering information is available online.

Like Tom Dunning, we were introduced to Kate Bush's music initially by Pat Benetar's cover of "Wuthering Heights" and weren't exposed directly to Kate's recordings until years later. The cover versions on this recording are performed by male and female vocalists with singing styles that vary extensively. We didn't like all of the tracks on the compilation, but several were indeed stunning and they were good enough to recommend the album to serious Kate Bush fans.

The Aluminum Group's version of "L'Amour Looks Something Like You" is a reasonable interpretation with modern lush jazzy instrumentation backing a male vocalist. "The Sensual World" by Susan Voelz is a mostly faithful, albeit substantially slower, reproduction of this sensitive backed with electronic instrumentation and multitracked vocals. The Moviegoers almost Bruce Springsteen version of "The Hounds Of Love" is certainly listenable but was otherwise uninteresting. "The Man With The Child In His Eyes" is sung emotively by Syd Straw (female) with light acoustic instrumentation; faithfully reproduced but with the artist's own interpretation, it's a nice track. The J Davis Trio managed to disappoint us with their rap rendition of "There Goes A Tenner."

Lush instrumentation and Kate Bush-style vocals in Nora O'Connor's rendition of "The Saxophone Song" and Victoria Storm's "The Kick Inside" are both perfect examples of covers with additional artistic colour. "You're The One" sung in a James Taylor style by Justin Roberts and "Coffee Homeground" by Mouse (female) in a Beatles-like ("I Am The Walrus") style were both listenable and well played. Catherine Smitko combined a Fleedwood Mac-like (Christine McVie) vocal style with Celtic styles and traditional instrumentation in her lively rendition of "Jig Of Life."

The Baltimores significantly rearranged "Running Up That Hill" into a Go-Gos-style new wave version leaving no resemblence to the Kate Bush original concept. The bluegrass version of "Home For Christmas" by Diamond Jim Greene had lovely banjo music but was otherwise uninspiring. The male vocal version of "Love And Anger" by Trinkets Of Joy, however, works quite well.

"Kashka From Baghdada/Babooshka" by The Plunging Necklines is a lovely multi-female singer rendition of these classics accompanied by acoustic guitar and light percussion alone. A gothic version "Suspended In Gaffa" by My Scarlet Life with its layer upon layer of heavenly and ethereal haunting female vocals is a stunning track in its own right.

The West End version, complete with orchestral overture, of "And Dream Of Sheep" by Thomas Negovan is wonderful. Tom Dunning & Your Boyfriends' rendition of "Not This Time" is an absolutely stunning track, with evocative lead vocals and lush well-produced instrumentation and absolutely terrific soaring choral backing vocals. These two tracks along with "The Saxophone Song" and "The Kick Inside" discussed above make this compilation of Kate Bush covers worth further exploration—a very nice listen!

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