Claire Martin - The Early Years Anthology - Manchester Evening News

NO shoddy Best Of for Claire, but a generous, sumptuous repackaging of her first four studio albums for Linn, from The Waiting Game (1992) to Make This City Ours (1997).

The voice tangibly broadens, as does the subject matter. Martin has a genius for finding contemporary songs that chime with the sophistication of the old. She inducted Tom Waits into the Great American Songbook with Old Boyfriends (1994).

Less sentimental than Stacey Kent, the youthful Martin can be winningly offhand and delectably hardboiled (try Some Cats).

Early Years makes a lavish companion to the emotionally mature He Never Mentioned Love, the heartfelt Shirley Horn homage which was her twelfth album for Linn. Together, they represent a model lesson in how to nurture conspicuous talent over time.

22 August 2008