The Dark Gift of Time, Koch Records CD KOC-CD-8022, 1998
Promising pop album
The pop music world is chock full of masterful singers who
wouldnt recognize a well-written song if their very life depended
upon it. Christine Collister, though, shows with The Dark Gift
of Time that she has no desire to belong to that misfortunate,
clueless club. If you can name another modern diva who has the guts to
take on Tom Waits, Elvis Costello, Robert Wyatt and Billie Holiday,
Ill eat a Whitney Houston CD.
Collister opens this understated collection with Bruce
Cockburns goose bump-inducing "The Whole Night Sky."
Featuring the unique guitar sounds of Richard Thompson (another A+
songwriter, by the way), Collister gives this true-to-emotional-life
song the kind of vocal beauty its originatorthe slightly vocally
challenged Cockburncould only hint at. Sometimes, though,
Collisters pretty pipes are pretty misplaced. For example, Tom
Waits "Dirt in the Ground" calls for the kind of
two-pack-a-day gruffness only Waits can give it. Additionally,
"Deeper Well" severely misses Emmylou Harris
distinctive singing and Daniel Lanois perfect production.
Overall, though, its hard to find too much fault with such
an enjoyably eclectic disc. In a perfect world, all pop albums would
sound like this one. Luckily, you can pick up this release, and just
pretend that the real world of the pop charts just doesnt exist.
Instead, allow Collister to be your reality. Dan
Glenn Brooks says... Collister has a seductive deep alto, and the
arrangements and superb backing musicians make the most of it. But
although she has the guts to tackle "God Bless the Child,"
she would have been well advised not to do so. Collister has yet to hit
her stride as a solo act (she was part of an English folk/pop duo with
Clive Gregson) but she has enough taste and talent that she will
probably get there.