Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Way Out West by Mae West

Way Out West cover art

Artist: Mae West
Title: Way Out West
Catalogue Number: Tower ST5028
Review Format: LP
Release Year: 2008

You know Mae West. A true star from the early days of cinema (and vaudeville as well), she was well known for the use of the double entendre. In fact, she used it in such a way that she made our very own Sid James look like a master of subtlety.

This curiosity was released in 1966 (and widely released too - it even turned up in the UK on the Stateside label even though I've only seen mono copies) when Mae West's time in the sun had long since faded (she was born in 1893 so you can do the math yourself). I can't really think why anyone would think it was a good idea but, looking at it from 2008, there had to be a sense of humour at work. The cover is pure class - Mae West in a proper ball gown and the backing band Somebody's Chyldren (allegedly label mates Davie Allen and the Arrows on the actual record) looking on in awe. The songs are covers of hits of the time but done the West way.  "Day Tripper" is a standard run through right up until the end when Ms West somehow turns up the smut. "Treat Him Right", however, could have been written just for her, if you know what I mean. She even tackles John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom Boom" and puts an entirely new spin on it. No, really, she does. Oh, and there's a killer version of "Twist and Shout" that must surely rank as one of the best ever - it's [expletive deleted] insane!

Words sometimes fail me. You can't really rate an album like this on musical terms. Mae West is a decent enough singer, the backing band are competent and the arrangements are unadventurous for the most part but none of that really matters. What you get here is a performance that pretty much proves that Mae West wasn't faking it (not that she would, of course…). You really can't keep a good woman down.
Review Date: October 7 2008