Monday, July 19, 2010

Help: A Charity Project for the Children of Bosnia (1995)

(As published in Kamikaze ... )

Help: A Charity Project for the Children of Bosnia
(Go! Discs/London)

Various-artists charity albums are a dime a dozen, and only two in the history of the tradition--The Concert for Bangla Desh (1971) and We Are the World (1985)--have made more than a scratch on the surface of the indifference they were meant to demolish. And since both of those saw the millions they raised go astray due to financial mismanagement and-or naiveté--well, let's just say genuine do-gooders would be well advised to find a more effective means of doing good than buying CDs.

But the fact that Help: A Charity Project for the Children of Bosnia probably won't improve the lives of Bosnian children much doesn't mean you shouldn't buy it for its music, which, song for song, makes for a pretty solid sampler of contemporary Brit-pop. Oasis featuring Johnny Depp on guitar leads off with a George-Michael-ish ditty called "Fade Away," Paul Weller, Oasis's Noel Gallagher, and Paul McCartney conclude with "Come Together," and in between, such flavors of the month as the Boo Radleys, Stone Roses and Blur take turns performing tracks of intermittent hummability recorded especially for this project and therefore unavailable anywhere else.

The highlights occur when Sinead O'Connor recreates "Ode to Billy Joe" as a New Age folk song, Manic Street Preachers attempt "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," and the One World Orchestra transform Elmer Bernstein's The Magnificent Seven theme into a hip-hop flavored novelty called "The Magnificent." None of these twenty tracks, obviously, have much to do with charity, children, or Bosnia, and the lone actual protest song, Robert Wyatt's "Shipbuilding" as performed by (the London) Suede, concerns the Falkland crisis of a decade-or-so ago. But if only as a reminder of what used to make K-Tel and Ronco collections so much fun, Help deserves to have a few bucks dropped into its hat.

No comments:

Post a Comment