Dana Gillespie-Under My Bed.

Label: Ace Records.

During a career that has spanned fifty-five years, Dana Gillespie who is regarded by many as the Queen of British  blues has released seventy albums. This is quite remarkable as she  has recorded albums of folk,  pop, rock, soul and even Indian sacred music. However, nowadays, it’s  blues music that she’s synonymous with.

The future Queen of British  blues was born Richenda Antoinette de Winterstein Gillespie was born in Woking, Surrey, on the ‘30th’ of March 1949. Her fatherHans Henry Winterstein Gillespie was a London-based radiologist of Austrian nobility and the family grew up in leafy Surrey. In 1962, when she was thirteen, Dana Gillespie  became the British Junior Water Skiing Champion. However, just a couple of years later she was pursuing parallel careers as singer-songwriter and actress.

Having started off as a folk singer, Dana Gillespie changed direction and embraced the teen pop genre. In 1965, she released Thank You Boy in 1965 which was produced by Jimmy Page. However, a year later and the Surrey born singer made her film debut.

This came when Dana Gillespie featured in the Italian comedy Fumo di Londra which was written, directed and starred by Alberto Sordi. It was released in 1966 internationally as Smoke Over London and Gray Flannels.  Having made her film debut, the future Queen of British blues would combine  music with a career as an actress, and she  featured in fourteen films over the next six decades.

In 1972, Dana Gillespie sang backing vocals on It Ain’t Easy, a track from David Bowie’s classic album, The Rise and Fall Of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars. David Bowie and producer Mick Ronson realised Dana was a talented singer-songwriter and produced her 1973 album Weren’t Born A Man. However, this was her only dalliance with rock and after that, she found her real musical love, the blues.

The same year 1973,  Dana starred in the original London production of Jesus Christ Superstar at the Palace Theatre when  she played Mary Magdalene and appeared on the Original London Cast album. This was her highest profile role on the stage and is what many people will remember Dana Gillespie for.

The name Dana Gillespie means different things to different people. She’s a star of stage, screen, singer and songwriter. However, for many music fans she’s the Queen of British blues and has just released her seventieth album Under My Bed on Ace Records.

For Under My Bed twelve new songs were written over a four-year period with co-producer and guitarist Jake Zait who is a member of the London Blues Band. He wrote the music and  Dana contributed the lyrics to the song on Under My Bed. This she does in her now inimitable way.

Dana says: “The music is my inner voice and it tells me what to do. I hear melodies all around me, all the time, so I’m never alone. I always have a song bubbling away in my head.” Almost as if by magic, fully formed songs seemingly appear out of the ether and are recorded by the Queen  of the British blue and her tight talented band. Twelve of these feature on her new album Under My Bed.

The lyrics on Under My Bed range from autobiographical to Dana’s observations about life. She turns her attentions to the self important and boastful people who seem to be everywhere nowadays on the album opener Big Mouth. Her tight band get to wrk on a jive-based song while another highlight is Old School a sensual autobiographical track. Oher highlights include the confessional I’m In Chains, the rueful More Fool Me and hurt-fulled Another Heart Breaks. There’s an air of optimism in Walk In Love Today while on album closer Beats Working its as if Dana realises how lucky she is making a loving out making music for fifty-five years. 

This she’s loved doing and brings pleasure to her legion of fans. Dana Gillespie the Queen of British  blues is a talented singer and songwriter capable of writing witty, cerebral and emotive songs that deal with all sorts of situations including love, heartbreak and heartache Under My Bed with its mixture of putdowns and witticisms is a memorial offering  and befitting of her seventieth album.  

That is an amazing achievement considering that Dana Gillespie has combined an acting career with music over the past six decades. Still she has managed to record albums of the quality of Under My Bed which marks the welcome return of e the Queen of British  blues Dana Gillespie.

Dana Gillespie-Under My Bed.

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