Sugar Baby Love
It was teeny-bop pop; the wore big white golfing caps and The Goodies TV show took the mickey out of them - I think I made one of those hats out of paper. You had to see them to believe them. How embarrassing. I remember quite vividly that I was a fan, and was either six or seven, and went to the BBC, where they were doing Top of the Pops, and waited outside, watching them go in and out. I found it very emotional. The song had a high bit, and it had something that really, really moved me, perhaps mostly owing to my first real heavy-duty crush, Alan Williams, the lead singer. He was good-looking, the first person to make me blush. I can't say that they had any influence on me, but even now I think they're good, and if I wanted to flatter them I would describe their sound as Motown pop.
Elvis Costello and
Painted From Memory
How they wrote this album is interesting. They just sat opposite each other, at two facing pianos, which is collaborative in away I have never thought of doing. It's basically new Bacharach songs with Costello lyrics, and as a brand-new collaboration it really, really works. I have always been a big Costello fan, and I think he has reached a peak as an artist on this album. It's not easy to follow in the footsteps of Howard David. The Bacharach and David Songbook introduced me to so many great songs, and singers, such as Aretha Franklin, Dusty Springfield. It's a surprising album, as well, because you wouldn't expect the contemporary, evocative and movingly edgy lyrics to work with the swish, elaborate Bacharach orchestration. But they complement each other like light and shade. I have just recorded a Costello track, and will sing some of these new songs at my concert, and hope that Costello will really like it and tell me he loves me.
Claire Martin will be at Pizza Express Jazz Club, Dean Street, London W1, from 24 to 28 March (0171-439 8722)