A singular theme from the Glasgow police TV show by the Glasgow blues queen.
2008 year marks 25th anniversary of the Scottish detective series "Taggart" which is internationally popular, so it's a good bet the show's main song is familiar even to those who doesn't know whose voice they're hearing every time they tune in. Composed by keyboard maestro Mike Moran, "No Mean City" demanded a performer that knows no compromise, and Glasgow's own Maggie Bell, making a cameo appearance there as Effie Lambie, seemed the perfect choice. Sure, there can be a confusion with her fellow Scots, NAZARETH's track of the same name, but that's only until the music starts, especially now when the "Taggart" song is out on a single.
It's a hard-hitting, guitars-awashed slab of rhythm-and-blues with funky synthesizers - quite close to the Philly sound and a bit dated, yet the vocals are deliciously earthy and pounding drums anchor it all to the ground. Nothing noir-ish or creepy, but there's a pulpable threat and swagger in "No Mean City", very fitting to the series' subject matter, so it's great to have it on plastic. Still, the B-side, a title cut of Ms Bell's first solo album, "Suicide Sal", betters the main track. Here, melismatic soul is mixed with cabaret drama and fantastic panache, with Pete Wingfield's piano bringing a bitter note into this heady coctail. The single, then, is all that's needed to fell in love with Maggie Bell's voice.