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Sonja Kristina - Anthology album review

Double-CD retrospective charts curveball career

Renowned as Curved Air’s singer, Sonja Kristina has dabbled in a parallel solo oeuvre, from which she’s personally compiled this first ever best-of selection. In the 60s she starred onstage in Hair, replaced Sandy Denny in Strawbs for one gig, then joined Curved Air while working as a Playboy Club croupier. In the early 70s she routinely won Best Female Vocalist polls. Later she became a university music tutor.

A rich life, then, and the music here displays her restless versatility and desire to sample different styles. It’s hard to find a unifying theme, until you realise that her unerringly confident voice is a reassuring companion in any genre.

From hippiedom to punk, from psychedelia to acid folk, she’s stepped through any looking glass offered. There’s an acoustic version of Motörhead’s I Don’t Believe A Word, a new Greg Lake tribute (C’est La Vie) and a bombastic blast of Carl Orff (with Curved Air ally Darryl Way). Yet it’s when she’s doing her own thing – notably on her 1980 solo debut – that the sounds offer the most sensitivity and seduction.

Full Time Woman and Man He Colour enchant, as does 1995’s Angel. She bends any music to her will.