Originally appearing on their 1970 release 3, Lucretia MacEvil by Blood Sweat and Tears is a white funk classic; six minutes of urgent horns, raspy vocals and driving electric guitar. Unfortunately when covered by Bruce Forsyth – the doyenne of Saturday night British TV for more than half of the last century – it becomes three minutes of anaemic, strip-show cabaret performance. Bruce may be a consummate TV host but honestly, he injects about as much soul into this performance as Natalie Casey did into her recording of Chick, Chick, Chicken.
It’s also rather incongruous; Bruce’s version of the track originally appeared on his 1973 album The Musical Side of Bruce – an album which consists primarily of cabaret standards (What the World Needs Now, If I Ruled the World, My Way), a handful of singer-songwriter covers (If, You’ve Got a Friend), a few songs from musicals including Hit the Deck and High Spirits (hence the album’s title) and even a cover of the theme tune to Coronation Street, the world’s longest-running soap opera. Set against that selection Lucretia MacEvil sounds positively bonkers.
Unless you’ve spent the last five decades living under a rock I don’t need to give you a full run down of the career of Sir Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson CBE, do I? He made his first TV appearance, singing and dancing on a BBC programme called Come and be Televised in 1939 and was soon treading the boards as Boy Bruce, the Mighty Atom. His big break came in 1958 when he was offered the role of host of the popular TV show Sunday Night at the London Palladium, which began a TV career that has encompassed quiz shows (the Generation Game, Play Your Cards Right, the Price is Right), comedy, light entertainment reviews and – more recently – hosting the BBC’s popular Strictly Come Dancing show. At the grand old age of 84 he shows no signs of giving up – although it’s high time he did something about that ridiculous toupee.
Anyway, I’ll be back next weekend with even more awful offerings but, until then, enjoy Brucie’s take on Lucretia MacEvil.