Is it a blessing or a curse for an artist to share a name (give or take a vowel) with a more famous artist? Even iTunes thinks Mandy More, the English singer-songwriter of the 1970s, is Mandy Moore, the erstwhile tween pop princess, adding that pesky extra “O” when I put on More’s 1972 underground gem, But That Is Me. Available for the first time on CD, the vinyl version has long commanded top dollar for its rarity and cult status among the pop cognoscenti, like Saint Etienne, who included More’s song “f Not By Fire” on its 2004 contribution to the series The Trip. To confuse matters further, both Moore and More have done covers of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows”, and not surprisingly, the latter’s version proves to be the more inventive and satisfying of the two.
More was a star of the British stage, and the musical theater undercurrent is palpable on But That Is Me. Tracks like “For to Find the Daffodil” and “Harvey Muscletoe” would do well alongside songs from Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris or Stone Poneys-era Linda Ronstadt. Fans will appreciate the wealth of rarities this two-disc set offers, including the single “Every Mother’s Child”, produced by the Yardbirds’ Keith Relf. More”s earnest, simple pop is full of boho-barmy lyrics like “Love is daffodils and steak”, sung in a bell-clear contralto that makes it obvious why her greater success was found treading the boards of the West End.