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Bassey heads back to the studio

New album in the works for Bond crooner

Shirley Bassey, who belted such James Bond themes as “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds Are Forever” to the top of the charts, is back in the studio again, this time collaborating with the current architect of the Bond sound, composer-producer David Arnold (“Casino Royale,” “Quantum of Solace”).

For Bassey, 72, the still-untitled album on the Geffen label will be her first new CD in more than a decade and her first pop album made in a contemporary style, where the music tracks are laid down first and the vocalist comes in later. (She enjoyed a top-10 dance hit, “History Repeating,” with Propellerheads in 1997.)

The concept, Arnold told Variety, “is to make a serious studio album with a great singer, to explore all facets of her abilities and personality.”

“Shirley has sung so many different styles,” Arnold says of the singer said to be the U.K.’s most successful female artist ever. “She is probably best known for the big ballads and the Bond themes, but ‘Big Spender’ and ‘Kiss Me Honey Honey Kiss Me’ show her playful and provocative side. (In choosing the songs), I tried to do something which honored all aspects of her character.”

All but one of the songs are new, Arnold says, although the names of the writers and specifics of the tunes are being kept under wraps for now. The performer, who became Dame Shirley Bassey in 1999, recorded her vocals earlier this month at Ireland’s Grouse Lodge (where R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt and Snow Patrol have also recorded), and Arnold is mixing. Geffen is slated to release the album this fall.

Does this mean another Bond theme in Bassey’s future? Stay tuned.

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