Eva Cassidy Album - Live at Blues Alley
|Album Information :|
||Live at Blues Alley
Recorded live at Blues Alley, Washington, D.C., Jan. 2, 1996, where the late folk singer/songwriter had a loyal following. 13 tracks, including four that appeared on her breakthrough 1998 album, 'Songbird'. Blix Street.
Review - Amazon.com :
When Eva Cassidy is swinging her way through "Cheek to Cheek" and getting down and bluesy on "Stormy Monday" on this live set from 1996, it's nigh impossible not to get swept up in her voice's vast, barreling force. Her full range, though, becomes most obvious--and soul-shaking--on the slower side, as with Paul Simon's "Bridge over Troubled Water," Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Tall Trees in Georgia," and "What a Wonderful World." On these latter tunes, Cassidy's mix of aching clarity and rich warmth has a melting quality, speaking through the body to some evanescent presence that she seems to know all too well. She improbably makes Sting's "Fields of Gold" an emotional powerhouse just as easily as she makes Billie Holiday's "Fine and Mellow" an offhand declaration of feeling equal to nearly anything in the jazz vocal canon. In doing so she earns her place among the great singers--artists who could take any song and stamp it indelibly as their own. What Eva Cassidy had in her short life was an unbelievably perfect voice and a musical soul that grasped gospel, folk, blues, jazz, and all points in between as if they were mere stops on a single train ride. Alas, her ride ended in 1996, tragically early. --Andrew Bartlett
Erik K (Austin, TX United States) - December 15, 2000
173 of 176 people found the following review helpful:
- Perfect from start to finish
You've heard people raving about Eva Cassidy, you've maybe heard some of her stuff, but which album to start with? This one. If you own an Eva album but not this one, what are you waiting for? This is her crowning glory, an album that starts with the swinging jazz of Berlin's Cheek to Cheek, wanders gently into more mellow territory with exceptional readings of Sting's Fields of Gold (until this album, I never realized what a great song this was) and Buffy St. Marie's Tall Trees in Georgia (a strong yet quavering vocal over a beautifully understated musical backing) and finishes off with the soulful Oh, Had I a Golden Thread (the only studio track on the album).
Her death was a great loss, as this album shows an artist entering true maturity. Though the other albums are good, they mostly pick over material that was left behind. There's not a bad performance or less-than-great song choice here. Her following is growing, though still not to the levels of other, less talented, female singers I could name. Buy this album. Spread the word.
64 of 66 people found the following review helpful:
- this cd will rarely leave your cd player, it's that good.
the first time i ever heard eva cassidy was 3 years ago, on a local dc jazz station (which, sadly, has since gone off the air). it was the song "what a wonderful world," which i normally find cloying. but eva's clear, strong, beautiful vibrato cut through my work day and made me sit back and listen. wow. when i went to buy the cd at the store i was looking for an african-american woman on the cover. i was shocked to see a blue-eyed blonde, looking folkie and meek, on the cover. but my god, the woman has the soul, depth and power reserved for the best of the best, including mahalia and 1960s aretha.
this cd, all covers, ranges from swinging jazz to traditional folk to blues. eva handles it all with incredible control and taste, with real singing and not the pyrotechno crap you hear on the radio these days. her range inspires awe, especially on "golden thread," in which she reaches a note that would give anyone else a hernia. her interpretation skills are amazing; she manages to breathe new life into songs that have been covered hundreds of times. particular standouts are "autumn leaves," "tall trees in georgia" and "fields of gold," all of which will make you cry; "golden thread," which is as spiritual as any hymn; and "fine and mellow" and "cheek to cheek," which are fun and sexy. the band is also in top form, keeping the sound tight and crisp while giving eva the spotlight.
eva's passing robbed her of what surely would have been a big, long career, and us of an enduring talent. buy this cd and you will not be disappointed.
Tim Meixner (Brighton, MI United States) - August 18, 2001
51 of 53 people found the following review helpful:
- Words Cannot Describe...
...the impact that Eva Cassidy has had on my life. After seeing a nightime news magazine feature on this incredible talent, I had to purchase a CD to experience her unbelievable voice. I ended up buying 4 CD's, Time After Time, Eva By Heart, Songbird, and Live at Blues Alley. They are indeed magnificant in the way they present perhaps the best female vocalist ever, however, the pure vocal artistry and unbridled energy and passion of Eva Cassidy comes through best on the Live CD. Her powerful sweeping vocal lines soar above mere music to heights which only angels should dare to attempt. Ms Cassidy takes incredible artistic and vocal risks, but never loses control. When her human limits are reached, as in the final note on "Autumn Leaves", she simply weaves the results into the beautiful musical tapestry she has created and we are all enriched by witnessing yet another magnificent Eva moment. Like air bubbles in hand blown glass, these "imperfections" add character, beauty, and Eva Cassidy's own stamp of genius on the tune as well as our souls. I have owned this CD for less than a month, but it is the first thing I reach for when I get in my car, and I am rarely dry-eyed when I arrive at most of my destinations. If good music - the kind that has the power to change lives forever - is important to you, you MUST experience Eva.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful:
- Simply AWESOME! This will be a cult classic for generations
This recording is amazing. I know the reviews here (and for most of Eva Cassidy's brief recorded work) are so full of uncritical praise and passion that it's hard to separate the quality of the art from the emotions. But have no fear, this album is the real thing!
This is one of the best live recordings I've ever heard. Eva Cassidy's voice SOARS, and the band works very well with her. No, the band isn't amazing, but they are very good. But the star here is Eva's voice, pure and simple.
Her voice is so full of passion and fireworks that it is almost overwhelming at times (think Aretha Franklin--yes, I'm not kidding). Hard to believe such a big, galvanizing voice was packed in such a little, blonde, fair-skinned body. It's especially hard to take the fact that she was gone before most of us even found this (I have to believe in the "better late than never" adage). When she dedicates "What a Wonderful World" to her parents (who were in the audience), your heart will break as you wonder what her parents must feel and experience when they listen to this album.
All the tracks are essential here. But for me, "da bomb" is her soaring version of Curtis Mayfield's classic gospel/rock number "People Get Ready". Good God almighty, Eva Cassidy is a quintessential example of what a soul singer is and should be! Goosebumps especially abound when she sings the middle chorus ("PEOPLE get ready, there's a TRAAAAAAAAIN A COMIIIIIIIN!!!!!!!"). Then she comes down and passionately whispers "you don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord". If you don't feel something during this, then you simply are not alive. Those brief seconds last a lifetime. I don't care how advanced one's musical or aesthetic tastes are, this is something that should move you profoundly.
But aside from that phenomenal track, this album abounds with great tracks. Some old standards can never be heard the same way again: "Cheek To Cheek", "Honeysuckle Rose". Even a blues standard like "Stormy Weather" can never be heard the same way again ("LOOOOOOOORD have mercy"). All of it is amazing.
Please don't cheat yourself out of an incredibly moving (not to mention fun) listening experience. This is one of the best voices I've ever heard, and I've heard many great voices.
It's hard to sell artists on people, but Eva Cassidy is an easy sell. Everyone I've played this for has been amazed. PLEASE let yourself be!!
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful:
This is a disc that everyone, and I mean everyone should own! I first heard Eva's version of Sting's Fields of Gold while visiting my local independant record store and I have been hooked ever since. From the blissfully jazzy opening track "Cheek to Cheek" Eva takes you on whirlwind ride as her enchanting vocals whisk you away to a places no other singer of her generation can match. The depth of feeling is unrivaled on classic tracks such as "Autumn Leaves" or "What a Wonderful World". Then there is the raw power and soul of "Take me to the river" and the awesome, tear-jerking emotion of "Fields of Gold". This CD has spread in the UK not by promotion but by word of mouth and the word is spreading like wild-fire as Eva Cassidy's voice enchants more and more. There is only one downside to this CD and that is the tragic story of Eva Cassidy herself, there is truely only one way to descibe her, she has the voice of an angle. SDG.