||From the Vault...
"Live At Blues Alley"
© Blix Street Records
Year of Release: 1996
Cheek To Cheek
Fine And Mellow
People Get Ready
Tall Trees In Georgia
Fields Of Gold
Take Me To The River
What A Wonderful World
Oh Had I
Eva Cassidy related sites:
"Live At Blues Alley"
If I had never stayed up, surfing the TV, and didn't spot Ted Koppel's Nightline show when
Eva Cassidy was featured, I would have probably never discovered Eva Cassidy. Her voice just absolutely
was amazing. The cute, small blonde with the huge voice sang jazz and blues in the most strongest and
powerful ways imagined. The sad thing to learn, when I discovered her, is that she had passed away of
cancer in 1996, and with her being an unknown, her music would become more popular after her death.
From Eva Cassidy on Wikipedia: In May 2001, ABC's Nightline in the United States broadcast a
well-received short documentary about Cassidy. Over the weekend, all five of Cassidy's albums occupied
Amazon.com's best sellers list top spots. The Nightline episode has since been rebroadcast three times
due to popular demand. Producer Leroy Sievers has said that it is "probably the most popular Nightline
ever". In December, a nine-minute segment on NPR resulted in a similar sales surge, with five of the top
seven spots going to Cassidy. A rebroadcast of the Tonight with Trevor McDonald feature on Cassidy in
Britain also bumped up sales. When I watched Nightline, it was their second (or third) time
they had replayed this episode, due to popular demand.
Her first appearance/review on WSVNRadio was her
Time After Time.
Live At Blues Alley was her first offical solo release; she first appeared on Chuck Brown's The
Other Side. Video portions of Live At Blues Alley was featured on the Nightline program.
Not only was Cassidy's voice unremarkable, the band that backed her up was exceptional as well.
Upbeat, snappy Jazz numbers such as the album's opener, "Cheek To Cheek," and the standard
"Blue Skies" makes Cassidy a great Jazz singer, and easily fitting past great Jazz artists who came
before her. Her versions of well-known songs, most popular by rock and folk artists are intrepetred having
a great modern Blues style: "Stormy Monday," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and a great Blues version
of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready." She brings a wonderful accoustic folk touch to Sting's
"Fields Of Gold." The beautiful accoustic "Autumn Leaves" is just beautiful to listen to,
with the soothing guitar, and Cassidy's angelic voice. Another great standout song is her version of Louis
Armstrong's "What A Wonderful World." The Gospel-inspired "Oh Had I A Golden Thread" is the
only song on this album, that was originally recorded in a studio. If you enjoy Aretha Franklin's gospel
music, this song is a great contender to the Queen of Soul.
Blues Alley was located in Washington, D.C. The concert was recorded on January 2 and 3, 1996.
EvaCassidy.org has a great page on this concert.
It's just sad that later in the year, she passed away of melanoma cancer.
[UPDATE: When this review was first posted, there are great videos from this album/concert on YouTube.
Unfortunately, due to copyright reasons, they were all removed. Also, as of 2015, there is a DVD of this
concert, entitled Nightbird: EvaNightbird.com -- 20th Anniversary]
You can purchase the Nightline episode, where Eva Cassidy was featured, on
Eva Cassidy is/was a true Diva. Her music always amazes me. Her version of "Somewhere Over The
Rainbow" still brings tears to my eyes, as her song is THAT beautiful. She sang like an angel on
gospel-inspired songs, yet she belted out blues songs in a true grit Blues style. Even her renditions of
Jazz songs easily inducts her with the great Jazz singers in the Hall of Fame. Somewhere in Heaven,
Eva Cassidy is still singing, and even though she has left us, her albums and new recordings of her music
have been released. In 2007, there was discussions of a movie based on her life, where Robert Redford's
daughter Amy was scheduled to co-produce. The Cassidy family suggested either actresses Kirsten Dunst or
Emily Watson to play the title role. Personally, I think singer Joss Stone would be a good choice. She
already has the grit voice of a soul/blues singer, and I'm sure she could sing angelic and jazz styles,
given the right song choices for her.
[On the topic of female singers portrayed in movies, whatever
happened to the movie where Melissa Etheridge was supposed to play Janis Joplin? At the time this movie
was announced, Ms. Etheridge was diagosed with breast cancer. When researching the Joplin movie, this was
found on JanisJoplin.net: Singer Melissa Etheridge was talked about for the lead role in "Piece of My
Heart" at one time, but Entertainment Weekly reports that the deal "fell apart due to a disappointing screen
test." Brittany Murphy and Courtney Love were also in talks regarding "Heart," and Lilli Taylor was cast in
"Gospel," but dropped out when production on the film dragged its feet.]
Since the talk of a Eva Cassidy movie in 2007, its been two years passed, and no further developments
have been announced.
God Bless Eva Cassidy... Her voice will always be treasured for many generations to come, by enjoying
the albums that were released, and hopefully more of her music will be found in the Cassidy vault.
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