Live At Blues Alley (25th Anniversary)

Eva Cassidy

Blix Street Records, 2021

REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert


By definition, the music business is full of might-have-beens. Amy Winehouse. Kurt Cobain. Jimi Hendrix. Chester Bennington. Jim Croce. Nat King Cole. Janis Joplin. We wistfully wonder what we could have had, we listen to what little we do have, and we move on as best as we can.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I would venture to say all serious music fans have a favorite one of this kind. Mine is the late Eva Cassidy, the dulcet-voiced chanteuse whose voice belied a great deal of power and precision. Cassidy died after she failed to go to her cancer follow-up appointments and the cancer returned; she passed at just 33.

Live At Blues Alley is the first album Cassidy ever cut, and it’s apparent that she’s still finding her footing here. Her greatest strengths were as an emotive storyteller; there are a few tracks on this CD where she’s instead trying more for Keely Smith territory. I can’t say I’m crazy of her versions of “Blue Skies” and “Cheek to Cheek”. That said…

Damn, what an amazing voice and an amazing talent.

When Cassidy nailed a song, she nailed it. Her version of “Fields Of Gold” leaves the Sting original in the dust. She has quirky fun with the Talking Heads’ “Take Me To The River,” and handles the French torch song “Autumn Leaves” with a surprising delicacy. By the time we get to “What A Wonderful World,” it’s been quite a ride.

The 25th Anniversary edition of Live At Blues Alley reviewed here has cleaned up the sound considerably and added a bonus track. It’s definitely worth your time. And oh, what might have been…

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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