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Reviews: Carol Kidd: Tell Me Once Again

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Reviews: 1

Review by wehecht June 16, 2011 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I might as well say from the start that I listen to very little "popular" music. When I do it's because the singer chooses songs that tell stories, which is exactly what comprises this superlative disc. Every single song on this disc is a story of its own; of life, or love, of hope, or loss, and Carol Kidd and Nigel Clark tell the stories beautifully. The setting couldn't be simpler: just a single vocalist and her guitar accompanist in an intimate sounding environment. In fact the more I listened the more I felt like I was eavesdropping on two old friends singing and playing together for their own pleasure long after the last set of the night had ended and the patrons had all gone home. Many of the songs are "standards" and other singers' versions are firmly in mind (for example: Ray Charles' "You don't know me" or Dionne Warwick's "Alfie"-or maybe Cilla Black's for those of you in the UK), but the duo's sensitivity to the texts, especially Kidd's crystal clear diction and interesting phrasing, quickly overcome any preconceptions as to how each song should go.

In fact it is Kidd's fabulous diction that leads to my only cavil. In the medley from Porgy and Bess ("I loves you Porgy" and "Bess you is my woman now" which is reset as "Porgy, I's your woman now") that perfect enunciation of the lyric makes all the more obvious the improbability of someone who would say "I loves you", or "I's your woman" also saying "because the sorrow of the past is old and done, now, my Porgy, our real happiness has just begun". This incongruity pervades Porgy and Bess but is usually masked by the sloppy diction and more ambitious arrangements that are typical of cinematic or operatic treatments of the lyrics. Of course this is not Kidd's fault, and her delivery of the medley makes the pathos of Bess' situation very clear.

It would be foolish to think that Kidd's voice is still, in her 60's, what it once was. But she uses it beautifully and in fact her somewhat fragile vocal quality lends credibility to songs that should only be sung by those who've been around awhile, whose own lives have been touched by loss, and hope, and love. Nigel Clark supports Kidd with gorgeous playing that help express the lyrics. Linn's engineering is first class, capturing her voice and his guitar to perfection (though those allergic to extraneous noises from the fingerboard might wish for a less intimate take). Turn off the lights, set the volume a bit lower than normal, and listen in as two old friends make wonderful music together.

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