Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Don't Call Me Mama

I think as cabaret artists, we are always looking for the piece of music that is a little bit of a surprise and something no one else may have stumbled onto before. I got one such find via the Hennepin Library this week. I always search the new music CDs on order and saw one a month back for Cass Elliot from the Mamas & the Papas. I waited patiently until it arrived in my queue this week.

What a revelation. It is her last recording before she died, and not only that, it is a cabaret/club act that she was in the middle of developing called Don't Call Me Mama Anymore. It is recorded live at Mike Kelley's in Chicago and is everything we expect in a cabaret set and nothing at all that we would expect from her.

There is humorous patter & stories to set things up. I suspect there were plenty more on hand that were not included in the studio release which is sad, because they really let her personality shine. She opens with Pippin's "Extraordinary" with revamped lyrics by none other than Stephen Schwartz - so showtunes are represented. There is a great torch song medley. Classic songbook material. Original tunes written for her. And that voice - somewhere between the camp of the original Bette Midler and the chanteuse of Eydie Gorme. So glad I have added it to my library and so sad that we never got to see where this fine talent would have eventually landed. Give it a listen.

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