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Music Monday on Wednesday: Kiko and the Lavender Moon

Did I not do a Music Monday last week? OK, Music Monday for this week is Lea DeLaria’s cover of “Kiko and the Lavender Moon”.

I think I saw Lea DeLaria as a stand-up comic, opening for the Flirtations, back in the twentieth century. I think I may have seen her at the Castro Street Fair a few years previous to that, but it was outside, I was shopping around, and it could well have been some other comic doing a bull-dyke persona. For that matter, it may not have been her I saw with the Flirtations. I’m pretty sure they were the Flirtations, though.

Anyway. I had heard that she was becoming successful in musical theater and even legit theater, and that she had a couple of albums, but frankly (or do I mean phrankly?), it never occurred to me that she might be any good. I had picked up the cast album for the Rocky Horror Show revival in which she played Eddie and Dr. Scott; I wasn’t really happy with the whole album, and I didn’t like her Dr. Scott at all. But, you know, with that sort of thing, maybe you had to be there.

Well, and I was with the Youngest Member and my Perfect Non-Reader at the library, and the PN-R was sitting with a stack of books downstairs in the Children’s Section, and I risked the wrath of the librarian by leaving her there All By Herself while I went upstairs with the Youngest Member to try to get something for my own good self. And that didn’t work out real well. You know how that is? But I did grab Ms. DeLaria’s Double Standards, because, you know, free, and I don’t have to like it.

And then I stuck it in the car, in that spot with the other CDs, and I listened to Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions all week, because damn. This isn’t a Music Monday about that album, but damn. That shit is boss. And then I thought I would just put Double Standards in and give it a quick listen to a track or two before giving it back to the library.

The first track is “Dancing Barefoot”, the Patti Smith song, and it was pretty darned good. Ms. DeLaria has a bit of a Betty Roche sound, bebop rather than swing, and she scats with a terrific rhythmic sense. And her band is fantastic. She’s got Christian McBride playing bass for her! I mean, seriously. Gil Goldstein is on the piano and Bill Stewart is on drums. So we’re talking major-league rhythm section, heavily steeped in bebop, and capable of swinging hard or stretching out. The song went on perhaps a trifle too long, right on the edge of noodling rather than going anywhere, but it still had a good sound.

And the second track is a cover of Los Lobos. Now, “Kiko and the Lavender Moon” is an awesome song to begin with, and the idea of covering it with a jazz combo doesn’t necessarily strike me as a good idea to begin with. On the other hand, Ms. DeLaria isn’t altogether in the good idea business; her earlier album has a jazz combo cover of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd” which you can listen to on her MySpace page, and it is a very bad idea indeed, but a lot of fun to listen to. And the whole album is covers of songs that don’t cry out for jazz combo covers (“Tattooed Love Boys”?), so that’s the point,really. And some of them work, and some, not so much.

This one works. This one is dance around the living room good. You’ve got to hear this good. Which is what Music Monday is for, right?

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

I'll have to check it out.

Hey, you sass that hoopy Madeleine Peyroux? She's one hoopy frood who really knows where her towel is. Plus, she makes good jazz records.

peace
Matt


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