Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Song of the Day: Eva Cassidy - True Colors

Ah, YouTube, you know me so well.  I was listening to some Brandi Carlile songs and you, YouTube, showed a number of other songs along the right side of the screen as you always do.  I hadn't listened to Eva Cassidy for a long time, but there she was.

I could post so many of her songs (I guess that's true of both Eva and Brandi), but let me pick this one for today.  As you know, my seven readers*, I loved Eva's version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time."  If not, click here: Songs of the Day: Eva Cassidy - Time After Time; Allison Crowe - Time After Time.  Well, here's another cover of one of Lauper's songs.

"Eva Cassidy- True Colours (Lyrics)"

And the original, by Lauper:
"Cyndi Lauper - True Colors"

Both versions are great.

If you don't know Eva Cassidy's story, consider reading this site:
Eva Cassidy Web Site (unofficial)

Lots of good links on that page, but here is one that caught my eye.  From the Boston Globe, back in 1999:
"Eva Cassidy's Gift" by Joan Anderman

She never signed with a major label--they didn't know how to categorize her, how to market her.  As if they needed to.
Indeed, Cassidy's subtle, but striking, innovations with familiar tunes were more than merely imaginative. With an intense purity of tone matched by an equally intense purity of emotion, Cassidy gave songs new life, even as hers was slipping away. Many thought she was black, so soulful was her way with a melody. But she sang jazz, gospel, folk, and pop with equal finesse, moving with ease from ''Autumn Leaves'' to Pete Seeger's ''Oh, Had I a Golden Thread'' to Curtis Mayfield's ''People Get Ready'' and sounding for all the world as if she were, by turns, a jazz diva, an earnest folk singer, and a fiery soul screamer.

And that, by all accounts, was Cassidy's curse as well as her blessing. An expansive musician whose love of song far exceeded her professional ambition, Cassidy refused to narrow her focus in order to make herself more marketable in an industry that's rigorously dedicated to stylistic niches. Plenty of record labels came calling; none had a clue what to do with a young woman who sounded like Judy Collins, Aretha Franklin, and Diana Krall rolled into one. ''She had a magnificent voice. The problem was she could sing a telephone directory, but she didn't have a musical point of view,'' says Bruce Lundvall, president of Jazz and Classics for Capitol Records, who considered signing her to the Blue Note label in 1994. Instead, Lundvall paired Cassidy with Pieces of a Dream, a Philadelphia pop-jazz unit, in the spring of 1994, trying to find some way to develop her as an artist. But the union was misguided and, following two singles and a tour, ultimately unsuccessful. ''I have to admit I'm guilty of passing on a brilliant career. We couldn't figure out what she was, and I blame myself. I talked to her on her deathbed and told her I'd made a terrible mistake. She said `God bless you.' She never harbored resentment.''
The end of the story sums things up well.
Young, who originally framed Cassidy's brief career as a tragedy, has changed her view. ''I remember when we first aired the story, we had a substitute jock who heard it in her car on the way to work,'' Young explains. ''She came bursting into the studio while I was still on the air and said, `No, no, you're wrong about this. It was a miracle that her voice was recorded at all. It's not a loss. It's a gift.'''

Eva, you were taken from us far too soon.

*estimated readership