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Live at Blues Alley Live, Original recording reissued

301 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, Original recording reissued, July 28, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

When Eva Cassidy is swinging her way through "Cheek to Cheek" and getting down and bluesy on "Stormy Monday" on this live set from 1996, it's nigh impossible not to get swept up in her voice's vast, barreling force. Her full range, though, becomes most obvious--and soul-shaking--on the slower side, as with Paul Simon's "Bridge over Troubled Water," Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Tall Trees in Georgia," and "What a Wonderful World." On these latter tunes, Cassidy's mix of aching clarity and rich warmth has a melting quality, speaking through the body to some evanescent presence that she seems to know all too well. She improbably makes Sting's "Fields of Gold" an emotional powerhouse just as easily as she makes Billie Holiday's "Fine and Mellow" an offhand declaration of feeling equal to nearly anything in the jazz vocal canon. In doing so she earns her place among the great singers--artists who could take any song and stamp it indelibly as their own. What Eva Cassidy had in her short life was an unbelievably perfect voice and a musical soul that grasped gospel, folk, blues, jazz, and all points in between as if they were mere stops on a single train ride. Alas, her ride ended in 1996, tragically early. --Andrew Bartlett

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Cheek To Cheek
  2. Stormy Monday
  3. Bridge Over Troubled Water
  4. Fine And Mellow
  5. People Get Ready
  6. Blue Skies
  7. Tall Trees In Georgia
  8. Fields Of Gold
  9. Autumn Leaves
  10. Honeysuckle Rose
  11. Take Me To The River
  12. What A Wonderful World
  13. Oh, Had I A Golden Thread

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 28, 1998)
  • Original Release Date: 1997
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live, Original recording reissued
  • Label: Blix Street
  • ASIN: B000009PO2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (301 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,667 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 197 people found the following review helpful By Erik K on December 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD
You've heard people raving about Eva Cassidy, you've maybe heard some of her stuff, but which album to start with? This one. If you own an Eva album but not this one, what are you waiting for? This is her crowning glory, an album that starts with the swinging jazz of Berlin's Cheek to Cheek, wanders gently into more mellow territory with exceptional readings of Sting's Fields of Gold (until this album, I never realized what a great song this was) and Buffy St. Marie's Tall Trees in Georgia (a strong yet quavering vocal over a beautifully understated musical backing) and finishes off with the soulful Oh, Had I a Golden Thread (the only studio track on the album).
Her death was a great loss, as this album shows an artist entering true maturity. Though the other albums are good, they mostly pick over material that was left behind. There's not a bad performance or less-than-great song choice here. Her following is growing, though still not to the levels of other, less talented, female singers I could name. Buy this album. Spread the word.
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90 of 91 people found the following review helpful By booknblueslady on April 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Live at Blues Alley is a cd which displays the gifts of the late singer Eva Cassidy. Eva possessed a voice which was capable of a wide range of emotions. She sang with a sweetness and purity which was suitable for a variety of styles. Her emotion filled voice was wonderfully adaptable and she could sing blues, jazz and folk with equal skill. Eva had a gentle wistful voice which was both pleasant to listen to and suitable for her chosen songs. Joel Siegel states in a biographical clip that Eva "viewed her talent as a gift and an obligation."
This cd consists of a variety of songs which Eva performed at Blues Alley a Washington DC club in which she frequently performed. The range of songs include the jazzy Cheek to Cheek, blues of Stormy Monday, folk Tall Trees of Georgia, modern pop of Fields of Gold. Each of these Eva performed with precision and emotion. Eva was capable of powerful and emotional vocals as can be heard in Stormy Monday and A Bridge Over Troubled Waters as well as sad and soulful in her version of Fields of Gold. Tall Trees of Georgia written by Buffie St. Marie was a favorite of Eva's and she sang it with a delicate, sweet voice which had a surprising strength.
If you have not discovered Eva Cassidy yet, take the time to listen to her and understand the great talent she possessed.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By major music head on June 19, 2000
Format: Audio CD
the first time i ever heard eva cassidy was 3 years ago, on a local dc jazz station (which, sadly, has since gone off the air). it was the song "what a wonderful world," which i normally find cloying. but eva's clear, strong, beautiful vibrato cut through my work day and made me sit back and listen. wow. when i went to buy the cd at the store i was looking for an african-american woman on the cover. i was shocked to see a blue-eyed blonde, looking folkie and meek, on the cover. but my god, the woman has the soul, depth and power reserved for the best of the best, including mahalia and 1960s aretha.
this cd, all covers, ranges from swinging jazz to traditional folk to blues. eva handles it all with incredible control and taste, with real singing and not the pyrotechno crap you hear on the radio these days. her range inspires awe, especially on "golden thread," in which she reaches a note that would give anyone else a hernia. her interpretation skills are amazing; she manages to breathe new life into songs that have been covered hundreds of times. particular standouts are "autumn leaves," "tall trees in georgia" and "fields of gold," all of which will make you cry; "golden thread," which is as spiritual as any hymn; and "fine and mellow" and "cheek to cheek," which are fun and sexy. the band is also in top form, keeping the sound tight and crisp while giving eva the spotlight.
eva's passing robbed her of what surely would have been a big, long career, and us of an enduring talent. buy this cd and you will not be disappointed.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 1998
Format: Audio CD
When "Live at Blues Alley" was released in the spring of 1996, it because an immediate bestseller in the Washington DC area, and everyone who heard it knew -- not thought, KNEW -- that Eva Cassidy was going to be a big star. Only weeks later, however, she was diagnosed with melanoma and she died in November. It's a sad story, but this is not a sad CD, and "Live at Blues Alley" is probably the most upbeat of her albums. If you pass this one by because you already have a few of the songs (on "Songbird") you will miss out on the best recording ever of "What a Wonderful World" as well as a terrific down-home-gospel version of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a blithe and sunny "Honeysuckle Rose," and an eclectic bunch of others.
There's definitely a live album ambiance, as the title suggests. Eva introduces "What a Wonderful World" with a dedication to her parents -- particularly poignant when you know that "What a Wonderful World" was eventually the last music she sang in public, at a benefit concert the local music community held to help with her medical bills.
One of our local record stores had this apt summation: "Some artists have spent their entire careers in search of one good album -- Eva nailed it on her first try." This CD won many awards at the "Wammies" (Washington Area Music Association awards) including Album of the Year and Artist of the Year for Eva.
My opinion? Eva Cassidy is STILL going to be a big star, even though it's posthumously. Somebody in Hollywood is going to have the vision to use her heart-stopping performances in a romantic "date movie" (probably starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan), and maybe soon after that some of her unreleased studio recordings will make it onto another Eva album. Cross your fingers, and if you know anyone in the movie business, spread the word!
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