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The Blue Room CD
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THE BLUE ROOM features Madeleine reinterpreting songs from Ray Charles seminal album MODERN SOUNDS IN COUNTRY & WESTERN MUSIC, as well as others from legendary artists such as Randy Newman and Leonard Cohen, whose legacies are herein enveloped into a similar melting pot of the variety of American popular song.
Released in the summer of 1962, MODERN SOUNDS was a daring album for Charles as it broke the mold of what was expected from him, and in turn, truly represented artistic freedom something that clearly inspires Peyrouxs album THE BLUE ROOM.
Conceived and produced by the legendary GRAMMY-Award winner Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Herbie Hancock), he says, Rays cultural landmark of an album has always been a part of me. I have loved this album ever since I can remember and I knew that Madeleine would be the perfect voice to bring it to the forefront again.
Reexamining this album is an ideal project for the multi-talented Madeleine Peyroux, because she comes from that same rare place as Ray Charles the junction of jazz, country and blues. The Brooklyn and Paris-bred artist, with a New Orleans pedigree, Peyrouxs soulfully piercing voice and eclectic musical mix makes for magnificent story-telling. And that is exactly what each of the songs on THE BLUE ROOM does tell a story but from her own perspective. Infusing her own vision and reinterpretation of the songs with modern sensibility, Peyroux brings elements of jazz, country and blues into each song, while evoking a depth of emotion and sound of such legends as Billie Holiday, Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf, and Bob Dylan.
Featuring sparse arrangements, each of the 11 tracks on the album sets a tone and mood that respects where the originals came from, but offers a modern reinterpretation of each song. Truly an inspired record, THE BLUE ROOM features five other tracks that Madeleine felt could accompany Charles seminal album.
Top Customer Reviews
I'd say if you're the casual Peyroux fan you may want to take pause before immediately buying the whole thing here. While she delivers with her voice, there's just nothing I would consider "spectacular." But Peyroux has never been about flash, and this album is one that after the first few tracks I found myself quite entranced. Her voice is just so pure.
So while this isn't my preferred instrumentation, her voice comes across beautifully especially on a couple tracks:
"Guilty," Madeleine brings her own tonality to this Randy Newman tune and gives it a slight country twist. The song doesn't progress or plateau, but she's extraordinary here, with good range and vibrance.
"Bye Bye Love," Classic Everly Brothers song written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant...this is a swanky, bluesy version of the song and she does it more than justice. My favorite instrumentation on the album and I really like that Peyroux comes up a little above her normal "low-key" nature here.Read more ›
I suppose she is trying to update her image by tackling songs from the 60s-70s. However, the songs - particularly Bird on the Wire and Gentle on My Mind - do not fit Peyroux's very mannered and polished style. She tends to take liberties with the melody. Because every note is so precise, I have no doubt that her choices are deliberate and even rehearsed, but for me they just don't work, particularly on these two songs. The effect is like sitting in a cabaret listening to a singer who looks great but is a bit off-key. I actually winced a few times listening to these two songs.
For me the most successful track on this album is You Don't Know Me. It's more adaptable to a variety of genres and styles. I am reminded of Meryl Streep in Postcards from the Edge, being urged to sing, and she sits down at the piano and pulls out this song. It's a good song for Madeleine because there is not an iconic version out there, it's a song that's been covered a lot and hers could end up being your favorite version.
I really do applaud Madeleine Peyroux. There's no one else like her. She sounds so much like Billie Holiday sometimes, but her image feels so carefully cultivated and totally her own. I'm wavering between 2 and 3 stars on this record. I'm going with 2. I feel like the song choices set her up for failure. This may be one of those records that I like better with repeated listening. I will try it again in the future when I get in a Madeleine Peyroux mood. There are definitely those moods - just disappointed with this particular record.
I love almost all of her CD's, but could not get a grasp on "Bare Bones" or "Standing on the Rooftop." But until "The Blue Room" there has not been a 100% faultless gem of musical choices. This is it. Absolutely great from the first notes to the last, a gorgeously original fusion of post-modern jazz/blues with a tinge of country. Whoever thought the song "Gentle On My Mind" could bring tears to your eyes? I cannot stop listening to it. Even the CD booklet is a work of art.
Visit the lovely, lonely "Blue Room." You'll never want to leave. Thank you, producer Larry Klein and Madeleine for this extraordinary recording.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
THIS IS PEYROUX AT HER BEST. SHE IS LIKE ONE OF THE GREAT SONGSTRESSES OF THE PAST; A MODERN MARLENE DIETRICH. EVERY SONG IS SENSUOUS.Published 2 months ago by BRIAN
What was Madeleine thinking? These songs and the musical arrangements is not her. She sounds lost here and I don't mean in a bluesy sense. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Barry J. Berrettoni
It's not terrible because of Madeleine's gorgeous voice. But narcolepsy is the dominant theme. Not bluesy, not mysterious, not dreamy, just half-asleep and pretty boring. Read morePublished 10 months ago by PoetMike
Didn't realize this was a "covers" album - of course I should have read about it before buying. Prefer her usual style.Published 12 months ago by psychlist