Friday, May 21, 2010

Lori Ludy - The Cat's Pajamas

If you've never seen Lori Ludy live, you have missed a treat.  She's goofy and fun, she's serious and riveting.  You can find her on myspace to check out upcoming gigs and listen to some of her music, or you can buy a great kid's CD on cdbaby.

I should warn you up front, that this CD that I'm reviewing is not a kid's album, and some songs would not be playable on broadcast radio.  Lori has a tasty raunchy side that comes out at late shows without kids, and some of the songs she would do at a concert for adults are on this CD. 

What people love most about Lori Ludy is her big dramatic bluesy voice and great guitar playing on her '36 Gibson.  She writes and plays music in the stylings of the 30s and 40s--everything from blues to romantic ballads to novelty songs.   I don't want to lead you astray, she's not some wannabe pretending to be able to do this music, she is the real thing.  Had she been around back then she would have had steady work with her choice of bands.  I also don't want to lead you astray and make you think that this is all she does.  She sings Motown, and rock and folk and everything else.  She's a powerhouse.

Her singing blows people away.  She can emote anything.   And I'm talking with voice and guitar.  She leads a band, Purple Hat, and plays with some ad-hoc groups, but the work on this CD is close to the experience when you see her performing live at a solo gig.  She takes advantage of the studio environment to do some layering, so when you hear great harmony, that's her on every part.  The only thing you miss from a live performance is the adoration and riotous applause of her audiences.

This CD is produced by, recorded by, mixed by, sung by, and played by the immensely talented Lori Ludy.  The only hesitation I had about reviewing it is that you can't get it on-line.  You have to contact her (maybe message her on myspace), or find her performing live to buy it.  Nevertheless, it's such a significant piece that I decided finally to review it.

I can heartily recommend that you get this CD if you can.  Like most performers, the energy of the crowd gets great live performances out of Lori, but given that, she also does a great studio album.  The production is great, and every song is a gem.  I was particularly fond of the novelty song, Why Settle For One, which starts off with a sweet voice reminiscent of Rosemary Clooney, quickly dips into raunchy double entendre, and near the end asks for a revolving door for her bedroom!  There's not a weak song on this CD, so, figure out how to buy it!

The Cat's Pajamas - This is a terribly unkind song.  Trust me, you don't want to be the guy that Lori is singing about here.  The production is flawless, and the song is crazily funny.  Nice work.

The Answer - You do want to be the guy she's singing about here.  The vocals are in the close harmonic style of the Andrew Sisters.  The singing is great, and what could be greater than a song with a lyric, "I see dinner dancing toward me!"

Back Home - This road trip song is told backward, and glorifies the joys of coming home.

Baby, What Can I Say? - What a great love song.  All about missing someone you care about.

Evil Eyes - All about fatal attraction to someone you shouldn't be with, but can't resist.  Probably my second favorite.

Just You - A grand romantic ballad.

It's You're Fault - Starts and ends with only percussion and vocal, but has nice sensitive guitar in the middle.  Dark song of despair and loss.  Really painful to listen to if you've experienced loss, but you come out of it, somehow, feeling better.

If You Were My Man - Daydreaming about a guy.  Sweet song, wondering what they would do, and whether it would work out.

Pussy With an Apron - Dramatic bluesy song, full of pain and straight talking, about not being seen for the talented complete person you are.  It's easy to see that Bessie Smith and Billy Holiday are influences.

Why Settle For One? - Funny, funny, song.  People asked her to get this recorded
 for years.  It's reminiscent of great novelty songs of the forties and fifties.

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