Lori Donato: The Road Ain't No Place for a Lady (2002)
The title of Lori Donato's debut CD does not imply that with the difficulties in traveling these days, people should stay home. Rather it means that if you're not one of the top singers in the country, but a chanteuse good enough to make a go of it on the road, the places you may find yourself working in from time to time may not be clubs where one finds proper ladies...at least not that kind of working lady. So you had better watch yourself, particularly in dark corners. Lori Donato gives the impression with the kind of tough tunes she has selected to sing for this album that she can handle herself quite nicely in those situations. Including a touch of the International in the musical agenda, she sings about the blues in Brazil, "Rio De Janeiro Blue". Torch songs such as "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" pepper the list. Other tunes that capture the wandering lyricist nature of the album are "No More Blues", "I've Never Been to Me" and her own "The Road Ain't No Place for a Lady" and even a lullaby. One wishes that Donato would find at least a semi permanent gig because she certainly has the chops to make a go of it. While the voice is what I call "bluesy mature", it's on key, knows the importance of phrasing, blessed with good diction and is simply nice to listen to.
The bulk of musical backup is supplied by Gil Lei's expressive but unmeddling pianism with a rhythm section of Jack Le Compte, Tom Lilly, and Wilfred Middlebrooks (a name I haven't heard since the days he was part of Ella's combo.) This is a good initial effort and is recommended. To check out more about Donato, go to www.lentriola.com/images/lmlmusic/donato.htm .
Track Listing: Night Life; Don't Go to Strangers; The Road Ain't No Place for a Lady; Rio De Janeiro Blue; In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; I Can't Quit You; Broken Down Kitchen Blues; Ninety-Nine Miles from L. A.; I Don't Want Nothin' from Nobody; No More Blues; Two for the Road; I've Never Been to Me
Personnel: Lori Donato - Vocals/Piano; Gil Leib - Piano; Tom Lilly, Wilfred Middlebrooks - Bass; Jack Le Compte - drums; Joanne Montana, Marta Woodhull