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"My Baby Just Cares for Me" and "That Old Black Magic" represent Leigh's entry to the great American songbook. Her delivery is highly polished antique, without ever being too reverent. "Cow Cow Boogie" gets into Lebo's Western Swing area, while "So Danco Samba" is Leigh's effective Latin nod. "Someday Baby," a loosely veiled take on Muddy Waters's "Trouble No More," is a layered blues that is almost too processed, but is, nevertheless, very effective. The guitars are thick and sinewy, the horns smoky and swinging.
But it is a different American Songbook, the one originating in Nashville and Austin rather than New York City and Los Angeles. Leigh and her find band transform the Patsy Cline standards "Crazy" and "Walkin' After Midnight," and Bobbie Gentry's "Ode to Billie Joe," into brisk Western Swing that complements "Cow Cow Boogie" very well. Leigh's rich and resonant alto infuses these songs with a dense, sensuous base, fecund and organic. The mood is not necessarily silky, but is, indeed, something else.
Track Listing: My Baby Just Cares For Me; That Old Black Magic; Cow Cow Boogie;
So Dance Samba; Someday Baby; Crazy; I Will; Ode To Billie Jo; Walkin'
After Midnight; You'll Never Walk Alone.
Personnel: Birdie Leigh: vocals; Kevin Chown: upright and electric bass; Avi Sills:
drums and percussion; Jeff Marshall: electric and acoustic guitars;
Quetzal Guerrero: violin; Paulie Cerra: tenor, baritone and alto
saxophones; Bill Steinway: piano, Fender Rhodes and keyboards.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.