Dora Hall

Down at Papa Joe's

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Dora Hall must have forgotten to take her Geritol the day Down at Papa Joe's was recorded, because she is in sore need of a dose of pep. Hall wasn't a great vocalist to begin with, but she was at least capable of exuding more personality than she does on these limp renditions of songs loosely based around a New Orleans theme. The result is very much like listening to someone's grandma sing karaoke. Unfortunately, Hall fails to deliver even the ironic pleasure a truly bad singer like Mrs. Miller can provide, since her performances aren't laughably rotten, just lackluster. Hall's recordings are most interesting when she makes daring choices in her repertoire, but the tepid Dixieland standards (and Dixieland treatments of standards) on Down at Papa Joe's are too much of what you'd expect from an elderly wannabe blinded by the spotlight. Hall sings "Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone," but, amazingly, the empress of Solo Cups continues to inspire a small cult following to this day.