Freda Payne

Live in Concert

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Freda Payne is visually (check out the cover photo) and musically spellbinding on this awesome showcase. The 19 tracks give her room to strut her stuff and she doesn't disappoint on this palate consisting primarily of pop standards. She revisits her chart-making early-'70s days with strong deliveries of "Band of Gold," "Cherish What Is Dear to You," "Bring the Boys Home," "Through the Memory of My Mind," and "The Road We Didn't Take"; Sherrie Payne's (Freda's sister) shimmering vocal runs accentuate the latter. The five old-school tracks flow sequentially from selections five to nine, with the tenth re-addressing the CD's middle-of-the-road theme with a serving of three Duke Ellington entrees: "It Don't Mean a Thing," "Take the 'A' Train," and "In a Sentimental Mood." Every song's a highlight, but a couple of standouts are Payne's sassy update of Alberta Hunter's "Rough and Ready Man" and a medley where she impersonates Eartha Kitt, Billie Holiday, and others, eliciting howls, cheers, and ecstatic clapping from the audience.

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