Cindy Benson

Out on a Whim

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For her debut album, Cindy Benson has decided to have fun with several tunes on the play list, in the tradition of that incomparable comedienne of song, Bea Lillie. With the first cut, Benson shows she understands that cabaret is not limited to solemn renderings which describe the vicissitudes of finding love, then losing it. Cabaret is supposed to be fun too, and there's some right from the outset with a comic description of the ups and downs, mostly downs, of having "Pets." Another bright, upbeat, rarely heard tune is "Mr. Right," from a two-act vaudeville collaboration of Alan Jay Lerner and Kurt Weill. Benson can deliver a ballad without undue emoting that would be out of place here. She shows that with an a cappella opening verse to "More Than You Know" before being joined by the entire company, including some nice sax by John Yoakum. The variety found on this CD is no doubt due to the fact that Benson has a one-woman show of the same name, where she has to keep the audience's interest for about two hours. The presentation must be varied to keep people coming back. The show has been the recipient of two Los Angeles Dramalogue Awards. Benson is apt to change tempos and vocal registers in the middle of the tune and by doing so, does a 180-degree turn in her delivery. "Mr. Paganini (If You Can't Sing It, You'll Have to Swing It)" goes from sopranic pleading to falsetto down in the chest jest. It brings to mind the antics Betty Hutton used to employ. Benson is joined by house pianist John Boswell, whose playing stays within itself, thereby not overwhelming the singer. This is an excellent addition to the cabaret discography and is highly recommended.

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