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Songbird
     

Songbird

4.9 46
by Eva Cassidy
 

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Though many recording artists meld and straddle a variety of genres, few if any defy categorization by excelling in so many disparate styles as the late Eva Cassidy. The diverse offerings from the evocative thrush from Washington, D.C. -- who died tragically of melanoma in 1996 at age 33 -- run the gamut from the radio-friendly pop cover of Sting

Overview

Though many recording artists meld and straddle a variety of genres, few if any defy categorization by excelling in so many disparate styles as the late Eva Cassidy. The diverse offerings from the evocative thrush from Washington, D.C. -- who died tragically of melanoma in 1996 at age 33 -- run the gamut from the radio-friendly pop cover of Sting's "Fields of Gold" to a jazz chanteuse rendition of the standard "Autumn Leaves" to the soulful R&B of Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" to her spine-tingling gospel delivery of "Oh, Had I a Golden Thread." Cassidy's mastery of each is perhaps best evidenced by the fact that the Washington Area Music Association honored her (in 1996) as Best Female Vocalist in four separate categories: blues, contemporary jazz, traditional jazz, and roots rock/traditional R&B, in addition to naming her Artist of the Year, and her then-current release, Live at Blues Alley, Album of the Year. Songbird is a posthumous anthology culled from that album and her other solo release, Eva by Heart, along with one track from her 1992 duet album with Chuck Brown titled The Other Side. Though the production value on several songs falls well short of state of the art, the shimmering beauty of her crystal-clear voice, combined with her seemingly limitless range and imaginative phrasing, cuts through to both heart and soul. Whether she beckons a soothing timbre for seductively restrained passages or shakes the rafters by unleashing her formidable power and gorgeous falsetto, Cassidy's warblings always fuse her purity of tone with a purity of emotion and a palpable connection with the lyric. Though the songs described above are luscious, the coup de maître is the album's finale -- surely one of the great recordings in popular music of the time -- Cassidy's stunning version of "Over the Rainbow." Recorded with only her own accompaniment on acoustic guitar, keyboards, and synthesizer, Cassidy's voice swoops and soars over a musical panorama -- though with a wistful, melancholic shading that almost seems to betray a premonition of her own demise, despite the fact that it would be nearly four years before she would be diagnosed with her terminal illness. Cassidy more than rearranges the Judy Garland classic -- she reinvents it. The song is immediately familiar, yet the beautiful colors that arc the sky are very much hers. In an eerie coincidence, if one inverts the two words contained in the album's title, Songbird (which was taken from her straightforward rendition of the Fleetwood Mac cut), the result is "Bird Song." The irony is that "Bird Song" is the title of the Grateful Dead's ode to another phenomenal woman singer whose melodious flight was tragically cut short: Janis Joplin. One could argue that its lyrics and sentiment are equally apropos of Eva Cassidy.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/19/1998
Label:
Blix Street
UPC:
0739341004520
catalogNumber:
410045
Rank:
2768

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Songbird 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Probably my favorite Eva CD. She reminds me of my other favorite modern singer, Genie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The most incredibe singer I have ever heard. I've been a musician for many years and I have never heard a more souful singer than Eva Cassidy. Anybody can record a song but her very soul is bared right in fron of you and you can feel her hurt and also her faith in God. I have been through so many burdens and through so many trials this year but when I hear her sing it makes it all ok. Her song Wayfaring Stranger makes me think that all these trials that we go through in life will all be gone in the next. The Bible says that ''eye has not seen nor has ear heard nor has entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love him'' When I listen to wayfaring stranger I realize that we are only strangers here on Earth and one day God will wipe away every tear. This CD has really given me the strength to go on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
perhaps the most emotional musical experience for me. i have shared this cd with my friends(45-50 years), my sons friends(20-25)and my daughter(18) everyone was touched by this music and have passed it on to their friends and family. thank you eva, who now walks with the angels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My sister gave me this CD at Christmas and I have played almost nothing else since then. Eva's voice is nothing short of incredible. I can listen to her for hours on end. I love the title song "Songbird" (incl. the guitar solo) and "I love you by Heart" is awesome.
DebMN More than 1 year ago
I love Eva's voice. I am an instrumental music specialist and don't usually enjoy vocal music as much. She pours her soul into everything she sings. That is the essence of music making.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first heard of Eva on Nightline.I have songbird.I play the cd over & over.By far the best cd I own.I will purchase the other four.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first heard Eva Cassidy's stunning rendition of Fields of Gold on a local college radio station when I was driving to work. Shortly thereafter, I bought the Songbird CD. Eva Cassidy's voice is sweet, full of emotion, hope, and strength. Though she dabbles with a couple of upbeat cuts, her "finest hour" is when she sings ballads. A bit disappointing was her version of Curtis Mayfield's People Get Ready, which doesn't quite achieve its aim; it begs harmonies that are noticeably absent. Though all of her songs are pleasant, three cuts surpass the rest---'Fields, ' Over the Rainbow, and Johnny Mercer's Autumn Leaves. The lyrics and music of 'Autumn' speak of the indescribable pain of love lost--made more poignant and palpable by the waning days of autumn in Connecticut. On a lighter note, her version of Over the Rainbow is sweet and melodious, and would make the late, great Judy Garland proud. Eva sings of love and life. How unfortunate to have lost such a gem.
Guest More than 1 year ago
No matter what genre of music you prefer, it is impossible to ignore the depth of talent Eva had. She was blessed and we are blessed to be able to hear what she left behind. Her voice is rich, and her gift of self expression in song is unmistakeable. I dare the ''doubter'' to listen alone for just a moment.....
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately I can not buy a new Eva CD as I already have them all. Too many great renditions of classics by her to pick out one as my favorite, but "I Know You By Heart", "Over The Rainbow" and "Fields OF Gold" are a great place to start. What would she be singing for us now??
Guest More than 1 year ago
Eva Cassidy has a beautiful voice that brings tears to your eyes. Unfortunately I did not discover her music until after her death. I highly recommend this CD to anyone her enjoys REAL music!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Had never even heard of Eva but found this CD when searching for an interesting and more contemporary rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Listened to all the samples from this CD and then could hardly wait for its delivery. I've not been disappointed. Now knowing of her untimely death, can't help but mourn the world's loss of such a gift. If this was vinyl I would probably wear it out in less than a year. In those moments of the otherwise quiet darkness of the night while listening to this CD, she transports you to a higher state of grace. The voice of an angel who has found her place soothing the soul of heaven.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is hard to classify. It contains a little jazz, folk and pop but it has a melancholy beauty that's irresistable. A terrific voice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't remember where I heard about this CD but I just knew that I had to have it. After listening to it several times in the last day, I know why I was so driven to own it. Eva's voice is so pure, so spiritual...it touches my raw emotions and makes me feel something very special. It is hard to express these emotions in words so I would recommend listening to this CD and experiencing it. Although she is no longer here to sing for us in this world, I am grateful that she left her legacy...her awesome spirit though her music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was just recently introduced to Eva Cassidy's CD Songbird, (which is a compilation of some of her previously recorded songs) and let me tell you, she has a POWERFUL voice! Just thinking about the melodic sound of her voice brings chills to my arms. I was so moved emotionally by her singing. Her Songbird album is a little jazz, folk, blues, honky tonk, R&B, gospel, pop, classic rock all rolled up into one. I can't say enough about her. Her voice transcends racial lines and music genres. I'm a 51-year old African American female and the person who turned me on to her is a 55-year old African American female who was turned on to her by an African American male. She crossed over racial and gender lines and her music can never be called white music or black music, her voice and style is heart's music. It belongs to all of us! Oh how I wish that I could have had the pleasure of seeing her in concert. What a treat that would have been! The person who turned me on to her saw her in concert with Chuck Brown, and she speaks about it with such excitement in her voice as if she experienced it yesterday. Eva was a special musical gift to the world. I hope she knew that. It would be sad and a shame if she left this earth not knowing how special she was. Thanks Eva for not denying us the pleasure of your beautiful, soulful voice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My god. What a voice. I can't tell you how much this CD has changed me. By track 3 I had my baby girl in my arms and I was just weeping and singing to the sheer warmth of Ava's loving voice. Please say it isn't so that she is gone. The best CD I've ever owned. ever.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This lady sang with heart and passion. There is such a tone in her voice, a perfect pitch...Can't be described with my limited vocabulary. Favorite songs: Over the Rainbow and I Know You By Heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Each song is done so well, Songbird unsurpasses all. I play it over and over and weep to think this voice is no longer here. Thank goodness I bought this cd today.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If this music doesn't deeply touch you, nothing will. My spine just tingles and the emotions run rampid! I have purchased 3 cd's since buying the "Songbird" recording, no other artist like her! When playing the track "Wade in the Water", my two yr old saw me snapping my fingers to the beat and she was pointing a finger on each hand, had her eyes closed and was moving in rythim to the music for the entire song...if it can affect her, it can you as well. Enjoy
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you don't already love Eva Cassidy... get ready. Her voice is amazing and she has an incredible ability to sing such different types of music, which ironically enough is the very reason she had difficulty signing a recording contract... she refused to be categorized. This CD, along with "Songbird", are a must-have addition to your music collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was introduced to Eva's magical voice and worndeful interpretation of words by a friend during my stay in East Timor. Together we listen to the album "Songbird" - I had never before listen to such a magic voice, somehow my soul was singing with her. My friend give me the CD and her songs are a reference to a magical time in my life. When I am sad I listen to her. When I miss someone that I love I listen to her. Her voice has the magic to make my soul feel better. I believe that some people come to the world to make us understand the magical and beauty of life. She was one of them. Through her voice and her very unique way of interpreting the lyrics, I am able to reach my own spirituality in a very sensuous way. Songbird, Fields of Gold, Time Is a Healer, I Know You by Heart, are among the songs that mostly has touched my heart and life. Thank you Eva.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this CD without ever listening to any of the songs, which I never do. I fell in love the first few seconds of Fields of Gold. But that was nothing compared to what I felt when I heard Autumn Leaves, Over the Rainbow, and especially I Know You By Heart. I had my CD player on repeat for By Heart for an hour, and I couldn't get enough. You can hear the sobbing in her voice, and it brings you back to every time you have ever felt that aching in your heart. It makes you wonder why he ever left her, if she sang to him like that. Also, the restrained longing in Over the Rainbow. It is sung with such purity and feeling. It doesn't sound silly, the way she changes up the rhythm and melody a bit (the way some artists go overboard). I don't care much for gospel, bluesy music, however, her voice is compelling enough to make me listen to her tracks, Wade in the Water and Oh, Had I a Golden Thread. She has delightful range and a good understanding of how music should be sung. I would love her lilting voice even if she never had come to her untimely end. I'm glad we have something she left behind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What an excellent artist. It is so sad that she is no longer here, but this remembrance is a classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This CD is my absolute favorite. I have given it as gifts to many friends and they all love it. I love the song Songbird. Eva had the most beautiful voice of anyone I have heard. She will be missed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
its odd to think that such a beautiful and blessed person was made to die so young. there is no talent now that matches that of eva cassidys.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i recently discovered eva cassidy and her beautifully soulful voice when i first saw and heard figure skater michelle kwan skate to fields of gold for her exhibition prformance. i absolutely loved the song and i can feel the emotions in cassidy's voice. i love the other pieces on this album as well. highly recommend.