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Eva Marie Cassidy tragically died in 1996 at the age of 33 as the result of cancer.
She was a folk, jazz type singer with a soothing soprano voice. She often sang whilst playing her acoustic guitar and was also an accomplished keyboard player.
I am going to go against the grain here and say that in my opinion she was a good singer, a very talented artist and pleasant to listen to, but not an all time great.
Her death in 1996 created an extra interest in her work that wasn't there to such an extent while she was alive. Notably Terry Wogan played her version of "Over The Rainbow" on his popular BBC2 Radio Show; a show that has a core listening audience of "middle of the road music" fans.
This airplay and similar publicity elsewhere in the world helped raise the awareness of the listening public to her work and she began to win posthumously given awards for some of her work.
It is not uncommon for an artist's work, in many areas of the arts, to become more sought after, to gain a mystique about it or to become more valuable after their death.
This in my opinion is what happened. Eva Cassidy's work did not suddenly improve. What changed was people's perception.
My perception is that her songs are quite boring to listen to. I attempted to listen to the whole album in one go but couldn't because it lacks any spark.
If you are looking for some pleasant background music to have a soak in the bath to or for when you are having some introspective time to yourself then maybe.
But the music is not interesting to listen to, not entertaining and not uplifting.
Taking "Over The Rainbow" as an example, Patti Labelle's and Shayne Ward's versions are far better.
Autumn Leaves on this album is just depressing to listen to. Songbird is boring and Fields Of Gold Is Average.
Maybe I am missing the point here, perhaps the music is supposed to be dull and depressing.
Full track listings:
1. Fields Of Gold
2. Wade In The Water
3. Autumn Leaves
4. Wayfaring Stranger
6. Time Is A Healer
7. I Know You By Heart
8. People Get Ready
9. Oh Had I A Golden Thread
10. Over The Rainbow
Eva Cassidy was an American singer/song writer from Maryland. Her unique style was mainly based around blues and jazz, producing some amazingly touching, easy listening tracks for everyone to enjoy. Tragically, this talented musicians life and career was cut short when she died of cancer at only 33. After her death was when her music became more well known gaining her music a lot of fans. It's a shame that she didn't get more time because she would have been hugely sucessful given the chance. So far, 11 of Eva Cassidy's albums have been released:
The Other Side (1992)
Live At Blues Ally (1997)
Eva By Heart (1997)
Time After Time (2000)
No Boundaries (2000)
Method Actor (2002)
American Tune (2003)
Wonderful World (2004)
1. Fields Of Gold
2. Wade In The Water
3. Autumn Leaves
4. Wayfaring Stranger
6. Time Is A Healer
7. I Know You By Heart
8. People Get Ready
9. Oh, Had I A Golden Thread
10. Over The Rainbow
**MY FAVOURITE TRACKS**
**1. Fields Of Gold**
This is one of the most emotional, amazing blues song that I have ever heard. When I heard Sting's original version I really didn't like it that much. When I heard the version that Eva made i was completely blown away. She brings so much more depth and emotion to the track and really makes it her own. It's not an up beat happy song but a classic track that every blues fan should own. Also, the guitar that Eva does on this track is amazing!! I would rate this track 10/10.
What can I say about this song apart from WOW. Another work of art by this amazing musician. There's no editing, no miming, just Eva, her outstanding voice and a guitar. This track, like the majority of the album is very relaxing and easy to listen to and again has a very bluesy feel. The chorus is just amazing, her voice is filled with emotion. 10/10.
**10. Over The Rainbow**
I absolutely HATED this song before I'd heard the version that Eva made. She really brings this song to life with an incredible blues feel and heart felt lyrics that are garanteed to help you relax. Againg, I'd just like to mention the guitar, Eva is so talented and her guitar playing is fantastic! 10/10.
For anyone who likes jazz, blues or easy listening music, this album is a must own. Each track is completely original and there is not one bad song on the whole album. This album would be perfect for background music at a garden party or if you want something relaxing to listen to. Overall, 10/10 without a doubt!
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Eva Cassidy is a woman who had an amazing voice but it would not be until after her sad death from cancer that she would become world known. She spent years singing in pubs and recording backing vocals for more established singers and finally one of the producers at a studio she had sang at recognised what an amazing voice she had and would record heart every available opportunity. Eva made her first album in 1996, title The Other Side' but it would not become known publicly and outside of her community until after her death. Due to the amount of song she had recorder in the studio further albums have been made using these recordings and this one I am reviewing is called Songbird.
This album has been made up using song which have already been released on albums including, The Other Side, Live at the Blues Alley and Eva by Heart. The track on Songbird include:-
Fields of Gold
Wade in the Water
Time is a Healer
I Know you by Heart
People Get Ready
Oh, Had I a Golden Thread
Over the Rainbow
All of the songs are from a mixture of ballads to swing sounding tracks and even a gospel sounding song which features the use of a church organ. The mix is great and I do not feel like any of the tracks seem out of place on this album. I like the fact that this album is not just full of ballads but also shows the range of Eva's talent and vocal ability with the different mix and tempo songs.
I have to admit that there is a few songs on here which I had never heard before listening to them from here but now I have heard them several times they really are growing on me. I was never really a big fan of Eva Cassidy as I had never really taken the time to listen to her before buying this but I am so glad I have listened to this as I do like her voice and style.
My personal favourite has to be Over the Rainbow as she sings this with such emotion and her wonderful voice just seems to make the song sound magical. I have to admit I do try to sing along with all the songs, albeit not very well, but I definitely sing this one at the top of my voice and my boys think I am crazy!
It is such a shame that Eva passed away to cancer before she found out how big and successful she had become but I think her parents should definitely be proud of her. She definitely does have the voice of an angel in my ears.
I paid just under £5 for this from Amazon so do shop around as I have seen this still over £10 in certain shops.
This CD was made in 1998 by Blix Street Records.
I recommend this CD to all fans of Eva or people who enjoy nice easy listening music.
Eva Cassidy ~ "Songbird" £8.99 on Amazon and via iTunes
Used versions of the album can be purchased for less.
I swore to myself about a month ago that I wouldn't review this album, as I had read a review on it on Ciao that I felt I possibly couldn't better, but it is truly a great album that never fails to move me ... not too far, just a couple of feet across the room as if by magic. I haven't trawled back through my "Exceptional" ratings to see who wrote the review and what their comments were, as it would not - in my opinion - allow me to write a review based purely upon my thoughts and feelings if I re-read the piece at this stage. Anyway I thought, it's not about "bettering" someone else's review but more adding additional weight to existing views, which will allow potential consumers to make a more balanced buying decision, or not as the case may be.
I must admit my musical tastes are truly from one extreme to the other. My University friends used to marvel at how I could go from listening to hardcore gabba techno one minute, to Mariah Carey the next, then Pink Floyd, onto Dr. Dre, then to the Beatles, Classical and then on to something like Drum & Bass ~ my only explanation was that my moods changed that quickly and thus needed music to suit my mood! The Doctors said that I needed committing and you all just thought that I played such a convincing role as an extra in "One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest"!
In truth, I don't always realise what mood I am in until I start playing a specific album or artist, and I can quickly realise that my selection doesn't necessarily suit my mood and I require something more mellow or maybe more up-tempo.
At the moment, this particular album is my most played and tonight I have it on repeat play and am just half way through the 3rd rendition! Bored? Nope ... each time I listen to this album, I feel genuinely moved and discover a whole new dimension to it. It's perfect for late night chilling and great for writing ... very soothing and I can actually find it quite spiritual!
Sadly, Eva died of Melanoma in 1996 at the very tender age of 33, but her music still lives on and the term "angelic" voice almost takes on a whole new meaning to me now.
She was born "Eva Marie Cassidy" on 2 February 1963 in Maryland, USA, to Hugh and Barbara Cassidy, along with three siblings. It's funny how when you read stories concerning many popular and successful musicians, how their parents unseeingly had such a profound affect on their children's lives by encouraging music from such an early age. When Eva was nine years of age, her father bought her a guitar, and she began to play, particularly at family gatherings. The solution to poverty is simple, give your child a flute or guitar or some other cheap musical instrument, like the triangle and bingo years later they will be a multi selling platinum artist. If only it was that simple hey?! My Dad give me a football and instead I am sat here drinking cider and writing instead of sleeping before performing in a big game tomorrow. Ah well!
It's odd how some people are revered more posthumously than in life itself and I find it more shocking than a room full or Labour Senior Ministers that Eva Cassidy was virtually unknown outside of her native Washington DC until after her tragic and untimely death. My Father first asked me whether I had heard the song "Songbird" by Eva Cassidy about a year and a half ago, to which I responded "Eva who?". I can honestly say that I was not prepared for what I heard and quite literally staggered back onto a seat to listen to her soulful angelic voice. The clarity of her voice is astonishing and I think we were all blessed that she recorded at all.
Eva Cassidy was extremely shy and struggled to perform in front of strangers, despite her early captive family audience, which some may have felt could have built her confidence.
At eighteen, she began playing guitar and singing for a band by the name of Easy Street in Washington DC., before writing and also recording songs with a couple of different bands, such as The Honeybees and Characters Without Names.
Eva Cassidy recorded her first commercial album "The Other Side", as a duet with Chuck Brown (A "Go-Go" singer), and it included Eva's signature song "Over The Rainbow", featured on the "Songbird" album.
Songbird ~ The Album
Songbird is a compilation album of Eva Cassidy songs, released two years after the singers death at the end of 1998. It's essentially an introduction to the singers' music, compiled from 3 separate albums; Live At Blues Alley, Eva By Heart and The Other Side.
1) "Fields of Gold" (4:42)
2) "Wade In The Water" (4:02)
3) "Autumn Leaves" (4:41)
4) "Wayfaring Stranger" (4:26)
5) "Songbird" (3:43)
6) "Time Is A Healer" (4:16)
7) "I Know You By Heart" (3:59)
8) "People Get Ready" (3:16)
9) "Oh, Had I A Golden Thread" (4:49)
10) "Over The Rainbow" (4:57)
The album is mostly acoustic with use of smooth, soft and gentle guitar strings, accompanied by a blend of high and low mixed piano notes, and the hauntingly angelic voice of Eva Cassidy. I don't think any words I could ever write or say could ever do justice to the sheer majesty and crystal angelic quality of Eva's voice. She was truly blessed and it is evident in her singing. There are certain tracks on the album that demonstrate her diverse repertoire of blues, folk, gospel, pop and jazz.
1) "Fields of Gold" ~ Eva's angelic voice adds a new dimension to this song for me. I loved this song as a "Sting" song and had never heard of Eva's version prior to falling in Love with the version "Sting" produced. I have always found that when you like a song, it is rare that you like another version "better" than the original version you heard, whether that is the "original" recording or not. I had this issue when I adored Mariah Carey's version of "Without You" and could subsequently never completely appreciate the majesty of the original by Harry Nilsson, until some years later.
The gentle strumming of guitar and completely acoustic approach to this track bring an added mellow and more solemn feel to this song, the magic of which differs somewhat from Sting's performance, which is much happier and more summery in it's slightly more complex composition.
The song is ultimately about courtship, commitment, marriage and then death, and - so I have been reliably informed - is one of Stings' wife's most favourite songs.
2) "Wade In The Water" ~ Quite a folk and jazz influenced track, with excellent use of the "Sax-a-ma-phone" !! (tehe). It's funny that although this song is not featured in the film "O'Brother Where Art Thou", I almost feel it should. For anyone who has seen the film, they may know what I am getting at. For those who haven't it is based on Homer's Odyssey (No, not the yellow cartooned King Of Comedy), and this has been described as a slave song.
The song centres on redemption and baptism as the form of washing away the sins ~ wading in the water.
3) "Autumn Leaves" ~ A very sombre song, with fabulous use of plucking guitar strings and soft piano notes, to harmonise beautifully with Eva's soulful tones.
A song, purely and simply about death, focusing upon how the dearly departed mourns and misses their loved ones passing ~ "But I miss you most of all my darling, When Autumn leaves start to fall".
4) "Wayfaring Stranger" ~ Quite a jazz and blues orientated influenced track, and a little more up-tempo than the preceding tracks with a more obvious use of percussion and heavier guitar strumming. It's evidently more complex than the other tracks, yet peaks and troughs gradually with moments for chilling.
5) "Songbird" ~ It is hard to find a highlight to such a magnificently pure album, but for me this is where Eva truly comes into her own!
"For you there will be no crying ."
It is a truly moving song and can bring some close to tears. It's all about love and commitment people and I must admit, this has quickly become one of my favourite ever songs and feel it is truly wonderful.
6) "Time Is A Healer" ~ Greater use of piano in this song and a more contemporary folk song in it's composition.
The title gives away the theme of the song . "Love heals the wounded man "
7) "I Know You By Heart" ~ Another of the more magical soulful songs on the album, combining her angelic voice with slow pluck guitar strings and soft piano playing.
A song about a love that has been lost to death, and is reflective upon the time they shared together and their closeness as soul mates "I Know you by heart".
8) "People Get Ready" ~ A religious song centring upon faith and the belief in Jesus Christ as the saviour of humanity in the form of a train destined for the holy land (in this case, Jordan), as a euphemism for Heaven.
9) "Oh, Had I A Golden Thread" ~ A very soulful folk orientated song using piano and what sounds like an accordion and organ at one stage. A more noticeable use of percussion with this song.
10) "Over The Rainbow" ~ The song barely needs an introduction, as it so well known. This is truly the best I have ever heard the song performed.
It is Eva's signature tune without doubt. A beautifully paced guitar intro builds into the first tones uttered from Eva's voice box. This is a very mellow and sombre song, which again almost draws tears from the listener.
I truly feel Eva has done this song absolute justice and hairs stand up at the back of my neck when she passionately belts out the end of the song.
· Audio CD (19 May 1998)
· Original Release Date: (31 March 1998)
· Number of Discs: 1
· Label: Blix Street
· Catalog Number: 10045
· ASIN: B000006AKD
· Also Available in: Audio Cassette | LP Record
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Although this is not my favourite in all 9 releases of her albums this one seems to be the best known. This should be classed as her Greatest Hits album as most of the songs can be found on the other albums Live At Blues Alley and Eva By Heart.
Released in 1998 this CD eventually topped the charts. I have just read the Songbird book that I received and you could not belive how long it actually took for the album to get noticed. After being turned down by the BBC radio station several times, the CD was eventually heard by Terry Wogan who played some songs on Radio 2. He was inundated with e-mails asking who it was singing but she still didn't even make it to number 75 in the charts. sales were steady and came in shorts bursts so they needed TV coverage so tried to get it on TOTP2 with still no luck since 'Over The Rainbow' was a rather bad home made recording. When November came, and the anniversary of Eva's death, they finally played it and thousands and thousands of orders we placed for the album which gradually climbed the charts (this was in 2000 and it had been first released in 1998!). The album made number 3 and then finally reached number 1.
This album was the first in my collection of Eva CDs. After hearing it so many times at school played by a teacher, the voice just grabbed me and I had to buy the album. My personal favourites are My personal favourites are 'I know you by heart' and 'Songbird' to which I have many happy memories, as do so many people throughout the world.
For those of you that have never heard of Eva before she is an amazing singer who unfortunately died too young from Melanoma (skin cancer). She loved the outdoors and did not carry on with her check ups after having a mole removed. She died at the age of 33 and although she never managed to break the music industry when she was still alive, she certainly is now. The reason Eva did not make it when she was still here was the fact that she never fitted into a specific music genre no one would accept her for this although there were a few close chances, it never happened. She has such a varied style soft rock in her early days as part of Method Actor, Gospel, folk, country, jazz
This is definitely one for the collection and will continue to be a success and will always remain timeless.
1. Fields of Gold
2. Wade in the Water
3. Autumn Leaves
4. Wayfaring Stranger
6. Time is a Healer
7. I Know You by Heart
8. People Get Ready
9. Oh, Had I A Golden Thread
10. Over the Rainbow
INFORMATION ON EACH SONG:
1. Fields of Gold was first made a hit by Sting. Eva has managed to completely change the way the song was originally sung and has made it her own. This can also be found on Live At Blue Alley. Written by Sting, this song is widely known as one of her finest pieces. About two people very much in love and who lie together in the fields of barley and dont care about anything else. The song then moves on to a later time when they now have children and they will always be remembered in that special place.
2. Wade in the Water can be found on Eva By Heart. Traditional arr. Eva Cassidy, Only a scratch vocal that is about God and the children coming into the world.
3. Autumn Leaves can be found on Live At Blues Alley and also on Live At Pearls (Live version only available through WinMX). Written by Jacques Prévert/Johnny Mercer/Joseph Kosma and is actually a French song. The song was originally written for Les Portes de la nuit and has also been covered by Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington Set when the summer has just passed a lover remembers his/her loved one as having a tan and then they are no longer around. Those happy times have passed and each day is growing longer. The time is now autumn and they are watching the leaves fall The time when they most miss the person.
4. Wayfaring Stranger can be found on Eva By Heart. It is also Trad. Arr. Eva Cassidy. This is another of her scratch vocals. I love the version of this that can be found on live at Pearls although it is slightly different.
5. Songbird is another song made famous by Eva. The song can be heard on the Cancer Research adverts on UK television and is such a beautiful song. So much emotion goes into singing it that it has so easily brought so many to tears. This can also be found on Eva By Heart. Written by Christine Mcvie it is so romantic. Knowing that when you are with someone everything is all right with the world.
6. Time is a Healer can also be found on Eva By Heart. Written by Scanlon/Smith and is also known as Love heals the wound it makes. If you have been hurt by someone, time makes it easier to forgive them. Finding a photo that brings back all the happy memories, and all those bad feelings and all the harsh things that had been said in the past start to disappear. Finally you start to miss this person.
7. I Know You By Heart is such a wonderful song and always makes me cry. It is about someone knowing a person so well that when they lose them, they are always with you. Written by Diane Scanlon and Eve Nelson. Remembering their smile, all the great times that were spent together. Still hearing their voice even when the person left in the autumn, you can still feel them with you because you know them by heart.
8. People Get Ready. Written by Curtis Mayfield, the song is about joining God but there is no place for the bad people only those who have faith and have loved and lost as there is no hiding place from him and he knows what happens in the world. So those people should all join together and think of those who are weaker and who may not have this chance.
9. Oh, Had I a Golden Thread is found on Live At Blues Alley. Written by Pete Seeger, this song depicts life as being a tapestry and life can be woven onto it: Giving birth and the innocence of children weaving a magic spell upon the world.
10. Over the Rainbow is more commonly sun by Judy Garland although so many artists have covered this song. Eva has a quality that makes this song her own and has made it quite famous. Written by Arlen and Harberg, this song is generally what Eva became famous from. This was the first ever song I ever heard of hers from a compilation album. Famously filmed at Blues Alley an has been shown on TOTP2 regularly. You are over the rainbow where the birds are flying, and you found out about this place in a lullaby.
The Songbird book, released earlier has also been a success and should be considered by any fans of her music. After she died so young, her family and fans know that this is a songbird that will be hard to be forgotten and hard to be compared to.
Overall, even though not my favourite I would still not be without it. This CD will always be in someones collection and listened to regularly. At a price of £9.99 it is well worth the money spent on it. I know I have certainly got my money out of it as it made its new home in my CD player for at least 3 months and even then is still in and out of it!
Most people know of the story behind Eva Cassidy and her tragic death, however if you haven't already got this album then you must! I bought this album "Songbird" after watching a program on Tv about Eva Cassidy and i was brought to tears by her voice. To say that its like one of an Angel is an understatement. Im a fan of all sort of music ranging from euro dancy tunes to classical music so i went out to buy this album with an open mind. I thought to myself her voice was beatiful, but chances are i only like a few songs as is the way with many albums i buy. Wrong!! This is a masterpiece from start to finish. This album cannot be classified into one genre of music, as it ranges from jazz to traditional R&B and involves mostly the use of a Piano,guitar and her amazing voice. It brings together a lot of her work from previous albums and a lot of it has been taken from live acoustic sessions and had the background noice taken out. It is a well known fact that Eva was extremely shy when it came to performing-luckily she was discovered and immortalised on this of many cds before her death. The songs on the album are: Fields of Gold Wade in the Water Autumn Leaves Wayfaring Stranger Songbird Time is a healer I know you by heart People get ready Oh Had I a Golden Thread Over the Rainbow The last song is perhaps her most well know adaptation of the classic tune, which she manages to make her own entirely. Its a song that will make you cry with joy and sadness. Fields of Gold is also in my opinion a great adaptation of Stings song. The tempo changes yet again for Wade in the Water a more upbeat jazz/soul song that you can't help tapping your feet to, to then move onto a beatiful Autumn Leaves, one of my favourites. This song is so visual of remembering a loved one with its lyrics such as "I see your lips, those summer kisses, those sunburnt hands that i used to hold" A
warning-if you have just broken up with someone this is not a song to listen to as it makes me cry every time! Overall this is a beatiful album, a classic that every collection should have. Her voice is clear,as perfect as a voice can get in my opinion. And if you think her music is not your type think again-this is one album that i would recommend to anyone-just be prepared to get a bit tearful!
Most people know the tragic story behind Eva Cassidy so I won't go into too much detail but for those of you who don't know the story, here's a breif summary.... Eva was a very talented singer who sang in blues/jazz clubs. But sadly at the age of 33 in 1996, she died of Cancer - before she ever got discovered. She had made a couple of albums and i'm quite sure she would have made a very successful performer in time, had time not been against her. After her death a record producer heard some of her songs and decided to release some albums, making 'Songbird' go to number one in the uk album charts. The song's on this album are fantastic, it's very hard to describe in words what the music does to you. What Eva did with music is a mystery to me, there's power, drama, sweetness and deepness in her voice. She sang her own version of 'Over the rainbow' better than the original, which is not an easy thing to do - it's a classic song that everybody loves, but she managed to bring a whole new world to it. 'Fields of Gold' is one of my favorites on the album, I never did like the original version and I admit I was disappointed to find this the first song that came on. But to my surprise, it was lovley, it has real feeling. Wade in the water is a very jazzy song, you will find your feet tapping whether you want to or not! I would reccomend this to anybody, it really helps you relax and to sit back and realise just how lucky you are!
Well here we go... This is my first attempt at writing an opinion. I have just read all the other opinions about Eva Cassidy's Songbird and I am afraid that all there is to say has already been said. She is amazing. Plain and simple. I am not a music boff and I don't know much about the technicalities of music and singing, but even I can hear that she is a genius. All I know is that when I hear her voice, my skin tingles and my heartstrings pull. This to me, shows her remarkable talent. I am so not a music boff that I didn't hear about Eva on Top of the Pops or on the Terry Wogan Show as most of your other opinion givers did. I heard about her at work, where one of my colleagues lent me the Songbird CD. We are in the lucky position of being able to play music at our PC's with headphones on. Well, that was me for the rest of the day. I played the CD over and over again (and let's just say that I certainly didn't do my work). I usually don't like cover versions and I certainly can't stand remixes as I find that they are never as good as the originals and they completely spoil it for me, but Eva Cassidy breaks down all my preconceptions. Her rendition of Fields of Gold is so completely different to Sting's that one cannot say it is better or worse. It is just hers completely. ... And his completely. Can this be possible? For me it is. The original of another track on the album, Songbird, just happens to be one of my all time favourites and has a very special meaning for me. I know the words off by heart and when Fleetwood Mac sings it I drop everything to close my eyes and listen. The lyrics are just so poignant. Eva does this song real justice too, to the same degree as Fields of Gold. When I found out that Mick Fleetwood drummed with her, I just about did my nut as this just confirmed my feelings about her talent. The Songbird CD is fantastically varied in genr
e, from popular to blues to gospel. Eva's voice can do a hugely varied range of notes, from really soft and gentle, to rough and raunchy, to shouting and still keep the tune. Remarkable. When you hear this CD and read about her life history, her shyness, her love of nature and ultimately her tragic ending, you can't help but feel terribly sad. That such a talented woman will never know just exactly how much she affected people, is such a pity. But then maybe not. Maybe this is what makes her just that little bit more special... Sorry if this opinion is really soppy, but that's the extent of the emotion I feel about Eva Casssidy and her music.
I First came across Eva Cassidy at the end Of TOTP2 singing that most irritating of songs,"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" and it just blew me away.I was shocked and saddend to find out that she had died a couple of years ago of cancer. I shopped around until I found Songbird and it is now never far away from my CD player. We live in a culture where the term great is, I think, overused so I was reluctant to apply it not only to this CD but to Eva Cassidy's talent as well,but having searched my dictionary I find no other words that come close. Eva was a great singer and this is a great CD. Certainly one can find singers whose vocal range and purity of tone and pitch match hers. One can find singers whose emotional range and purity equal hers. One can also find singers whose interpretative skills are comparable to Eva's. However, it is only the exceptionally rare singer who combines all of these abilities, as Eva does. This alone would make her great but Eva was that even rarer singer who could combine those talents and layer them over any genre of popular music. On this CD, Eva moves seamlessly from pop with Sting's "Fields of Gold or Christine McVie's "Songbird" to earnest folk singer Pete Seeger's "Oh, Had I A Golden Thread" to a firey soul and gospel singer "Wade in the Water" & Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" to jazz diva on "Autumn Leaves" or her astonishing reinvention of "Over the Rainbow," Her voice is such that you can cut the tension it creates. You are stunned by the first few bars of Fields of Gold and in awe till the end. Do yourself a favour and beg, borrow or steal a listen, you wont be disappointed.
Wow, What a truly amazing album. I haven't heard anything quite as moving and vocally powerful as this for a long, long time. The album seems strangely out of place at No. 1 in the UK album charts alongside Limp Biskit, Robbie Williams and Eminem, especially when you see the album cover, a simple photograph against a brown background, reminiscent of 'Tapestry' by Carol King. Yet despite looking out of place, to hear the album you understand it is there by merit and deserves to remain a the top for a very long time. I bought the album after seeing the video of 'Over the Rainbow' on Top f the Pops. It was such a beautiful and moving rendition of a truly wonderful song, I had to track a copy down, and was very surprised to find it showcased in my local Virgin store, but very glad as it made it very easy to find! Songbird is a complication of tracks from three separate albums. Five tracks are taken from the album 'Eva by Heart' (Wade in the Water, Wayfaring Stranger, Songbird, Time is a Healer and I know you by Heart). Four songs are taken from a live album entitled 'Live at Blues Alley' a showcase of her songs sung accompanied by her own guitar playing (Fields of Gold, Autumn Leaves, People Get Ready and Oh Had I a Golden Thread) with one song, Over the Rainbow, taken from an album of duets with Chuck Brown entitled 'The Other Side' It was only when reading the insert hat I found out that Eva Cassidy died of cancer in 1996. The album 'Live at Blues Alley' was recorded in January 1996, and Eva returned to Blues Alley in July to promote the albums release, this time walking with a stick due to a sore hip. She was diagnosed with cancer the next month and died on the 2nd November 1996. Only after her death did her records begin to sell insignificant numbers, first in the Washington D.C. area of the USA, across the rest of the country and now around the world. It really
is a tragedy she is not with us today to share in the success of her music. This is an album of truly beautiful music, not spoiled by synthesisers or multi-tracking. The music is simplicity itself. All the tracks are spine-tinglingly wonderful, particularly those taken from Live at Blues Alley. They are full of emotion and power, and boy could she sing! The songs are all performed acoustically, and have not been extensively remixed, so you really get to hear the power and beauty of her voice. It is rare to get such clarity and natural music on a chart topping album. This is not an album you are going to play prior to a Friday night out on the town, but whatever your taste in music, be it dance, garage, reggae, pop or indie, there should be some space in your collection for this album, and if there isn't I suggest you make some room! I challenge you not to be moved by some of the tracks on this album, particularly Over the Rainbow and Fields of Gold, especially poignant as she was to lose her life only a few months after they were recorded. My vocabulary is not extensive enough to do this album true justice. Have a listen for yourself, you will not be disappointed.
Songird is a collection of songs recorded by the late Eva Cassidy, who tragically died of bone cancer back in 1996. Her music has now been brought to British audiences thanks to airplay on Terry Wogans BBC2 radio show, and more recently, an airing of her version of Garland's classic 'Over The Rainbow', on Top Of The Pops 2, accompanied by a simple video of her singing the song. The album features songs taken from three of Eva's albums; 'Live At Blues Alley', 'The Other Side', and the posthumously released 'Eva By Heart'. The album is a testomony to Eva's musicianship, in which she covers the styles of jazz, gospel, folk and blues. It features not just her vocals, but also her acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboard, and strings. If you have never considered yourself a lover of these types of music, don't be put off, the album is extremely easy to listen to(demonstrated by it's recent rise to #1 status in the British album chart), and is pure class. The album opens with Eva's version of Sting's hit 'Fields Of Gold.' I'm going to stick my neck out and say that for my money, this is an improvement on the original, for it's simplicity in high-lighting the melody and poetic words. Like so many songs from the album, the words of this song seem strangely full of premonition;'You'll remember me when the west wind moves along the fields of Barley...I swear in the days still left, we will walk in fields of gold.' This is a truly beautiful song. 'Wade In The Water', is a traditional song with Eva's own arrangement. It's a blues/jazz number that is reminiscent of Negro Spiritual music. I defy you not to tap your feet or click your fingers along to the swinging bass. One of my favourite songs from the album is 'Autumn Leaves'. The song features a piano solo(performed by Lenny 'The Ringer' Williams), and Eva accompanying he
rself with accoustic guitar. It's a calming, peaceful song, that demonstrates the power of nature(in which Eva sought refuge), to evoke memories and emotions of past loves. The next song is called 'Wayfaring Stranger'. Another traditional song that Eva herself arranged. My husband says of it,"What a funky 70's tune!" Well it does have a certain 'groovy' sound to it. It demonstrates the way in which Eva was able to turn her voice to a more demanding 'husky' sound. The title track from the album, 'Songbird', was infact written by Christine McVie, Mick Fleetwood's partner. It speaks of an all-healing love. Fleetwood himself would often 'sit-in' and play drums for Eva when ever she played his club 'Fleetwood's' in Alexandria, Virginia. The song is another ballad, and features wonderful backing vocals by Eva. Enchanting. 'Time Is A Healer', is a laid back flowing kind of song. It features the sounds of the Hammond organ, which gives it a distinctly 'gospel' feel. In some way I feel that the following lines of the chorus must be of comfort to those who were close to her; 'Time is a healer, and all hearts that that break, are put back together, 'cause loves heals the wound that it makes.' 'Oh Had I A Golden Thread', is a 'jazz-gospel' number, that again features the distinct sound of the Hammond organ, which follows the lead her melody takes. During the song Eva's vocals soar to great heights and acrobatics, indeed it's hard to believe that this great sounding voice can be coming from a petit white women. She has every bit of strength in her voice as some of the greats such as Arethra Franklin. The album features three more wonderful songs, but of these, Eva's best known and probably best loved song, 'Over The Rainbow', has to be my all-time favourite. It epitomises the cle
ar, quality tones of Eva's voice. It is a haunting and now so poignant recording. The song leaves me with a feeling of the sense of loss surrounding the death of such a young and vibrant person, with all the hopes and dreams that she must have had. In this way, it is a bitter-sweet song in the true sense. What can I say, a superlative song that has reduced me to tears on more than one occasion. In 'Songbird', Eva Cassidy has left us a collection of her finest work, immortalising her gift for generations to come. If you have not read my opinion on Eva's life and would like to, you will find it under Artists- Eva Cassidy In General. If you choose to buy this album, I can assure you that it will soon become a special belonging, that will recieve hours of play.
I popped back into this one to correct my appalling typing! However, I also wanted to add how glad I am that Eva Cassidy's music is now reaching such a wide audience. If you haven't already bought it, you would be doing your ears a favour if you did! ***************************************** I caught the last couple of minutes of TOTP2 the other night and they featured Eva Cassidy singing "Over The Rainbow". Given that I was in the middle of sorting the kids' tea, tripping over toys, falling over christmas tree ornaments etc, it was a miracle that anything could get my attention, but this one song stopped me completely in my tracks. I was mesmerised. I spent all of this morning traipsing round Chester and Warrington trying to find a copy of the album and fortunately, great joy, was able to track it down. What an Album! Eva Cassidy, sadly, died a few years ago at the cruelly young age of 33. perhaps there's a message here, as she truly has an angelic voice. her interpretation of such classics as the aforementioned Rainbow, and "Autumn Leaves" and "Songbird" itself, leaves all others standing. Haunting, captivating, uplifting and poignant - how often can you find so many emotions or reactions in one album, or from one artist? Having worked in the music business for the past 20 years it is extremely rare for me to be "surprised" as, sadly, having had to market CDs for so long, listening to music has lost some of it's pleasure. It is all the more fantastic, therefore, for me to find an artist and an album that i know will give me years of pleasure. it is just such a tragedy that Ms Cassidy is no longer around to record more music - though equally, she has left an incredible legacy for us all to appreciate and enjoy.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Fields Of Gold
2 Wade In The Water
3 Autumn Leaves
4 Wayfaring Stranger
6 Time Is A Healer
7 I Know You By Heart
8 People Get Ready
9 Oh Had I A Golden Thread
10 Over The Rainbow