Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Cyndi 'Land

Here comes the second of my two b'day posts celebrating two unusual ladies you'd maybe never dream you'd see on this page.
Yesterday we had one of the eminent modern songstresses... today we have yet another, this time one that's been around probably longer than you realize.
She started as half of an underrated new wave band at the turn of the eighties, and I remember hearing that LP -- Blue Angel -- at the beginning of high school, way before her first solo LP hit and blew up the world. She has the kind of voice that only requires one syllable and it couldn't be anyone else, so I recognized her immediately even though it was several years later.
I remember her as one of the first music people to stand for AIDS research and for those who were afflicted with what was then a death sentence, in the 1980s. She has raised millions and millions of dollars since the onset of the epidemic back then.
Her music is beloved by millions as well, and even Miles Davis made a hit out of one of her songs, claiming her voice and tone reminded him of his horn. I remember watching the Joni Mitchell tribute on TNT in 2000 and her absolutely stealing the show, bringing the house to its feet with a stunning, extended version of Joni's "Carey". 
Surely one of the most underrated, yet beloved, performers of our lifetimes, it'd be a tedious cliché to say that there is but one Cyndi Lauper, a woman who makes me proud to be from Queens.
A four-octave range doesn't hurt, that's for sure. What makes Cyndi Lauper unique to me is her ability to take a song that at the surface may seem trite or somewhat lightweight, and wring nuanced meaning from it by dint of what must be one of the most recognizable and one-of-a-kind voices ever. Also, she writes amazing ballads, with several -- Time After Time and True Colors, especially -- that will live forever as standards to be covered by dozens of artists.
She is 63 today... not even that old for someone that started singing professionally in the late 1970s. To celebrate accordingly, I have broken out the pre-FM, radio station reel of Cyndi at the Agora in Cleveland -- giving a classic WMMS-FM "Coffee Break Concert," remember those? -- just as her first record was exploding at the end of 1983. Look out for her take on Prince's When You Were Mine, most of her first record, as well as a cut from the Blue Angel LP!
Cyndi Lauper
Agora Ballroom
Cleveland, OH

01 intro/She Bop
02 When You Were Mine
03 I'll Kiss You
04 interview
05 Money Changes Everything
06 Time After Time
07 band intros
08 He's So Unusual
09 Yeah Yeah
10 Witness
11 I'm Gonna Be Strong
12 Girls Just Want to Have Fun
13 Oh What a Thrill
14 Maybe He'll Know/outro

Cyndi Lauper - vocals, recorder, ukelele, Linn Drum
Kenni Hairston - keyboards, melodica, vocals
John McCurry - lead guitar, vocals
John K. - bass, Chapman stick
Sandy Gennaro - drums

Total time: 54:07

pre-FM sourced 'Coffee Break Concert' from WMMS-FM in Cleveland, OH
This is a vintage, pristine sounding set I used to suitably irritate my death-metal loving, idiot roommate for a solid hour yesterday, so I am sure it will do the trick for your Wednesday musings... what can I say? Girls just wanna have fun, amirite? Cyndi actually rewrote that song, which was given to her to record with that melody but words she found misogynistic and silly. So she changed them. The rest is history! I hope you enjoy this set, and that Cyndi Lauper lives another 63 years of history, doing as she does.--J.

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