I was really looking forward to this one. Yes, these ladies are very good friends and large parts of my recording work, but I was curious about how these artists feel about recording vocals in the studio. I had the marvelous opportunity to witness their craft when Kevin and I recorded them in his studio in 2013. Their instincts and professionalism knocked me out. And the product shows it. Playground is a great musical treat.
We started with Skip to My Lou, off the album and in the folk song way I like to start these sessions. Even so, Wendi and Robbi were figuring things out on the fly. I wouldn’t expect them to recall what we did back then. And this was the point of the whole night, how do you vocalize and perform on the fly.
Wendi passed around some great swing tunes (I’m an Old Cowhand) as well as a Cats in the Fiddle tune, with scat leads (this band is really obscure but Wendi and I share some deep connections – my WMUH radio show was called Hep Cat’s Holiday, a Cat’s tune that lead off every one of my many Friday afternoon radio programs before WDIY).
Robbi talked about her more classical upbringing, a surprise for me, and shared her experiences with Harry Belafonte and Diana Ross. She knows and has worked with the Twenty Feet from Stardom women, so Robbi agreed that all that glitters is not gold.
We did My Girl, Wonder Where the Lions Are (beautiful experiment), and Shoo That Fly, again, from Playground. It was a real treat to have them back me up live on this stage. My soul is soothed.
It was a dreadfully small audience, and I am leaning on my artist friends when I give them $20 for the gig. They remain most gracious because they understand my efforts in this series, and, basically, we are close friends. We celebrate our art and our philosophy together during these DNO’s, and we become even closer friends.
It’s a balance of great performance and no audience. I have to deal with this.