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Little Big Voice (04/16/99) Write to CD Shakedown

Little VoiceMusic from the motion picture, Little Voice (Capitol 1998) - Little Voice is the new film about an on-the-prowl widow who never stops talking (played by the Academy Award nominee Brenda Blethyn) and her reclusive daughter, who barely speaks at all (played by the show-stopping Jane Horrocks).

Dubbed "Little Voice" by her overbearing mother, this unique young woman is hiding an incredible secret gift: LV may not speak much, but she sings volumes, capturing the legendary inflections and personas of
Judy Garland, Marlene Dietrich, Shirley Bassey, and Marilyn Monroe.

Jane HorrocksWhile the first part of
the film has a distinct British flavor, the magic begins when LV starts to sing. For the film, Horrocks recorded her own vocal performances, all performed live. Look for her nightclub performance: it's a magical scene.

Michael Caine and Brenda BlethynThe soundtrack features standout performances by 50's and 60's vocalists, including "That's Entertainment!" by
Judy Garland, "Big Spender" and the classic "Goldfinger" by Shirley Bassey, and "There's No Business Like Show Business" by Ethel Merman. The soundtrack also includes two performances by Little Voice herself: "I Wanna Be Loved by You" and "Get Happy." The soundtrack ends with Michael Caine's excruciating, "It's Over" (see the movie, and you'll better understand what Caine is singing about).

I had lukewarm feelings until I saw the film, but having done so, I can recommend the soundtrack to
Little Voice.

You are There
Ashley Cleveland, You Are There (Cadence 1998) - Gospel rocker Ashley Cleveland returns with a live collection, You Are There. This Grammy Award-winning set features live versions of Cleveland's original songs (such as "Big Town" and "Henry Doesn't Care"), in addition to some surprises, such as a live recording of "Gimme Shelter" (by the Rolling Stones).

Six songs on
You Are There are drawn from 1995 concerts when Ashley toured with Amy Grant, while the acoustic songs were recorded live in the studio and were not retouched. Cleveland is accompany on guitar by husband and producer Kenny Greenberg (who has worked with southern rocker Edwin McCain).

Ashley ClevelandExplains Cleveland, "My roots are very definitely in the 70's. As an artist, what I do is kind of a combination of rock and roll, folk and blues - and where one leaves off can change in any given song."

The smoky-voiced Cleveland garnered solid reviews for her three studio albums:
Big Town (1991, now out of print), Bus Named Desire (1993), and Lesson of Love (1995). You Are There is one of those live in concert/live in the studio collections that walks an uneasy line: the album never settles in as a concert piece, yet also isn't a studio recording.

The album concludes with a new song co-written with
Pam Tillis, "You Don't Have to Take This From Me." Also included is an a cappella cover of "Soon and Very Soon" (Andrae Crouch song), and "Revive Us Again," a 19th century hymn.

While this devoted mother of three may walk the Christian walk, she keeps her faith rooted in everyday values. Adds Ashley, "It's not like I have my secular set and my gospel set. I just do the same set wherever. I'll sing songs that are very clearly about faith. I'll sing hymns. I'll sing songs about relationships, I'll do songs by other people. I do a mixed bag." [Ashley also sings in her church choir, which must be a treat.]

Ashley Cleveland is an honest performer, which comes through on
You Are There.

Mike Henderson
Mike Henderson & The Bluebloods, Thicker Than Water (Dead Reckoning Records 1999) - Ace Nashville guitarist Mike Henderson returns with Thicker Than Water. Steeped in a deep in the Delta blues sound, the new album features a mixture of barrelhouse boogie, honky tonk, and rock and roll, all driven by Henderson's intense guitar playing.

A founder of the artist-owned label Dead Reckoning Records,
Henderson can play guitar with the best of them. (I have seen him perform live with fellow Reckoner Kevin Welch.) Joining Henderson are supporting Bluebloods Glenn Warf on bass, John Gardner on drums, and John Jarvis on piano.

Mike the guitar man
Thicker than Water is a Delta rocker all the way, from "Angel of Mercy" to the boogie woogie of "Slow Your Motor Down" to the rocking "Scared of That Child." Ry Cooder may have explored this idiom, but Mike Henderson is a true believer. Fans of late night, hell-raising boogie- rock will enjoy Thicker Than Water.

- Randy Krbechek © 1999

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