Cassandra Wilson – New Moon Daughter

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The first time a Gary Giddins recommendation has failed me, and even his recommendation wasn’t exactly glowing: “Perhaps it isn’t as strong as its predecessor […] Wilson is sometimes self-indulgently languorous. Her treatment of Hank Williams’s great ballad “I’m So Lonesome I Could Die” fails the melody, and the originals are flat, except for “A Little Warm Death,” which is sexy and funny- qualities that have not appeared in her work in great quality.” Sometimes? It’s practically the entire album with the exception of what was just excepted, “A Little Warm Death,” that employs a buoyant rhythm (and ends in a throwaway singalong) to distinguish it from its surroundings, which are all lugubrious. Her covers of emotionally charged songs like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Die” (which reminds me more of Cowboy Junkies’ cover than anything else – not a compliment), “Strange Fruit” (which was bound to be a disappointment, despite the backing band putting a different spin on it than either Holiday’s or Simone’s, though still stark), “Love is Blindness” (which should have worked, given that it was written with Nina Simone in mind to sing it) and “Harvest Moon” (a personal favorite based on the memory that I associate it with) are all rendered emotionless because Wilson either “fails the melody” or fails to exhume anything new out of classic songs (‘cept the U2 one, which ain’t a “classic”). Add to this the near-unbearable length of each song and we have:

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3 responses to “Cassandra Wilson – New Moon Daughter

  1. It’s been a long while since I heard my copy of this, but I think I pretty much agree with you. Wanted to like this one so much more. Of course, I’ll disagree on the Cowboy Junkies, I like them! 🙂

    • We’ll have to disagree on the Cowboy Junkies; I only like their cover of “Sweet Jane.” That one was purty.

      Anyway, I think this ends my jazz run for now… I’ll come to it sometime in the future!

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