"This is the album I’ve wanted to make for years," says pop iconoclast Cyndi Lauper of her forthcoming June 22 album Memphis Blues. "All of these beautiful songs, and all of the great players on the album, were carefully chosen because I’ve admired them my entire life. And I knew from the moment Alan Toussaint hit the keys in ‘Shattered Dreams’ that we were creating something really special." And with all of the versatile singer's varied projects -- from her platinum 80's pop hits to her well-received 2003 album of eclectic standards (At Last) to her most recent project, the electro-dance venture Bring Ya to the Brink -- Lauper not only surrounds herself with A-list players, she throws herself completely into her work with the skill and finesse of a smart, seasoned pro.
Memphis Blues is no exception. Holed up at the city's famed Electrophonic Studios, Lauper and producer Scott Bomar brought in respected veterans from the Stax and Hi Rhythm Section list of alumni to round out a superb, horn enriched studio band. They tapped an eclectic list of guest artists including B.B. King, guitarist Jonny Lang, legendary singer Anne Peebles, New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint and harmonica king Charlie Musselwhite. And then Cyndi simply took over. From the Bobby "Blue" Bland hit "Don’t Cry No More" to the Louis Jordan classic "Early In the Morning", the authentic smoky funk and Lauper's singing, alternately a hurt tender caress or scorching wail, make this collection a revealing and appealing rave-up. Recommended. Sampler after the jump...
Cyndi Lauper - "Shattered Dreams" (snippet) (from the album Memphis Blues)
Memphis Blues Track Listing
1. Just Your Fool
2. Shattered Dreams
3. Early in the Mornin’ (Charlie Spand) feat. Allen Toussaint & B.B. King
4. Romance in the Dark (Lil Green)
5. How Blue Can You Get? (Jane Feather) feat. Jonny Lang
6. Down Don’t Bother Me feat. Charlie Musselwhite
7. Don’t Cry No More (Don Robey)
8. Rollin’ and Tumblin’ (Traditional)
9. Down So Low (Tracy Nelson)
10. Mother Earth (Memphis Slim) feat. Allen Toussaint
11. Crossroads (Robert Johnson) feat. Jonny Lang
12. Wild Women Don’t Get The Blues