Sunday, July 18, 2004

And the Grammy Goes to…  

 Patty’s Scialfa’s 23rd Street Lullaby! 
What? You’ve never heard of her? Does the name sound at least a bit familiar? It should if you are a Bruce Springsteen fan – she’s his wife, and a longtime member of the E-Street band. Admittedly, I’ve never given her solo career much thought, but with the release of her latest album in June, she’s all I can listen to and what I end up humming throughout the day.
It all started when I accidentally caught her performance on David Letterman. I was captivated somehow, so the next day I downloaded (legally) her new album (record? CD? What the heck do you call it when it’s electronic? MP3 doesn’t quite cover it, since it’s singular) . Since then I can’t stop listening to it. I listen to on my iPod while I am walking and even burned a CD so I could listen to it in my car. (And then burned another one for my hair stylist, who’s always swapping music with me.) I’ve been recommending it to everybody I know…and nobody seems to know who she is.
In general I find that the lyrics are very Bruce/E-Street Band-like. They paint a whole picture, whether the song is about a place, a person, or an experience, like any good story (or song) you get a real sense of what or who she’s singing about. And for a background singer wannabe like me, there are plenty of background sha la la’s, hey hey’s and hmms that you will find yourself singing along to even the first time you hear the songs. Having been a backup singer for so many years herself, I guess Patty knew just who to call for this recording – they are amazing.
Some of the songs remind me of Bonnie Raitt, but without entering the country zone. (With the possible exception of City Boys, which I would swear was intended for a different album completely – I think it would have been a single for Bonnie if she’d recorded it.)

Well now, baby – what do you think of that? Can you make a woman out of an alley cat? Can you take the agitation and not get annoyed? Well there’s nothing in the whole wide world like a city boy...

Way down south where the yucca plant grows. Drinking whiskey out Coca Cola bottles; smoking Viceroys. There;s nothing in the whole wide world like a city boy...

The title song 23rd Street Lullaby is a melodic, lilting, and eventually semi-funk-beat driven tribute to her pad on 23rd street.

Gotta bottle of wine, a bag of tricks, there’s a place for you under my fingertips. There’s a place for you on my mind. Up on the rooftops of my 23rd Street lullaby. Me and you on the Avenue on a summer night…bass and drums and the traffic comes and I feel all right. Well come and walk besides me darlin’ and I’ll take my place…I’m a little low on courage, but I’m high on faith.
In You Can’t Go Back, an infectious bass line kicks off the song then Patty spills this heart-wrenching story about trying to return to a place from her past.
I’m looking for a piece of my self…on the streets that I once knew. But you can’t go back. 
Love (Stand Up) is Patty’s prayer for hope, love, and understanding, with a mantra-like chorus that I find myself humming hours after I listen to it.  Ya gotta know she's singing about Bruce.
There are so many other songs I could mention...but I don't want this to seem like a review. (Ha!) Just give it a listen – you’ll be glad you did. 
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