NY Music Review by Sandi Durell
Just give her a NYC hot dog and some inspiration that sparks a song she can write and, well, she’s happy! The Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Melissa Manchester debuted at the Café Carlyle Tuesday evening, June 10th giving it all she’s got and that’s plenty!
Manchester is one hot babe, open and expressive, whether accompanying herself at the piano or standing in front of the mic tossing that red mane around singing some of her greatest hits “Through The Eyes of Love (Marvin Hamlisch/Carole Bayer Sager), or a slowed down and easy Ronettes classic “Be My Baby” (Phil Spector/Ellie Greenwich/Jeff Barry) – it’s the 50th Anniversary of this song – or classic “Whenever I Call You Friend” (Melissa Manchester/Kenny Loggins).
She’ll use any line that sparks some imagination, even one from a guy in a juke box joint who came up to her and asked “are you married,” her response: “very.” He followed with “that’s too bad cause I’ve got a feelin’ for you.” Well, it didn’t take more than that for Melissa and Sara Niemetz to write a funky tune called “Feelin’ For You.”
A sensitive and plaintive “Something Wonderful” (Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein II) was delivered acapella with vocal backups by Stephan Oberhoff and Susan Holder, while hit “Don’t Cry Out Loud” (Carole Bayer Sager/Peter Allen), among others, were presented with a fresh new feeling and musical arrangements.
Now working on her 20th album, “You Gotta Love the Life,” she tried out several of the tunes singing live to the tracks with Oberhoff on keyboard and guitar and Holder on vocals and percussion. Featured on some of those tunes will be Dionne Warwick and Stevie Wonder – a tasty variety! The title song (of the same name) is written by Melissa and Sharon Vaughn.
You gotta love Melissa Manchester, one of the best interpreters of a song and surely one of the great American songwriters who knows all about melody and emotion and whose songs have been recorded by Barbra Streisand, Dusty Springfield, Roberta Flack, Johnny Mathis – to name just a few.
You can enjoy her at Café Carlyle thru June 21st and, indeed, you should make every effort to see this exciting show. 35 East 76 Street & Madison Ave. 212 744-1600.
*Photos/Video: Sandi Durell