54 Sings the Greatest Pop Songs of All Time: The 1960s, Vol. 2

| February 26, 2016

54 Sings the Greatest Pop Songs of All Time:
The 1960s, Volume 2

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, February 11, 2016

Reviewed by Joel Benjamin for Cabaret Scenes

54-sings-1960s-Cabaret-Scenes-Magazine_212With his usual low-keyed hyberbole, Scott Siegel assembled Volume 2 of the Greatest Pop Songs of All Time for Feinstein’s/54 Below. Whether the title is true or not, the show certainly was entertaining, peppered with Siegel’s usual knowledgeable trivia, performed by a group of first-rate singers, beginning with Brian Charles Rooney’s “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Norman Whitfield/Barrett Strong) emphasizing the pain of the lyrics. His second number, “Stand by Me” (Ben E. King/Leiber & Stoller), also benefited from his usual intensity.

Jeremy Morse’s boyishly earnest “I’m a Believer” (Neil Diamond) evoked the hit Monkees’ version and his “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” (Mick Jagger/Keith Richards) took him into the audience. His sweet, in-your-face rendition took some of the sex out of the song, giving the it new meaning.

Farah Alvin sang “To Sir with Love” (Don Black/Mark London) and “I (Who Have Nothing)” (Carlo Donida/Giulio “Mogol” Rapetti/Leiber & Stoller) with relish, the former wide-eyed and sweet, the latter properly anguished.

Jenny Lee Stern used her sweet, girlish voice well on a very funny “Leader of the Pack” (George “Shadow” Morton/Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich) and on “Unchained Melody” (Alex North/Hy Zaret), which used all the richness of her voice.

Jimmy Webb’s surreal “Wichita Lineman” was dreamily sung by Jillian Louis, who was far more down to earth on Joni Mitchell’s philosophical “Both Sides Now.”

William Blake, the pop equivalent of a counter-tenor, had a little trouble with the lyrics to “White Rabbit” (Grace Slick) but, nevertheless, caught the hallucinogenic mood of the song. He ended the program with a swooping “At Last” (Harry Warren/Mack Gordon).

One could argue with Scott Siegel’s choices, but not with the way he puts on a show.

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Category: Cabaret Reviews, New York City, New York City Cabaret Reviews

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