One Night of Sin and Blue Smoke
(Dance Me to Stardust Records)
March 11, 2017
Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes
Mary Bogue is a wonderful singer who lets her emotions flow in her powerful vocals, as these two simultaneously released EPs demonstrate. She is always honest and believable and, even when she’s singing about being hurt or in pain, her innate strength and resilience always shine through.
On the blues-oriented One Night of Sin, Bogue works her way through seven songs that allow her to explore a range of emotions. She’s teasing and kittenish on the opener, “Sneakin’ Around” (Robert Lee Castleman), and the closer, “Nice Girls Don’t Stay for Breakfast” (Jerome Leshay/Bobby Troup); suggestive and ribald on “Rock Me Baby” (B.B. King/Joe Josea) and the title song, “One Night of Sin” (Pearl King/Dave Bartholomew); and determined and powerful on “Don’t Explain” (Billie Holiday/Arthur Herzog Jr.) and “I’m Going to Cry You Right Out of My Life” (Ralph Bass/Linda Hopkins/Luis Rivera). There’s also a quiet, smooth take on Willie Nelson’s “Night Life.”
Bogue has strong musical support from Karen Hernandez on piano (whom Bogue calls out by name in one song to “play that piano!”), Rickey Woodard on tenor sax (providing strong solos at the beginning and end of “Don’t Explain”), Jack LeCompte on drums, and Brad Bobo on bass guitar.
Bogue is in a whole different space on her jazz-infused EP, Blue Smoke — warm, wistful, and reflective in six songs that range from playful to mellow, all backed by a different set of musicians.
She catches the moody melancholy on two selections from different eras: a soft, smooth rendition of “In a Sentimental Mood” (Duke Ellington/Manny Kurtz) from 1935, and deep yearning in the album’s noirish title song, “Blue Smoke,” written in 2016 by Tom Culver and Bogue’s Musical Director/pianist, Steve Rawlins. Abetting the moodiness of each is Nolan Shaheed’s persistent trumpet, with particularly effective work by Gordon Peeke on drums on the newer song.
Bogue is upbeat and breathy on a bossa-tinged, love-affirming “Endlessly” (Tom Culver/Effie Joy)—“Life’s to be lived/Not a race to be won”—which features outstanding guitar work by Grant Geissman. She swings in a smooth, silky take on “No Moon at All” (Redd Evans/David A. Mann), abetted by Richard Simons’ boogie bass, and delivers a playful, easy-going “Must Be Catchin’ ” (Ray Stanley). She’s all tenderness and sincerity on Wayne Moore’s lovely “My Superman.”