Pamela Clay: My Merry-Go-Round

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Pamela Clay

My Merry-Go-Round

Tom Rolla’s Gardenia, West Hollywood, CA, January 17, 2019

Reviewed by Elliot Zwiebach for Cabaret Scenes

Pamela Clay

Pamela Clay is a powerhouse performer who pours all of her passion into every moment of every song. Her style crosses all genres, as she demonstrated in a show saluting a variety of female singers whose songs, she explained, spin around in her head. She never relies on imitation but simply adapts her style to express their essence.

Clay was absolutely mesmerizing on three Edith Piaf songs, using her impeccable French and singing her heart out as she practically become the chanteuse in a powerful, emotionally expressive “Hyme a L’Amour” (Piaf/Margarite Monnot), a stunning “La Vie en rose” (Piaf/Louiguy/Monnot), and a high-energy “Milord” (Georges Moustaki/Monnot) that had the audience clapping and cheering as Clay literally kicked up her heels at the joy in the music.

She delivered an effective Judy Garland tribute with a throaty, full-voiced “Come Ran or Come Shine” (Johnny Mercer/Harold Arlen), then effectively pulled back the mood with a warm, sincere, almost childlike “Over the Rainbow” (Arlen/Yip Harburg).

She switched to down-home southern in a Patsy Cline segment that featured a lovely, sincere “I Fall to Pieces” (Hank Cochran/Harlan Howard), a throaty rendition of “Crazy” (Willie Nelson), and a high-energy “Walkin’ After Midnight” (Alan Block/Don Hecht) that she seemed to particularly enjoy. Switching her focus to Etta James, Clay became sultry and languid on “At Last” (Mack Gordon/Harry Warren).

She got funky for Aretha Franklin, rocking out on a power-packed “Freeway of Love” (Jeffrey Cohen/Narada Michael Walden), then tearing the house down on a wailing “Baby, I Love You” (Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich/Phil Spector), which served as a prelude to Clay as herself singing a solid, high-energy “Me and Bobby McGee” (Kris Kristofferson/Fred Foster) that featured the powerful harmonica of Smokey Miles and extra vocals by Floyd Van Buskirk.

Van Buskirk and Clay’s husband, Bruce Bermudez, joined her on stage for solid three-part harmony on a rousing New Orleans blues—”Big Mamou” (Bermudez/Clay/Byron Walls/Lou Rawls).

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She had terrific support throughout the show from music director Dave Moscoe (piano), Lindsay Gillis (electric guitar), Vince Tividad (upright bass), and Coco Roussel (drums).

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Elliot Zwiebach

Elliot Zwiebach loves the music of The Great American Songbook and classic Broadway, with a special affinity for Rodgers and Hammerstein. He's been a professional writer for 45 years and a cabaret reviewer for five. Based in Los Angeles, Zwiebach has been exposed to some of the most talented performers in cabaret—the famous and the not-so-famous—and enjoys it all. Reviewing cabaret has even pushed him into doing some singing of his own — a very fun and liberating experience that gives him a connection with the performers he reviews.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Pamela Clay

    Thjank you so very much, Elliot Zweibach for your absolutely wonderful review in this highly esteemed magazine for all Cabaret lovers, my heart sings in joy and gratitude!

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