Chip Deffaa’s Gay Love: Songs of Love, Loss, and Longing

  • Post author:
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Chip Deffaa’s Gay Love

Songs of Love, Loss, and Longing

(Garrett Mountain Records)

January 27, 2019

Reviewed by John Hoglund for Cabaret Scenes

When it comes to nostalgia, Chip Deffaa rules. He has become a serious musical-theater raconteur at a time when such visionaries are a bit sparse. With his 24th album, Gay Love, the producer-author-director-critic and well-respected jazz historian, covers some sacred ground on a strong album of eclectic artists focusing on sad and glad songs of love, loss, and longing. It’s all done with top professionalism fused with a lot of care and has the general feel of a concert.

The talent lineup is impressive on every cut, featuring some of the theater and cabaret world’s most talented artists. This is a compelling disc worthy of the attention it’s sure to garner. How can you miss with a lineup that includes Stephen Bogardus, Tom Andersen, Seth Sikes, Santino Fontana, John Tartaglia, Toby Parker, Keith Anderson, Clark Kinkade, Austin Owen, Kristy Cates, Alex Deland, Tyler DuBoys, Peter Charney, Ellis Gage, Magnus Tonning Riise, David Warren, Dylan Adams, Luka Fric, John Brady, Cody Jordan, Baby Jane Dexter, Lee Roy Reams, Trent Armand Kendall, and Jon Petersen, with magical musical direction by Richard Danley? The mix is a potpourri of gay and straight artists, and it’s not unlike the popular Broadway Backwards series. Clearly, there’s more than one wink of the eye on some campy highlights that score, such as a bluesy, ragtime-flavored (replete with a dynamo tap dancing interlude) take on a forgotten 1922 ditty that became popular in the 1930s, “He May Be Your Man, But He Comes to See Me Sometimes” (Lemuel Fowler) sung here as only the formidable Jon Petersen could pull off: “I ain’t no vampire that is true/but I can certainly take that man from you/My wicked smile, my wicked walk/I’ve got those kinda eyes that seem to talk.” That’s only a teaser sample of some impish tongue-in-cheek material found on this disc.

It all kicks off with a rousing, tone-setting “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” (Eddie Green) sung by the late, beloved Trent Armand Kendall. Once a saucy staple for Sophie Tucker and other sassy ladies of yesterday (Julie Wilson and Sharon McNight also had fun with it) the cut is a perfect choice and sets the tone for what’s ahead. There is a lot of lighthearted variety, but there are also some pensive moments that tug at the heartstrings, such as Santino Fontana’s gentle “Do It Again” (Howard DeSylva/George Gershwin) and the prolific Ellis Gage’s trenchant take on the beloved “My Buddy” (Gus Kahn/Walter Donaldson). These relevant ballads are engaging in their simple, old-fashioned messages from the heart that recall a time when self-expression in song was not complicated. In fact, this beauty of this album is its step back to a time we’ll never see again, when there was better music—and madness with a sense of irony and truth-telling lyrics that had prowess.

In spite of the title, Gay Love, it’s not about some secret society from the past.
online pharmacy no prescription drugstore

It’s the title of a song from 1929 sung here with carefree abandon by Slovenian charmer Luka Fric. Multi-award-winner Tom Andersen adds his soft tenor to Cole Porter’s “I Loved Him but He Didn’t Love Me.” Talented Seth Sikes croons his trademark belt to a gleeful “I’d Rather Be Blue” (Billy Rose/Fred Fisher) that rocks. The inimitable Baby Jane Dexter sensitively puts her own stamp on how the blues should be sung with a soul-scorching reading of the Duke Ellington-Billy Strayhorn “Something to Live For” that is a masterclass in raw lyrical interpretation. This cut is a stand out worthy of an essay on how it’s done. That master showman Lee Roy Reams brings a rather contemporary tone with his sensitive spin on Sondheim’s nostalgic story of besties that bump in the night, “Old Friends,” that is exceptional. The disc wraps with Steven Bogardus’ beautiful take on Noël Coward’s sensitive “I’ll Follow My Secret Heart.
online pharmacy no prescription drugstore

buy prednisone online no prescription

There’s so much more on this 28-cut disc of gems and you’ll find yourself hitting the repeat button many times as the album unfolds into a treasure trove that is an instant must for any collector of oldies—and of gay love. This is not just an album with an all-star cast, it’s also a tribute to Chip Deffaa who lives his truth and continues to preserve golden memories that have been cared for and nurtured with intelligence and love like a secret garden. The album is dedicated to John Tartaglia. A portion of the proceeds go to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

John Hoglund

For over 30 years, John Hoglund has been a respected entertainment writer covering cabaret, jazz, theater and recordings. His writings have appeared in numerous outlets including the Bistro Bits column for Back Stage. John moderated seminars and forums for the International Cabaret Conference At Yale. He produced many celebrity fundraisers in NYC including one of the first benefits after 9/11: “HeartSong:The Heroes' Concert” at The Bottom Line featuring 36 major stars. He co-produced “HeartSong2: The Heroes' Concert” for Katrina victims at Symphony Space and “Miracle On 35th Street” with a star-studded lineup. Other fund raising efforts include the first benefits for Broadway Cares and God's Love, We Deliver. John served on the Board of Directors of MAC for 12 years. He is well known for championing new and rising talents.