Carole J. Bufford: Decadent Standards

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Carole J. Bufford

Decadent Standards

Feinstein’s/54 Below, NYC, October 15, 2019

Reviewed by Ron Forman for Cabaret Scenes

Carole J. Bufford

Carole J. Bufford is a dynamic cabaret performer with a big voice and a style that makes every number a mini-drama.

Her facial expressions and movements on stage make it virtually impossible to take your eyes off her. This well thought-out and researched show had her providing interesting background stories for each of the 17 songs that she performed. The title Decadent Standards had a double meaning, in that  eclectic mix of songs were drawn from every decade from the 1900s to the 2010s. Her music director Ian Herman was an integral part of the show; his piano work was exemplary on songs ranging from ragtime to rock’n’roll.

Bufford’s opening number, a very lively “Won’t You Come Home Bill Bailey” from 1902, was preceded by a very funny story about the origin of the song. “Don’t Put a Tax on Beautiful Girls” featured an excellent ragtime solo by Herman. Her very slow “Who’s Sorry Now,” had her dramatically pointing at the audience. Mentioning that decadent songs do not come only from the USA, she went to the UK for an up-tempo performance of Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You.” The poignant story of Hoagy Carmichael’s search for the poet who wrote the words to “I Get Along Without You Very Well” was followed by Bufford’s equally poignant performance of the song. Bufford dressed in a sparkling red dress, can be quite sexy, as she displayed with “Put the Blame on Mame.” She rocked nicely to Elton John’s homage to his collaborator Bernie Taupin with “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” She was at her very best with a very dramatic, “Every Breath You Take,” with the spotlight only on her, that made me believe that she was watching me.

She brought us all the way to 2012 for her closing number “Who Did That to You” from the film Django Unchained. Her encore brought out the 1920s flapper in her “I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate.”

Ron Forman

Ron Forman has been a Mathematics Professor at Kingsborough Community College for 45 years. In that time, he has managed to branch out in many different areas. From 1977 to 1994 he was co-owner of Comics Unlimited, the third largest comic book distribution company in the USA. In 1999,after a lifetime of secretly wanting to do a radio program, he began his weekly Sweet Sounds program on WKRB 90.3 FM, dedicated to keeping the music of the Great American Songbook alive and accessible. This introduced him to the world of cabaret, which led to his position as a reviewer for Cabaret Scenes.