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Patricia Barber: When Life Gives You Pop Songs

Patricia Barber.
Jammi York
/
Courtesy of the artist
Patricia Barber.

Funny how time flies. To think that '60s pop hits are now 40 years old and entitled to be considered "standards." For my money, no one working today makes a better case for them than Patricia Barber.

It takes a major artist to find new meaning in songs that have been around forever. I can hear Barber taking jazz vocals to the 21st century in these five tracks. Only a couple of the songs date back to the '60s, but they were all bona fide pop in their day. I'm hoping that one day she will come upon Leonard Cohen's third verse to "Tennessee Waltz" ("She comes dancing through the darkness / To the Tennessee Waltz / And I feel like I'm falling apart / And it's stronger than drink / And it's deeper than sorrow / This darkness she's left in my heart"), and be tempted to work her magic on that sturdy old chestnut. Here's why.

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Nat Chediak