Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review: "Detour" - Cyndi Lauper

by Jeremy Williams-Chalmers, Music-News.com

When Cyndi Lauper announced she releasing a country album, many fans of the genre decried her being a sheep and following its recent swell of international popularity. However, what they overlooked was the stunning Blue Angel period before she broke the time. Fronted by Cyndi, they released a rockabilly gem and some could say her latest release is simply a return to previous form. However, even that statement would be misguided. This is not an album that sees Cyndi trying to retread old ground - it is simply an extension of her diverse artistry that has seen her excel across an array of genres.

In a similar fashion to her jazz standards collection At Last and her sensational Blues collection Memphis Blues, Lauper commits wholeheartedly to the genre. A nod to her early inspirations, Detour is a collection of covers that sees Cyndi pay homage legends including to Wanda Jackson, Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and Eddy Arnold. Faithful to the originals, without being a copycat, Detour is both effortlessly classic and excitingly contemporary simultaneously.

Opening the collection with the infectious Wanda Jackson classic Funnel Of Love, Cyndi is in fine voice, but it is her addictive energy that ensures this is the perfect kickstart to her trip back into her own personal record collection. As with the unforgettable original, Cyndi's rendition is designed to dance and sing to and it will have you out your hips swinging in an instant. Emmylou Harris joins the show for the toe tapping reworking of Jimmy Walker's Detour.

Although best known for its soulful reworking by Dorothy Moore, Bob Montgomery's 1966 single Misty Blue is taken back to its country original. Pouring her whole heart and soul into the song's delivery pays off huge dividends as Cyndi's rendition manages to outshine its predecessors. Bravely taking on Patsy Cline's Walkin' After Midnight, Cyndi does her musical icon proud as she playfully teases her listener into a hearty sing-song.

Guy Mithcell's Heartaches by Number may have been covered by everyone from Kitty Wells to Willie Nelson and Martina McBride, but Cyndi's stomping rework sits happily alongside them. Skeeter Davis' End Of The World slows the collection's pace for a thoughtful interlude. Any fan of Cyndi knows that when pensive, Cyndi provokes spine tingles. End Of The World is no exception to that rule.

Willie Nelson gives the collection a real seal of approval as he joins the party to revisit his 1960 single Night Life. Having already impressed with their duet on Willie Nelson's Gerswhin album Summertime, this recording once again begs the question why they haven't paired up for a duets record. They could so easily be the new Loretta and Conway.

Marty Robbins' Begging To You continues the sentimental tone. With a real old school feel, Cyndi takes a moment to allow her vocal range to shine. Determined to show that Willie Nelson may not be the only suitable duet partner, Vince Gill joins Cyndi to take on a Loretta and Conway classic. While she doesn't have as much chemistry with Vince as she does with Willie, this is still a rather fun cut.

Returning to her musical icon, Cyndi's take on Patsy's Fall To Pieces once again demonstrates the depth of emotion Cyndi can deliver to each word of a song. Emotionally weighty, but strangely uplifting. Patsy Montana's I Want To Be A Cowboy's Sweetheart is return to the joyous innocence of a recording era gone by. With Jewel's yodelling truly impressive, Cyndi's reworking will have you not just smiling, but beaming heartily from cheek to cheek. Alison Krauss joins the party for the closing number - a cover of Dolly Parton's Hard Candy Christmas. While the rendition will be familiar to Cyndi's fans, who applauded it during Christmas 2015, it a cheerfully appropriate closing to the collection.

Although country fans may have initially questioned Cyndi's motives for Detour, anyone who has the good fortune to hear the record, will be impressed by the moving honesty and authenticity of this timeless record. Another Grammy win or two might just be waiting for Cyndi next year.

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