In today's Weekend section, which was printed in advance, a review of Lesley Gore's album "Ever Since" refers to an appearance by Gore next Wednesday at Blues Alley. The concert was canceled after the section went to press. (Published 9/16/2005)
Yes, Lesley Gore is back. The singer who stood out in the '60s girl-group era by going it alone, who insisted on the right to cry at her own party, who championed feminist pop before the term was coined (via "You Don't Own Me") and who has been absent from the recording scene for 30 years, has a new album. And, no, thank heavens, she hasn't jumped aboard the vintage pop standards bandwagon a la Rod Stewart and Carly Simon.
Instead, "Ever Since" is a cozy pop cabaret album, an intimate showcase for Gore's now hazy alto and contemplative delivery. You won't detect even a whiff of the Quincy Jones-tailored wraparound productions that propelled Gore up the charts in her youth, but there are reminders of her past (and the passing of time), from the wistful title track ("all the weight of nights and days / Too long to list / All the parties I've been to, you were missed") to the closing ballads. On "Out Here on My Own," the Oscar-nominated "Fame" hit she co-wrote with brother Michael, Gore confesses, "Sometimes I wonder where I've been / Who I am, do I fit in." On "We Went So High," she concludes, "And when you think you're safe and sound / Anywhere you go from there is down." Gore also revisits "You Don't Own Me," quietly delivering the album's most somber and soulful performance.
As you might expect of an artist who has had a lot of time to mull things over, Gore has chosen her songs and settings with care. The effort makes her return all the more welcome and enjoyable.
-- Mike Joyce
Appearing Wednesday at Blues Alley.