Oh, Happy Day
One of the best things about living in Atlanta is you have a wealth of musical talent living all around you. Add in the great music clubs that dot the intown area, and you get to live quite the fabu-life.
Tonight was a high mark for the fabu-diaries: Francine Reed at Eddie’s Attic, a two hundred-seat club around the corner from me (selected by Paste as one of the ten best music clubs in the nation).
It was also Oh, Happy Weekend in my little corner of the world. But here at The Cup we try to maintain our Southern ladyness by not blogging about giggling hearts and tingling parts.
Francine Reed lives in Atlanta, so we’re graced with her performances on a regular basis. Tonight was a special show, part of Decatur’s African-American Month celebration. Francine was on. The room was filled. Bluesy, bawdy love bounced off the walls.
Brilliance shining brightly.
Yeah, it’s a cliché, but when I listen to Francine Reed, I literally get shivers up my spine. That shiver starts at the base of my spine, slowly ... oh, so slowly ... working the tingles up to the bottom of my skull. Few female voices affect me that way — but Francine's does. Every. Damn. Time.
Many of you may not be familiar with Francine — and that’s a cryin’ shame. That killer voice of hers has been backing Lyle Lovett since the late 1980s:
She also sings on “Crying Shame” on Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, and tours with him regularly.
Here are two of her better-known solo songs:
These recordings don't do her justice, though — as with all great performers, she's much better live. When you’re in the room with Francine, you cheer and laugh and cry and praise Jesus. But her show is about more than The Voice. She knows how to sell it. She’s saucy and sassy, flirty and fabulous. She teased one table of women whose husbands were parking the car: I’ll go out to the parking lot. I love husbands. When I’m done with ‘em, I can send ‘em home.
I didn’t jot down the full two sets, but here are the highlights:
Wild Women (Don't Get the Blues)
One Monkey (Don’t Stop No Show)
My Funny Valentine
God Bless the Child
What a Wonderful World
She added a brilliant line to “Fever”: When you go home I hope you get the fever in your bed.
She closed the show with “Oh, Happy Day.” During the second half of the song, we were up and singing the refrain, clapping like we were in church, as she strutted out of the room, singing a capella. The room went wild. She came back in singing — again unaccompanied — “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” But not on the stage — no, ma’am, Francine walked the room … her arms held high … singing at the top of those beautiful lungs … spending a moment or two with each of us. A-f*cking-mazing. And yes, I cried.
Francine will be at Blind Willie’s on February 22. It's a Friday night. We’re getting a crowd together. Who wants to join the girls for a night on the town?
I wanna be just like Francine when I grow up. As she described herself tonight, I’m three or four handfuls — bring a friend.
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