10 February 2008

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:

Lyle Lovett feat. Francine Reed :: Here I Am

Lyle Lovett feat. Francine Reed :: What Do You Do/The Glory of Love

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:

Francine Reed :: Wild Women (Don't Get the Blues)

Francine Reed :: One Monkey (Don't Stop No Show)

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
At Last

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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At 2/11/2008 01:39:00 AM, Blogger Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

Yes indeed, and please do not forget the weather, u can keep 285....nice blog im in the atl also. hope u dont mind me stumbling through

At 2/11/2008 08:14:00 AM, Blogger Dale said...

You know I love Francine so now I'm a little jealous but really happy it was so great. Last night I was thinking of 'Oh Happy Day' because I read that the Harlem Gospel Choir's coming to town again and they put on such a great show when I saw them last time (especially with that song). You're a wild woman Beth.

At 2/11/2008 10:12:00 AM, Anonymous HollyC said...

Sounds like a great show, I actually checked to see if we could go on the 22nd, but I have to be at work at 6:45 AM on the 23rd, bummer. Maybe if I just stayed up all night?

At 2/11/2008 11:19:00 AM, Blogger BeckEye said...

If I lived anywhere near Blind Willie, I'd come along.

At 2/11/2008 03:29:00 PM, Blogger Moxie said...

I was moved just reading your review. Will have to come back tomorrow to download the tunes.

At 2/12/2008 12:36:00 AM, Blogger pistols at dawn said...

Sounds like good times. Way to stay hip with the kids.

At 2/12/2008 12:51:00 AM, Blogger Artful Dodger said...

Hmmmm..most awesome. I shall definitely have to check more into her. On another note, guess what? R.E.M. will be playing at SXSW in Austin. I must score tickets.

At 2/12/2008 11:04:00 AM, Blogger Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

Will have to check out later. The download limit was exceeded -- or something like that -- when I tried to grab the tunes.

At 2/12/2008 04:45:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

TORRANCE STEPHENS: Welcome! Looking forward to reading your blog.

DALE: I thought about you tonight, knowing of your love for Ms. Reed. Next time you’re down here, I’ll take you to a Francine show.

HOLLYC: Go ahead and stay up all night! We can be nineteen again. Francine plays around town all the time, so let’s plan a musical night out.

BECKEYE: Oh, c’mon down. Leave next Wednesday morning and you’ll be here in time for the Friday evening show.

At 2/12/2008 04:48:00 PM, Blogger Beth said...

MOXIE: I think you’ll really like her songs.

PISTOLS AT DAWN: I run with the kids and the old folks. I’m bigenerational.

ARTFUL DODGER: YES! And I can’t afford to go … dammit … so I need you there to send me up-to-the-minute reports.

BLOWING SHIT UP WITH GAS: Some sleazy blogger is nabbing my URLs and posting them elsewhere, thus eating up my bandwidth. When I figure out who it is ……………

At 2/12/2008 10:16:00 PM, Blogger Barbara Bruederlin said...

She sounds like a master show-woman! I got chills just reading this.

At 2/12/2008 10:49:00 PM, Blogger chelene said...

I feel the need to steal her description of herself and put it on a t-shirt. She's fabulous!

At 2/13/2008 10:05:00 AM, Blogger Gifted Typist said...

Beth, I know that feeling with the shivers up your back. Sometimes, when listening to good live blues, I get this perma-smile that I cannot remove.
I'm sure it's not a coincidence that you live near one of the best clubs in the nation.

At 2/13/2008 06:38:00 PM, Blogger FranIAm said...

Hi Beth! I have seen you at Dr. Monkey's and at Katie's and maybe other places as well. Thanks for coming by my blog today.

Francine sounds amazing- thanks for introducing me to her.

ATL is a cool place for music.

Nice blog!

At 4/22/2008 04:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you would like to hear more from this great singer, check out the Willie Nelson album "Milk Cow Blues" from 2000. It has two duets with FRancine Reed on it. The Lyle Lovett DVD from his Soundstage performance is also recommended. Cheers.


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