Picks and Pans Review: Brenda Lee
Poignant when it should be, harking back to Lee's rock-a-Brenda '50s style at times, this is exactly the album you want to make if you haven't made an album in seven years.
While she released her first big hit in 1957, Lee is now only 46. And despite her long studio layoff (her main performing has been done in Las Vegas), she's obviously still energetic enough, and she still has that true and raspy voice; listening to her is like having your back scratched by an expert.
Jim Ed Norman, the veteran country producer, fits the songs and arrangements around his star adeptly. Especially memorable are Beth Nielsen Chapman's "Once Love Makes a Fool of You," an instant standard of a tune about the desperation of romantic rapture, and Jesse Winchester's ironic "Love Is Fair." The other tracks, by composers old (Hank Cochran, Even Stevens) and new (Mike Reid, Karen Staley, Debra Hogan), are fun too.
And Lee does a neat, full-of-wisdom version of "Some of These Days," which must be bringing a smile to the face of Sophie Tucker up there in the tough-broad division of heaven. (Warner Bros.)