FAME Review: Lorraine Feather - Tales of the Unusual
Lorraine Feather - Tales of the Unusual

Tales of the Unusual

Lorraine Feather

Jazzed Media - JM1056

Available from CD Universe.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

Well, as noted when looking over her last foray, Ages (here), Ms. Lorraine issues from sire Leonard Feather, a gent still recognized as probably THE jazz critic, and that alone is sufficient to perk up one's intellectual curiosity and radar dish ears. The moody cover photo, highly reminiscent of Jerry Uelsmann, gives the first indication of what the listener is in store for. It depicts an ebony garbed Feather sitting on a large mushroom, looking Alice in Wonderlandish while churchy, funereal, and curious all at once. What, the onlooker puzzles, does this ominous Victorian snap portend?

Well, it's kinda like this: the loungey, piano bar, highball, gin & tonic atmosphere hides some rather alarming and droll stories of small dramas straight out of Charles Bragg and Edward Gorey. While you're being seduced by the sleek dulcet tones of Feather's tropically bouncy encantations, the import of the verses begins to sink in: a pensée on Scully and Mulder from X-Files (Out There), a tongue twistingly rapid dissertation on a fleet-footedly freakish Indiana Lana, and a cut written for her husband about a young lass obsessed with the number 5 (Five), a ditty that caused a GRP label exec to exclaim that the songstress had "finally lost her f—ing mind!" Not one cut here follows standard love/longing/gosh-life-is-great formulas, all instead tilting with the sort of insensate sensibilities that make psychologist mutter "Uh-oh!".

As last time, a gaggle of top pros accompany the skewed chanteuse (Russ Ferrante, Shelley Berg, Grant Geissman, etc.) and deepen the seemingly innocuous nature of what's really going on, dragging the lounge into a cabaret before you know the scenery's switched. Even the bop elements put on taffeta and hide beneath liltingly sweet swooping lines and human birdsong. Yes, the presentation is flawless and classically creative, but crimsons up just enough to suggest that while one may well be at the Ahmanson or Met listening to the program, the rest of the attendees are not of the usual Uppa Crust but rather the cast and cosmology from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Track List:

  • The Hole in the Map (Ferrante / Feather)
  • Off-the-Grid Girl (Arkin / Feather)
  • Where is Everybody? (Arkin / Feather)
  • The Usual Suspects (Ferrante / Feather)
  • Five (Morales / Feather)
  • Sweet Miriam (Arkin / Feather)
  • Out There (Berg / Feather)
  • Get a Room (Berg / Feather)
  • Cowbirds (Ferrante / Feather / Griey / Pletner)
  • I Took your Hand (Fellini's Waltz) (Pieranunzi / Feather)
  • Indiana Lana (Elllington / Feather)
  • To Live Another Day (Arkin / Feather)
  • Ahh (Rota / Feather)

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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