Sunday Times November 6 review The Best of Eva Cassidy

They sure don’t make them like this anymore. This album is all about beautiful music and pure singing talent, with no frills, bells or whistles! 

I find very little fault in this album: from the choice of songs to the way they are covered makes for a great album.

It is a ‘grown up’ collection of music, but I can see how it will appeal to a wide audience, across a races and age groups.

You Take My Breath Awayis how romantic songs are best written, simple. It’s a very sweet, slow song and displays Cassidy’s voice beautifully.

Kathy’s Song, the guitar in this song is flawless and the folk sound is very hypnotic. There would have been a void in the album if this song wasn’t included.

Songbird is a classic Eva Cassidy song, and I can almost see her as she sings this song. I love the classic nature of the song and the melody is beautiful.

What a Wonderful Worldis not a song easy to mess up, on the other hand, can a singer take it a level higher? Eva Cassidy certainly makes me have a new appreciation for this old classic made famous by Louis Armstrong. Her voice makes it so soft and almost sensuous, and I’m certain no other woman could have put a touch quite the same.

Wade In The Water displays Cassidy’s vocal range and repertoire when it comes to music. The jazzy music gives this song a fun and vibey feel, a good departure from her usual style.

Ain’t No Sunshineis one of my absolute favourite songs and the only other version I love is by Desiree and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Cassidy’s choice of just the guitar and piano for this version is perfect and gives it a much more romantic touch than I’ve heard before.

Time After Time, Cindy Lauper’s famous song, is owned by Cassidy in this album. I love it when a musician takes a well known and loved song and totally owns it and does justice to the song at the same time.

Autumn Leaves is a sweet lullaby, very pure and clean in its delivery. The super slow tempo makes the song feel a little long towards the end, but it may be because I was playing it under review and not purely for enjoyment. The jury’s still out on this one, I expect it will grow on me, but chances are slim since I barely go back to songs that don’t grab me upon introduction.

I Can Only Be Meis strong and loud song, a good break from the soft sound of the album until this point. The heavy piano gives it that edge, but I have to say it’s not my favourite song on this album.

Fields of Gold is absolutely stunning. I love the strong yet feminine touch Cassidy give the song. The guitar is beautiful in this song and takes the song to another level.

It Doesn’t Matter Anymore is a folk sound that Cassidy’s voice is perfect for. It’s young and more up tempo than most of the songs on the album so far.

Imagine is a song I never even thought anyone other than John Lennon ever sang. It sounds almost ‘foreign’ in the Cassidy version, but beautiful nonetheless.

Over the Rainbowhas been covered by many people, and I’m so happy this version is totally owned by Cassidy. It still sounds like the song we know and love, but you can definitely still hear her essence captured in the song.

True Colours is a breath of fresh air in this album. It has all the instruments that the other songs have not had until now. The album has been ‘demure’ until now, where she becomes a little bold, but still is herself. The Cindi Lauper version still rings in my ears after listening to this version. I guess Cassidy has competition as I’m still torn by whom I think best covers the song.

Cassidy is a wonderful guitar player, and Danny Boy showcases this talent beautifully. Her voice is strong and goes across more ranges than is obvious in previous songs. The simplicity of the song make it so powerful. I love that Cassidy doesn’t feel the need to make the song long in order to make an impact, but make the most of the song in a few short minutes.

People Get Readyis delivered by a powerhouse who has something to say. You can hear the emphasis and almost urgency in the music of this song.

Anniversary Songis the one song I had to listen to twice to make my mind up about how I felt about it. You can tell when Cassidy is accompanied by other people on instrument and she’s not playing the guitar herself. The song is good, but doesn’t feel as much like she owns it.

Early Morning Rainis a soft but up tempo song that is classic Cassidy in sound and style. It’s not my favourite, but die-hard Cassidy fans will love it! Especially because she plays the instrument in this song and you can tell.

I Know You By Heartis a lovely love song and I love the cello and violin in the background. They give the song lovely depth make it almost hauntingly beautiful.

Tall Trees in Georgiais one song I could have done without on this album. Cassidy’s voice sounds almost strained on the high-pitched parts of the song. It may very well be the effect she was going for, but the song as a whole does nothing for me. A little disappointing for an ending of such a great album.

But the disappointing last song doesn’t take away from the otherwise lovely album. A definite must-have, for major fans or those who are only being introduced to Cassidy.

Rating: 9/10

Lebohang Nthongoa

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