TUNES TUESDAY – (enjoy grooving on a Tuesday with some
music, especially an old favorite or something totally new!!)
In honor of Phoebe Snow:
TODAY FROM THE CHICAGO SUN TIMES
Phoebe Snow was one of Those Voices. Soulful, jazzy, bluesy, tender, sassy — she could do it all, without allowing her sheer vocal prowess to diminish the emotional power of a song.
The fact that fans couldn’t get enough of her wasn’t due to an irrational hunger. Ms. Snow simply didn’t record very often — after her initial flurry of activity in the mid-’70s, she made only four new studio albums in the last 30 years — and now her unique voice has been silenced.
Ms. Snow died Tuesday in Edison, N.J., from complications of a brain hemorrhage she suffered in January 2010. She was 58.
Ms. Snow’s manager Sue Cameron said the singer endured bouts of blood clots, pneumonia and congestive heart failure since a stroke.
“Phoebe was one of the brightest, funniest and most talented singer-songwriters of all time and, more importantly, a magnificent mother to her late brain-damaged daughter Valerie for 31 years,” Cameron said. “Phoebe felt that was her greatest accomplishment.”
Ms. Snow’s first album, a self-titled LP in 1974, contained her biggest hit, “Poetry Man.” The soothing song found fertile ground at FM radio among other burgeoning hitmakers, from Roberta Flack to Janis Ian.
That first record was released through Shelter, Leon Russell’s Oklahoma-based label that also helped launch careers for Tom Petty and Joe Cocker. Russell’s partner at Shelter, Denny Cordell, heard Ms. Snow in a Greenwich Village club the year before and snatched her up. That same year, he told Billboard magazine about his outlook for Shelter: “The music I’m looking for is that universal music where it makes no difference if the roots are in rock, country, soul, gospel or blues, as long as it has something which transcends Those emotions and can appeal to anyone.”
That certainly described Ms. Snow. Her vocal talent adapted to genres far beyond the Greenwich Village folk that informed “Poetry Man.” On the records that followed, she ably delivered standards (“Teach Me Tonight”), soul (“Shakey Ground”), Gershwin (“There’s a Boat Dat’s Leavin’ Soon for New York”) and a lot of her own songs, most of which straddled the boundaries of jazz and pop, presaging an easy-going (but not easy listening) style that later would be folded into smooth jazz.
As Ms. Snow’s sales dipped, she stepped aside. Her daughter had been born in 1975 with hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain cavity that inhibits brain development, and required constant care. She died in 2007 at age 31.
“She was the only thing that was holding me together,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008. “My life was her, completely about her, from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to bed at night.”
From 1981 to 2003, she released only four new albums of her own. In the interim, she contributed to many projects with other artists, including Donald Fagen’s Rock & Soul Revue tour in 1991 and a performance at the 1994 Woodstock anniversary concert.
Before her stroke last year, Ms. Snow was planning a new album and had a tour scheduled.
Laugh, learn and liven up your taste buds!