CD Review: Teresa Fischer “LET IT GO”
“Let It Go”, the long-awaited debut CD from singer Teresa Fischer, opens with “Half A Man”. Adorned only by piano and percussion, Fischer sings about her ultimate Mr. Right: “Cute butt. Sexy eyes. Tall and dark; I know what I like! Heart o’ gold, a brain to match; Ain’t gonna settle for a wrestling mat! One hundred percent loving, baby it’s all or nothing! Half a man… ain’t enough!” Fischer is from Manhattan– but with this opener, she establishes the persona of one of those tough gals from the world of country music: smart, sexy, and definitely NOT afraid of going after what she wants. And, we just know she’ll get it! But Ms. Fischer doesn’t limit her musical influences to just one genre. Throughout “Let It Go”, the Titian-haired singer brings the listener a very eclectic mix of songs. The album features everything from some truly unearthed musical gems from the classic era, to some overlooked modern pop tunes aching to be heard again, to a medley of emblematic classics for the finale. Even with this motley crew of tracks, the singer’s personality and delivery truly make each one her own. Fischer may be a cabaret favorite in New York City, but don’t expect a smoky-voiced, world-weary warbler: her voice is amazingly fresh and unblemished, and the clarity of that voice really captures the spirit of the intimate live performances which her fans know her for.
Her admirers also know Fischer for her idiosyncratic sense of humor, an important part of her persona. There’s plenty of humor throughout “Let It Go”. An example is a proudly absurd track on the album named “The Frying Pan” (about the experience of buying the titular cookware in Macy’s basement. Really!) thrown in… just for grins and giggles. The second track, the appealing “Row Row Row” (William Jerome/Jimmie V. Monaco), was originally heard in “Ziegfeld Follies” in 1912. It’s a reminder that many of the seemingly innocent songs from yesteryear had some truly naughty innuendo behind their lyrics (“And then he’d row, row, row; A little further he would row, Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!; Then he’d drop both his oars, take a few more encores, and then he’d row, row, row!”) With Teresa’s (dare I say?) girlish voice and delivery to match, the song is so cleverly candied that it could make your teeth ache. A fun time is also had with Frank Loesser/Jimmy McHugh’s “Murder! He Says”, a jazz standard popularized by Dinah Shore. The listener will also appreciate the hilarious anti-love song “England 2, Columbia 0” (“You lied about your status, You lied about your life; You never mentioned your three children, and the fact you have a wife. Now it’s England 2, Colombia nil, and I know just how those Colombians feel!“), written by late British pop singer-songwriter Kristy MacColl. Again, it’s a well-chosen guilty pleasure and an expert choice for Teresa’s sense of humor.
Her singing is backed by some truly expert piano (Paul Chamlin on nine of the twelve tracks, and Andrew David Sotomayor on the remaining three) and percussion (Hiroyuki Matsuuri on four songs). Hugh Prestwood’s “The Song Remembers When” is the first of several tracks on the album which showcases Fischer’s well-trained vocal skills. Adorned only by Chamlin’s piano, it’s a truly provocative moment: a musical testimony to the universal power of song. Her rendition of Amanda McBroom’s “No Fear” is just as moving. Another highlight comes with “Crayola Doesn’t Make A Color For Your Eyes” (Kristin Andrews/Megan Jones Downes). It’s quintessential Teresa: as cute as the title suggests, and likely to have you singing along for a while after you hear it. Fischer clearly has as much fun with this one as a child with a box of new crayons. Hands down, however, the highlight of the album is the title track, “Let It Go”. I challenge anyone to listen to this song and NOT feel an immediate lift in their spirits. Likewise, I challenge any one not to be blown away when the singer reaches a particularly impressive note in the song’s climax. Listen to it, and you’ll know what I mean! The album’s finale, “Love, Carole”, is a medley of songs made famous by one of the singer’s musical influences, Carole King– including “Now and Forever”, “I’m Into Something Good”, “Natural Woman”, “So Far Away”, and more. Arranged by her musical director Andrew David Sotomayor, it’s eight and a half minutes of pure delight… and the perfect “Till we meet again!” for an album full of humor and heart.
You can hear samples of Teresa Fischer’s “Let It Go” and buy the album here: