Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW CD Review: With COME TOGETHER, Cool Carole J. Bufford Rocks, Rolls and Reels You In

This 2019 CD is certain to make your iPhone's list of most played music.

BWW CD Review: With COME TOGETHER, Cool Carole J. Bufford Rocks, Rolls and Reels You In When Irene Worth accepted her Tony Award for Lost in Yonkers, she told a story about a child at a matinee of Peter Pan who was so enthralled that, at the play's end, the lights dimming, he cried out, "Curtain, curtain, please don't come down!"

That is how I felt when I reached the end of Carole J. Bufford's album COME TOGETHER.

Released a few months before the lockdown, Come Together is Ms. Bufford's examination of the music of the 1960s and '70s. As someone who lives for the music of that era, I was more than destined to gobble it up with glee but here's a newsflash for everyone: no matter what your favorite decade of music is, you will want to consume every moment of this album, too. It's not just the music of The Beatles or The Mamas and The Papas (oh, do I have your attention now?) and the mood, memories, and marrow that the music evokes, it's not only the exploration of hearing a singer of The Great American Songbook take on classic rock and pop, it's the spine-quaking and heart-racing pleasure of listening to a great actress of musical storytelling become character after character, song after song.

Many is the singer who can stand at a karaoke machine, in front of a band, or in a recording booth and sing this material, but here is an artist so in the moment (and in the pocket) that she cannot help but hit all the musical notes, technically, all the while using her vocal prowess for something more than just the melody. Sixties and Seventies pop songs were all ballads, as defined as songs that tell stories, and not just compositions for slow-dancing. Stealthily slipping into tunes like the far-out "Harper Valley PTA" and the out of sight "Me and Bobby McGee", Ms. Bufford stakes a claim in the community of female vocalists worthy of the women of this era, women like Bobbie Gentry and Helen Reddy, but with constantly-changing placements in her voicebox and her acting intentions, Bufford honors women like Eartha Kitt by growling the lyrics and Shirley Bassey by trumpeting the tones. It would not be too far of a stretch to compare the interpretive variations and character studies in each singular performance to the assortment to be found in a Meryl Streep movie marathon. Were it not for the unmistakable sonority and intonation of the Bufford voice, one might occasionally wonder if maybe this is an album of multiple performers. Nope. It's just Carole J. Bufford and the cast of characters that lives inside of her, each one beautiful of temperament and tone - it's part of what makes Ms. Bufford an electric live performer, and what a relief to discover that magnetism translates to the at-home listening experience.

Like any woman who is defiantly different in her outlook, her artistry, and her approach, Ms. Bufford ran a risk of taking these fourteen classic compositions and making them so much her own that an uncomfortable line might be crossed that could cost her the attention of some listeners. Fortunately, there is evidence that she and musical director Ian Herman knew this - hence the particular attention paid to where, precisely, the authors' original intents should be honored, and when license would permit deviations from the musical framework, providing new journeys to be found in the familiar beauty of "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and the soul-stirring "Killing Me Softly With His Song" - two of the treats of a more tender nature that allow Carole J. to ensure listeners that there is more to her artistry than ferocity and flair. When the whole band is involved, though, when the team jumps into jam mode, listeners are guaranteed a rollicking race of a great time-travel through the music of the past, even if, at forty minutes, the album could have stood a couple more cuts. In my dreams, somewhere in the future are still-to-be-released recordings of Carole J. Bufford singing "Ode to Billy Joe" and "Go Ask Alice" - just about the only thing that could, possibly, have made the album Come Together any more far out.

Carole J. Bufford Come Together is a 2019 release on the Carole J. Bufford label. For more information visit the Carole J. Bufford website HERE.

BWW CD Review: With COME TOGETHER, Cool Carole J. Bufford Rocks, Rolls and Reels You In

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles View More Cabaret Stories

From This Author Stephen Mosher