Sharing an Indulgence

A confession of weakness: in my flurry of Christmas shopping for father and brother and relations and friends, I’m afraid I took that guilty pleasure and got a CD for me, too. Yes, I’m weak and self-indulgent, so weak and self-indulgent as to play that same CD while I was wrapping presents.

And it’s the best CD I’ve bought in years.

I’m sure some people are familiar with the wonderful singing of Washington, DC songbird Eva Cassidy; I actually came at her work from the other end, being a longtime fan of Chuck Brown, and not having known that she did the backing vocals on E.U.’s first album all by herself. But I gotta say: if you like jazz vocals at all (actually, I think the collaboration kinda walks between jazz, pop ballads, and blue-eyed soul), go out right now and find this album. It’s so, so good.

Go find some Chuck Brown, too, of course, especially his live albums (and if you enjoy them, there’s also the much more high-energy — to the point of being practically incendiary — Trouble Funk), and Eva Cassidy’s other stuff is fine, fine, fine — but “The Other Side” is the best collection of soulful, blues-tinged jazz ballads and duets you’ll hear in a long, long time.

And if Eva’s “Over the Rainbow” doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, there’s something wrong with you.