Rebellious Jukebox VIII: Cassie Morgan vs Barbara Lee

IMG_20150605_193159Originally published May 2013

I sometimes wonder if people think I make some of these records up. I mean, I certainly hadn’t ever heard of Barbara Lee before stumbling across her 45 at the Value Village a few years ago. The most I got from internet searching was that “Barbara Lee” was the stage name of one Barbara Levvintre, but that’s as far as I got. The songs themselves aren’t online anywhere, which means none of you are likely to ever hear the sass-country ladies anthem ” A Single Lady In A Singels Bar.” Yeah, it’s misspelled right there on the label. Oops! The song is an unintentionally creepy snapshot of its time (1981), glibly revealing the fear & dread hiding behind the “good times” of the singles bar lifestyle in ways that Ms Lee may not have even realized. Less exciting is side two’s Jimmy Buffett-ish “I Think I’m Dying A Little Each Day,” which is a much more straightforward run through much less ambitious territory.

Cassie Morgan is nothing if not ambitious on her debut vinyl release. Having made a well-deserved name for herself around town by pairing the sparse, assured beauty of her songs with the quietly Rube Goldberg-ish backing instrumentation of The Lonely Pine (Beth Bombara), Ms Morgan goes full band on this one. A full drum kit, multiple electric guitars, & even some well-placed horns provide lush backing for “A Day Longer” & “Wake Up,” without overwhelming the warm intimacy of the vocals. These songs would be just as fully formed heard on an acoustic guitar in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere, but these versions will sound better when they’re the last songs of the night on the jukebox at the singels bar.

Cassie Morgan-A Day Longer

Ms Lee remains sadly un-internetted…

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