Never mind the time gap between 1991’s Francesca Beghe and 2022’s Francesca Beghe Live. All good things are worth waiting for – New York City’s extraordinary talent, Francesca Beghe returns to the live stage after several years. Her resulting 14-song live recordings cater to the music fans of any genre. Still, fans of the blues/soul will find a special affection to these wide-reaching soundscapes that bring the character of a New York City club right into your own listening device.
Reminiscent of the musicality of The Commitments, Beghe and her backing band of virtuoso put on quite the show. She might be missing the sweat and the perspiration, but she more than makes up for the humidity with sultry rhythms and gregarious guitar shapes meshed with winding piano movements. The album starts with “Enlightenment” as if it were an awakening. From there, Beghe takes the listener to the buzz-worthy “No Use Talkin’”. The third track, “Angel Choir” is endearing.
“LA Came To Meet Me”, “Send Down The Sunshine” and “Your Love Changed Everything” are the next trio of songs. She really shines in these tracks, vocally, because I think in her voice she has a lot of empathy. She never over sings and while she has range, she doesn’t test it way behind what the song calls for. “LA Came To Meet Me” has little mile markers where she plays on the words sunset with Sunset Boulevard and hearing a New Yorker talk about the pace and the appeal of Los Angeles is quite entertaining. I felt like she was really sharing things that happened to her.
“Little One”, “Dreamworld” and “Requiem” are the next three tracks. I felt like “Dreamworld”, the title track to her 2006 release, fit well in this particular track order. While it’s certainly not her biggest hit – that comes later with track 11’s “Trust In Me”, I found “Dreamworld” to be Steely-Dan like. She sings I live in a dream world, everybody knows it, there’s no today and no tomorrow…every single dream we dream comes true. I love her optimism and she really dangles these lines throughout the album’s lyrics. I think she’s also singing about music – and how she dreams to live forever, but that her music will live forever.
“Listening Wind” is next. Then it’s “Trust In Me”, which Beghe co-wrote with Charlie Midnight and Marc Swersky, was first recorded by Joe Cocker for his Unchain My Heart album (1987). Kevin Costner liked the song so much he advocated for it to be on the mega hit soundtrack, The Bodyguard (1992), featuring Cocker and Sass Jordan on vocals. Beghe’s natural timbre in her voice cherishes singing this song – you can tell. After “Trust In Me”, Beghe closes out the live album with “Let Your Spirit Fly”, “One World” and “People Have The Power”. 14 songs might sound like a lot, but by the closing lines of “People Have The Power” all seems refreshed and eager to jump right back into listening. Francesca Beghe Live has no dull moments and no downers. It’s an abundance of talent.
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