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Baby Jane Dexter: You’re Following Me!

If the word “cabaret” conjures images of satin-gowned chanteuses and tuxedoed gents trilling sophisticated, slightly salty tunes, then it’s time to shake things up. The best antidote to those old-school, cocktails-and-candlelight perceptions? Baby Jane Dexter. The gutsy New Yorker with a voice as big as all outdoors and a style that’s equal parts Ethel Merman, Mama Cass, Janis Joplin, Judy Garland and Sophie Tucker has been working her unique brand of raucous magic at various Manhattan clubs and theaters on-and-off for more than three decades.

Time has mellowed the let-it-all-hang-out Dexter a wee bit-enough that this, her second live album (following the aptly-titled, decade-old Big, Bad and Blue Live!) is constructed as much of velvet as it is of buckram. Whether thundering through Leon Russell’s “Superstar,” wailing on Leiber and Stoller’s “Love Potion No. 9,” gently navigating the soft folds of Kern and Hammerstein’s “Make Believe” and Ray Noble’s “The Very Thought of You” or constructing a brilliantly funny, self-deprecating tale of chocolate addiction around the Bacharach-penned title tune, one truth rings out: Dexter is, both personally and professionally, a savvy survivalist. Which makes her brand of entertainment arguably the most compellingly, refreshingly honest there is.

Originally Published