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Connye Florance: Connye Florance

When you have a Rolls-Royce, the worst thing you can do is overaccessorize it. Such is the case with Connye Florance. An accomplished actress and cabaret performer, the North Carolina native boasts a gorgeous voice that combines the power of Jennifer Holliday and the emotive authority of Whitney Houston. Last year, Florance was taken under the wing of Leon Russell. The resulting album, entitled simply Connye Florance, is pure Leon. All but one of the 11 tracks was written or co-written by Russell, who also produced the album, recorded it in his own studio and released it on his own label. The results, unfortunately, fail to do Florance justice. Exasperatingly overproduced, it overflows with cluttered, cacophonous arrangements that fight Florance every step of the way. Even Russell’s hypnotic “This Masquerade” is ruined, thanks to an oddly robust treatment that expunges all of its haunting beauty. A word of advice to the multitalented Russell: Next time get rid of all the bells and whistles and simply let her glorious voice shine through.

Originally Published