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Kathy Kosins: Mood Swings

Detroit’s Kathy Kosins manages an even better batting average. With her earthy sound, enriched with the subtle suggestion of a smoky growl, Kosins is a delightful surprise. She is, together with partner April Lang, also a writer to be reckoned with. The aptly titled Mood Swings (Chiaroscuro CRD220; 50:02) sees her venture in several satisfying directions. “I Was There” is a peppery salute to the Parisian jazz scene of the ’50s and ’60s. “No Ordinary Joe” is a fun little number reminiscent of the sort that Peggy Lee stick-handled best, and “Livin’ in Style” is a cunning tribute to gold-diggery that can go hand in Hermes glove with Lee Wiley’s delicious “Oh! Look at Me Now.” Kosins also has intriguing taste in covers, including the rather obscure Livingston and Evans ballad “Maybe September,” a twilight lament in the tradition of “Better Luck Next Time.” She gives “Gee Baby (Ain’t I Good to You)” a boisterous reading worthy of Dinah Washington, ably capturing the sexual undercurrent that’s so often misinterpreted as poutiness. For a fascinating finish, she chooses “Melancholy Serenade,” the old Jackie Gleason Show theme, written by the Great One himself. It’s a treat to newly appreciate what an intoxicating ballad it is and to hear Kosins make the most of the rarely heard lyric.

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