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Pam Purvis: I Had a Ball!

Though she is significantly younger, Pam Purvis echoes the late-career sound-somewhat faded, slightly halting, a little tattered at the edges, yet shot through with rich veins of power and grit-of Sandy Stewart. A natural bluesiness (surely a byproduct of her Louisiana/Texas upbringing) further heightens Purvis’ appeal. On her three previous albums as leader, she drew exclusively from the Great American Songbook. That tradition continues here with fine, amber-hued readings of “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To,” “You Go to My Head,” “You Must Believe in Spring,” “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning” and a particularly tender, pensive “Without a Song.” For the balance of the album, Purvis opts to investigate more contemporary material, with disappointing results. Her “Ode to Billie Joe” adds nothing new or interesting to the torpid Bobbie Gentry original, her “Here, There and Everywhere” fails to capture the overwhelming infatuation at the heart of Paul McCartney’s most beautiful love song, and her vaguely calypso-esque “On and On” negates the gentle, unrelenting heartache that drives Stephen Bishop’s clever lyrics.

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