Sally Morgan Rides Again
Don’t Tell Mama
Feb 29 7 PM
Sally Morgan bounded on the stage of the Brick Room in Don’t Tell Mama and launched in to her set with Peace Blues, the first song she ever wrote she told us. A piece with a jazzy feel, she got her enthusiastic audience snapping along. Morgan had written the song in response to the Middle East war that then president, Bush, had gotten the country into. She followed this with the Irving Berlin classic You’d Be Surprised. Morgan had great fun with this. A skilled story teller in song, while we got the full double-entendres of sitting on her boyfriend’s … knee, she remained demure throughout.
Morgan had a great way of transitioning between songs, using the “speaking of” segue. Next, it was “speaking of getting older.” She then told the story of being propositioned by a much younger man who was younger than the scarf she was wearing. She sang Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered (Hart/Rogers), repeating the section where she is “glad to be oversexed again,” milking it for all it’s worth.
From here, Morgan proclaimed “speaking of witches!” which led to Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead (Harburg/Arlen) with the mention of Oz, a lot of high notes and a comic ending. Morgan then did a sharp turn and announced “speaking of classic rock!” and launched into Help (Paul McCartney) which had a slow introduction (arranged by Morgan) that worked well. Blackbird (Paul McCartney) followed and then A House Is Not A Home (David/Bacharach). Both of these classics were well received by her audience.
“Speaking of Marilyn Monroe” Morgan discussed Monroe’s connection to Einstein, which led to a sultry Sooner or Later (Stephen Sondheim) and showed off Morgan’s vocal belt. In the next song: You Take My Breath Away (Claire Hamill), Morgan displayed a lovely, lighter vocal quality. Reflecting on the nature of her intimate relationships, Morgan realized that her longest intimate relationship had in fact been with her pianist Frank Ponzio! Throughout their 20 years of making music together, they both had been through marriages and divorces but their musical connection was a constant in their lives.
The “meat” section of the show featured the songs: One Meatball (Zaret/Singer/Lane) and the vegetarian’s dream, Bacon (Mary Liz McNamara) where Morgan demonstrated true lust for the stuff. Morgan then took over the piano and introduced a song Rya that she wrote for her niece’s wedding.
Morgan has a lovely instrument with many colors to it. She often seemed to “speak” the notes- that is to sing as we speak. This approach certainly lends itself to making her audience understand the lyric and Morgan utilized this technique well, navigating the range of styles and vocal demands this eclectic set demanded. Particularly enjoyable was hearing the lyric quality of her voice displayed in Rya and the next two songs; Greenfinch and Linnet Bird (Sondheim) and Mantra (Morgan), with Frank back at the piano.
Delivering a thoroughly enjoyable evening, Morgan moved between playfulness and truly exploring her love of singing and making music. The packed room, which included cabaret legend Marilyn Maye, cheered her on for her encore God Bless The Child (Holiday/Herzog)
Photo Credit: unknown