Fort Worth — From the first triumphant notes of “You Don’t Own Me,” it is completely apparent that Carole J. Bufford is in control. She knows who she is, what she wants to say and how to take a crowd on a beautiful journey through some amazing songs of the 1960s. Covering famous women singers and songwriters from the ’60s has been done numerous times and in many ways, yet Bufford seems almost effortlessly to make these songs her own. Her voice is commanding and powerful, yet she deftly avoids ever being shrill.
You do not expect a Broadway performer to belt out “Tell Him,” which was originally recorded by a Queens “girl group,” as they were called back then, The Exciters. Yet Bufford brings out the emotion in the song. We are then taken to a beautiful version of the timeless “House of the Rising Sun.” Bufford’s affection and respect for Dusty Springfield beams through in her rendering of “I Only Want To Be with You.” Next up came an upbeat version of Linda Ronstadt’s (remember the Stone Ponies?) “Different Drum.”
After a brief intermission, Bufford brings the audience back into focus with the Cher classic, “Bang! Bang!” Soon we are in a medley with Mama Cass and Nancy Sinatra. Carole has studied this period well and sprinkles the moments between songs with little stores and facts about the Fearless Females and their music. Carole is able to include these interesting points and anecdotes without it feeling like an episode of music history on the BBC or NPR.
Then we are treated to interpretations of songs made famous by Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Tina Turner and others. It is rare to see a night of cabaret where the singer is so in control of herself and so comfortable with the material. Bufford is superbly backed by a trio of local musicians with Jesse Fry on keyboards, Rex Bozarth on bass, and Mike Drake on drums.
The programming choices for the Cabaret series at the Reid have been varied and never seem to disappoint. The acoustics are excellent, and it is a delightful little space with first-rate service: a fun addition to the DFW entertainment scene.
If you are looking for a special date night, then head over to The Reid Cabaret Theatre at Casa Manana and see You Don’t Own Me: The Fearless Females of the 1960's with Carole J. Bufford.