margo tufo

live at the candlelight.

"...a voice that should be enshrined in The Smithsonian. For, like all truly great singers, Tufo has a style, a real style, that incorporates actual singing techniques like phrasing, voice placement, and dynamics. Beyond that, God gifted her with a very rare instrument - which over the years, she has learned to command with perfect precision. A rare musician in a world of image uber alles and overnight success.

Each of the accomplished members of the band gets a shot at an extended solo, and each proves his mettle with understated artistry. Margo enters on the following tune, “Tell Mama”, her smoky contralto sounding as warm and fuzzy as a favored sweater. She migrates through the funky number with facile savvy. But check out her bluesy, ballsy delivery on Tom McFarland’s “Just Got In From Portland”, where following an extended trebly guitar solo by Robbie Laws, she digs in, moaning like Paul Desmond playing sax with The Dave Brubeck Quartet of the 60’s. Her intonation begins at her lips and courses through entire body, vibrating like a reed. The proceedings segue into Bobby Troupe’s 50’s classic “Route 66”. Tufo growls out the vocals in a nasal blues style. But her phrasing betrays a familiarity with the works of jazz-torch singer Peggy Lee as well. Ray Charles’ bluesy gospel-tinged ballad, “Hard Times” fits Margo’s voice like a glove, as does the sprightly funky soul of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness.” She pulls at her voice in the upper chest in exactly the same way as Reverend Al. Side two features a “be-bobby swang thing” instrumental - “Friday Night at The Cadillac Club,” a fine duet between tenor saxophonist Renato Caranto and alto saxophonist Ben Fowler. But catch Margo on the following cut “Someone Else Is Steppin’ In.” She utilizes every vocal trick in her bag, cajoling the words, as if each were individual yo-yo walking the dog. “747” is a big ol’ jet of an R & B tune that hints at the feel of B.B. King; as does the following tune, his signature song, “The Thrill Is Gone.” The skipping reggae of “Giving It Up For Your Love” comes as a welcome change from the mostly blues setting of the recording - and affords Margo the opportunity to stretch out into a little different direction, her sounding like Mavis Staples. For those of you who are blues fans, “Live at The Candlelight” is a must have. But for those of you who are, like myself, dubious at best about the whole genre, you will find no better purveyor of the stuff than Margo Tufo. She should be considered a state treasure.

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Two Louies - NW Music Magazine - S.P. Clarke