Review of the ongoing Love/Payne show by Stephen Holden in the NY Times:
- Darlene Love and Freda Payne are prime examples of rhythm-and-blues singers who are considerably more complex than the sound of the vintage hit singles that typecast them vocally on the nostalgia hit parade. And in their exciting act, “Love and Payne,” which plays through Oct. 5 at Feinstein’s at the Regency, both singers present three-dimensional musical personalities that their hits only hinted at.
Ms. Love’s whooping gospel shout, with its raw-silk vibrato, propelled several Phil Spector girl-group anthems of the early 1960’s, and 40 years later, she projects the same blunt, sky’s-the-limit optimism. But there’s a softer, subtler side to Ms. Love, and it comes out in her version of the Dan Hill-Barry Mann ballad “Sometimes When We Touch.” Ms. Love takes a song that invites mawkish self-dramatization and tackles it head on, ripping away the mewling self-pity that traditionally accrues to its expression of fear of intimacy and replacing it with a directness that turns a confession of weakness into an assertion of strength.
Ms. Payne’s 1970 signature hit, “Band of Gold,” the unstrung, dance-floor lament about a bride abandoned at her wedding, barely indicated the range of a performer who toured as a jazz singer in the mid-1960’s before enjoying a short string of hits in the early 70’s. At Feinstein’s her smoky-voiced, confidently phrased versions of “Angel Eyes” and “Blues in the Night” show her to be a sophisticated pop-jazz interpreter in the Nancy Wilson mold but warmer….