Method Actor with Eva Cassidy,
Method Actor
(BLP, 1988; Q&W, 2002)

Method Actor is a re-release of the 1988 self-titled debut album of a Washington, D.C., band (which should not be confused with a group of the same name from Athens, Ga.) This CD is considered rare because only 2,000 copies were produced and several of those were heat warped and discarded.

The disc contains vocals by the late Eva Cassidy. After Method Actor broke up, she went solo, but her music never caught on because she refused to be categorized or to stick to one type of music. She sang jazz, blues, folk, rock, funk and soul. She became a superstar in England after she died of cancer in 1996, and people were paying $500 for this CD on eBay.

The 2003 re-release includes all the original eight songs, plus two previously unreleased songs as a bonus.

The first song, "Getting Out," got me on my feet and brought my neighbor for a closer listen when I cranked up the volume. I cannot decide whether I like the music or the lyrics best. Cassidy's voice is powerful and ideal for blues and jazz. What a song! This is something straight out of your favorite jazz pub.

From knockout jazz, the band changes to a light, slower pace with "Look into My Eyes." This song demonstrates the vocal range, control and holding power of Cassidy. She could hold a note for what seemed like an eternity with absolutely no diminished quality. Her voice was as strong at the end of the note as at the beginning. Her vibrato remains steady throughout and there is no quavering.

The background vocals in "When It's Too Late" are the best in this collection, although it is difficult to select one song that stands out from the rest. All are superb in all facets of the composition.

Method Actor was only active from 1987 to 1990. They never produced a second album. The band was Cassidy (vocals), Jim Campbell (drums), Kenn-Torb-Fiester (bass) and David Christopher (acoustic guitar, electric guitar and keyboards). They are joined on this CD by Ned Judy (keyboards), Tom Copeland (horns), Marc Izzi (horns), Tom Prasado-Rao (violin) and Robert Fiester (guitar).

You will understand why Method Actor might sell for $500 as soon as you start listening to it. The thing that most impressed me most was the different styles of music in the collection. There is such diversity, with the band being fantastic in every style.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 26 July 2003

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