REVIEW: Francesca Beghe — Francesca Beghe Live (LP)
From the soulful opener “Enlightenment” to the dreamy middle track “Little One” and finally to the uplifting closer, “People Have the Power”, New York City’s Francesca Beghe delivers a knockout performance in her great comeback Francesca Beghe Live. Featuring the already-released single “Trust In Me”, which many might claim as Beghe’s signature song, the 13 additional tracks on Francesca Beghe Live capture just a glimpse of the magic that this blues / adult contemporary, pop and rock and roll songstress brings to an intimate live setting.
“Trust In Me”, released 30 years ago on The Bodyguard soundtrack, Beghe penned the track with Charlie Midnight and Marc Swersky. It would go on to be recorded by Joe Cocker and Sass Jordan. The grooves and the tempo of the song — match the vibe of the New York City venue she’s performing in. You feel the intimacy of her vocals, with just the slightest raspy layer. She commands the stage.
In “No Use Talkin’” Beghe’s voice continues to exude a wonderful blend of flavors — much like Janis Joplin and Diana Krall. From there “Angel Choir” and “LA Came to Meet Me”, slow the room temperature just slightly. I loved the opening guitar work in “Angel Choir”. It’s warm and subtle. Beghe sings like a choir of angel’s voices, he is calling out to me. Her voice reaches just a slight high note and has this tiny tail on the end that reminds me of cursive handwriting. Her backing vocalists are just as soulful and elevate the song’s tones. In “LA Came to Meet Me”, I loved the bounce of the tune, the way the keys/organ tickles the ear. Beghe sings champagne on the inside, pearls on the outside. That line had me curious for several reasons, and after all these years of calling California and Los Angeles sun kissed in general, I had to wonder if she was illustrating the sparkle of the town once you’re up close and really experiencing it. From afar, it’s charming and a bit glazed.
As the songs roll along, you really get a strong sense of the artistic vision and the lens Beghe writes from, and sings from, shapes her sound. While the blues side of her is represented well in the percussion, the bass rhythms and in the delicious keys/organ sound, songs like “Send Down The Sunshine”, “Your Love Changed Everything” and “Little One” paint a broader sense of romanticism and vulnerability. I thought “Little One” felt like an interesting addition to a nightclub setting. The last crop of songs, “Dreamworld”, “Requiem”, “Listening Wind”, “Trust In Me”, “Let Your Spirit Fly”, “One World” and finally, “People Have The Power” move in a pace that feels like each song is handing off an emotional vehicle like a baton to the following track. I think if you were to come into the concert mid-song, towards the end of the album, you would still indeed have a very strong sense of who Beghe is an artist. She’s an artist with a voice that still gives so much to her audience.