REVIEW by Willard Manus

My appreciation of Maxine Weldon was late in coming. It was at the Bones & Blues Club early last year that I first caught her in concert. I've been a fan of hers ever since.

The woman is not only a multi-talented singer, one who can handle any
kind of song from blues to pop to country (and more), but a spirited
performer and showman. With her close-cropped grey hair, dazzling smile
and infectious personality she can captivate you within minutes of stepping out on stage. Weldon is a diva, a bigger-than-life thrush with a voice to match.

For proof, pick up a copy of her new CD, CALL IT LOVE. Weldon shows
her range and depth as an artist, singing twelve numbers written by such
disparate talents as Bruce Springsteen, Stephen Sondheim, Kris
Kristofferson and Percy Mayfield. Weldon handpicked all the songs on
the CD--"choosing songs is like choosing a dress," she has said, "if it
feels good on me, I sing it"--and also helped produce them, with saxophonist John Stevens (who did most of the arrangements).

Mayfield's "I Dare You Baby" and "Strange Things Happening" kick off
the CD in defiant-woman, salty-blues fashion, only to change gears
immediately on the yearning, gospel-like "Chilly Wind." Then comes
"Somewhere," from the Sondheim/Bernstein West Side Story, followed by a
countryish "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" (Bob Dylan). Weldon then delivers
impassioned renditions of more first-rate ballads--Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark," Kristofferson's "For the Good Times" and "Always On My Mind," among others.

On each cut Weldon is backed up by a bunch of veteran musicians who
really know how to make her sound good: Stephens, drummer Washington
Rucker, trumpeter Charles Owens, bassist Carol Kaye and guitarist Terry
Evans (who contributes a lilting solo to Weldon's rendition of Eddie
Cleanhead Vinson's 1952 hit, "Person to Person").

Weldon also appeared recently at Lunaria's in W. Hollywood, where she
sang some of the numbers on CALL IT LOVE, plus a slew of others such as
Kristofferson's "Nobody Wins." Weldon shook up the room in her usual
fashion and was in splendid voice all night long, showing her astounding
range and musicality. She makes every song she sings
unforgettably her own.

Weldon spends a lot of time in Europe these days, touring with Linda
Hopkins in their "Wild Women Blues" revue and making solo club, concert
and TV appearances. If CALL IT LOVE clicks, perhaps we'll be able to see more of her in the USA.