Singer Sharon DiFronzo recorded a terrific song from New Hampshire artists Keith Linscott and Steve Ieule, “This Love is Forever,” back in the 1990s as well as a self-titled solo album in 1999. Almost two decades later the singer who is a mainstay in the nightlife region of the Woburn / Saugus area puts her immense talents on disc again with redesigned workings of well-known classics and a couple of originals entitling this collection Tributes and Treasures (Screamin’ Heart Records.)
“I Only Want To Be With You” intentionally turns Dusty Springfield’s tour-de-force pop blast into a ballad while a seriously heartfelt “To Love Somebody,” the Bee Gees classic that has interpretations ranging from the late Kathi McDonald (she replaced Janis Joplin in Big Brother and the Holding Company for a spell,) to Janis herself, finding yet another perspective from the Medford, Massachusetts recording artist.
Yvonne Elliman from Jesus Christ Superstar and Top 40 artist Helen Reddy put their imprint on “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” back in the 1970s, almost 5 decades later DiFronzo brings the ascending lines to different heights, and that’s the beauty of this album, Tributes and Treasures, reinventing the music in a classy and delightful way.
Well-named and professionally organized, it is a true tribute to the artists and melodies that DiFronzo respects and brings to the dinner circuit. Smith, The Shirelles and the Beatles all gave three different takes on “Baby, It’s You.” Sharon takes elements from all three classics and gives a slinky, smart groove with subtle horns underlining the sentiment. The restrained desperate power, believe it or not, could fit nicely with as mellow an act as James Taylor adding his charm, a bit of a paradox, which – of course – is what separates this artist from the many others attempting to approach these melodic essays. “Long Long Time” has a lone piano that its producer, my friend the late Nik Venet, would find impressive. He, of course, produced “Different Drum” for Ronstadt (Eliot Mazer produced “Long Long Time”) and Harriet Schock’s “Rosebud” which has elements so reminiscent of this.
“I Saw the Light” is terrific, perhaps my favorite on this outstanding effort. Just play the YouTube of Sheena Easton’s elegant 1983 “Almost Over You” and then a/b it with Sharon DiFronzo and you can feel the nuances of each artist, giving great insight into the Tributes and Treasures theme.
“If I Believe” and “The Child in You” are the two originals here, and they blend in so very well with the music Sharon has chosen for this second album. The songs are in the 3-5 minute range and are pop delights. Very nice job all the way around.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.