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The Miracle of Teresa Tudury

~ CD Review ~ "The River of Life"

Feb 2, 2015
Kimmy Sophia Brown

There are some people that are just so talented that they defy description. Teresa Tudury is a California Bay area musician – poet – wise woman that I had the good fortune to hear for the first time this past summer at the Sweet Chariot Music Festival at Swans Island, Maine. She is the kind of person who could do a one-woman show on Broadway and bring people to their knees in tears in one moment, and a moment later have them gasping for breath from laughing. Her songs tell stories with a surgical scalpel of insight, irony, and humor. Ms. Tudury lives in Northern California, has a radio show, makes frequent live appearances, and has worked with folks such as Bonnie Bramlett, Rickie Lee Jones, Leonard Cohen, Leo Kottke, Taj Mahal, and Charlie Musselwhite. What I can’t understand is why someone so exceptionally gifted in so many ways isn’t more well known. I have come to the conclusion that like the Bible, some things are a mystery!

Teresa’s albums are masterfully produced with top notch musicians such as Bill Burnett, Suzy Williams, Kahlil Sabbagh, Ritt Henn, and other folks I did not see at Swans Island such as David Zasloff, Dave Bourne, and Steve Gurr.

The real miracle though is Teresa’s Sarah Vaughn-meets-Ethel Merman multi-octave voice. She pulls in the ribald playfulness of Bette Midler and the raw bluesy edginess of Sippie Wallace, Bessie Smith, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe . She does the voices of tomcats and little girls, lovers and continents, chanteuse torch singers, and rednecks.

Probably one of the best songs ever written in HUMAN HISTORY is her song “River of Life.”

It starts out with a longing feeling:

Why was I born? What am I to do? Where am I going next?

Then she changes to a Brooklyn cab driver with the next line:

Who the hell are you?

Then back to the luscious gaia-mother-goddess-singer:

Who knows what sweet thing it is
that turns the world?

Chorus:
But now all I see is the River of Life, the River of Life.
All I see is the River of Life, the River of Life.

I had a sweet romantic love
the kind I always wished I would
but we all know romantic love
does no one any good.
I prefer a love like ours,
the kind that skins its knees ,
but all I see is the River of Life.

[Chorus]

We saw the queen of heaven once
she was dancing in the sky
she leaned down to whisper in our ears
“No one ever dies.”
Because the love you’ve brought to earth
has set the whole world free
Now all I see is the River of Life
the river the river the river.

Teresa TuduryThis song is epic! It stirs the soul, it inspires the heart, it can carry people out of a dismal depression into the height of inspiration. This song was sung with about forty people on the stage at Swans Island this past summer and it made me a puddle of snot and tears. This song makes you feel like you can save the world.

The CD then moves to the hilarious anthem of the Greek or Roman Gods, looking at us ridiculous earthlings trying to fight our way out of paper bags. Teresa’s auditorium sized pipes belt out these verses and chorus, and honestly it is one of the funniest and most ironic songs ever penned by poet or bard.

“Cheering Your Little Ass On”

There is a fiery dragon who guards a smoldering cave
Take this little pocket knife here let's see who you can save
Over there’s a lovely princess chained to a rock in the sea
Here’s a cookie cutter and a ball of string, let’s watch you set her free
You know we’re all behind you now
From twilight's dusk to bleeding dawn
We’ll be sitting up here in the clouds watching you
and we’ll be cheering your little ass on.

She writes songs of love such as “Reach Back” and “I’m His Queen” and “All Because I Met a Man.” Any one of these songs are worthy of analysis and review because they tell stories with bared-soul authenticity.

“Goodbye Philadelphia” is Teresa’s response to Randy Newman’s 70s tune, “Drop the Big One.” The same droll attitude and witty repartee, sizzling zinger after zinger.

Based on a story I read the other day
it seems space aliens are coming to take us away.
I did some research to find out just what our government knew
and according to my sources this story is true.
So say goodbye Philadelphia,
say goodbye sweet Tehran,
get a pizza
and make love to whoever you can.

Teresa’s deadpan delivery of this song is just beyond description. If you don’t order this album you’re just depriving yourself, that’s all there is to it. If you don’t book tickets to travel to her next live performance just know that you have ignored one of the Seven Wonders of the World (or however many of them there are).

Check out her website at teresatudury.net.

(Click the second image above for a larger view.)
Images used with permission of Teresa Tudury.

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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