…of the general awesomeness of Cyndi Lauper, here she is in To Memphis With Love (2010) on why she was recording a blues album:
“In 1988 Fats Waller came back to me in a dream. He was sitting at the piano playing and he said he really liked what I had done with Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On.” He told me that I should do the old songs and re-interpret them in my own way.”
Not only do I firmly believe that Cyndi had this dream, I do not have the slightest doubt that Fats Waller was making a personal appearance.
Surely, he, of all people, knows that underappreciated populist geniuses should stick together, be it in this world or the next. And after the heat Lauper took from both the “some-of-my-best-friends-are-black” Left and the “why-the-hell-would-anyone-still-sing-protest-songs” Right for daring to update Marvin Gaye, it’s easy to believe that Fats felt she was in need of some bucking up.
Nice film by the way and, despite the somewhat overly reverential tone that perpetually haunts tributes, Lauper does get free and make some wonderful music (I’d expect no less)….Plus, mixing “She Bop” and “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” into a batch of blues standards is as inspired as bleeding “What’s Going On” into “Iko, Iko” on True Colors was way back when.
The only cautionary note is the completely unsurprising fact that–forty years down the road–one still shares a stage with Tracy Nelson singing “Down So Low” at one’s own risk. Even if one is Cyndi Lauper.