PE0200. EVA CASSIDY: Simply Eva – a collection of previously unreleased performances. Blix Street Records G2-10099, recorded 1993-96. - 739341009921
“SIMPLY EVA is another collection of posthumous Eva Cassidy recordings, but with a twist: all but one of these performances was recorded with the artist accompanying herself solely, with an acoustic guitar - either in Chris Biondo's studio or in front of club audiences between 1993-1996. Cassidy's devoted fan base has heard her perform the material before, but not in this way. Her live-in-studio readings of 'Wayfaring Stranger', Christine McVie's 'Songbird', Curtis Mayfield's 'People Get Ready', and Paul Simon's 'Kathy's Song', this one with all verses present resonate with even more intimacy - if that is possible - than the previously released ‘finished’ versions. The reading of 'Over the Rainbow' featured here is the one from the Blues Alley performance from the Rainbow video. While Cassidy's version of Sandy Denny's 'Who Knows Where the Time Goes' doesn't top the songwriter's, it does shine brightly, as does her brief a cappella take on 'I Know You by Heart'. Another surprise is this reading of Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time' which showcases Cassidy's fingerpicking skills and canny sense of rhythm. If you're a fan, you need this; if you've been wondering what all the fuss is about, the naked intimacy of SIMPLY EVA is among the most convincing arguments yet for her posthumous reputation.”
- Thom Jurek, All Music Guide
“D.C.-based Celtic folk singer Grace Griffith finally found some interest in releasing Cassidy's music at the label for which she had recorded, Blix Street. 1998's SONGBIRD was a compilation culled from Cassidy's three previous releases, and when BBC Radio 2 disc jockey Terry Wogan started playing the version of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, SONGBIRD started to sell in the U.K. The British TV show ‘Top of the Pops’ aired a home-video clip of Cassidy performing the song, quite intensely, at the Blues Alley and were deluged with requests for further broadcasts. Thanks to all the exposure, SONGBIRD steadily grew into a major hit, climbing all the way to the top of the British album charts and selling over a million copies. Subsequent collections like WONDERFUL WORLD (2004) and SIMPLY EVA (2011) included more studio demos and live recordings, further cementing Cassidy's posthumous reputation, along with 2012's THE BEST OF EVA CASSIDY.”
- Steve Huey, allmusic.com
“Singer Eva Cassidy had a #1 album on the British record charts and has gone multi-platinum in the US, but she never got to see her own success. The chart-topping album occurred in 2001 and was actually a 1998 release on Washington State based Blix Records. But Cassidy had already left her physical being, having died in 1996 at the tender age of 33, from melanoma. The recordings that took the world by storm were recorded as early as 1991. The seven albums or compilations released by Blix Street are still huge sellers.
Now comes ‘new’ music from the beautiful voice of Cassidy with this album of acoustic guitar and vocal performances recorded in the studio and ‘live' at two Washington DC nightclubs. And it's a captivating album. The lead off track is Christine McVie's composition ‘Songbird’, the first song that most Cassidy fans heard. But that session was from 1991 and here we are five years later with no overdubs or supporting musicians. Another Cassidy ‘standard’ is ‘Over The Rainbow’ but it's a different version this time. Cassidy performed ‘cover songs’ in her own way. There are two Cyndi Lauper-related songs here: ‘True Colors’ and ‘Time After Time’. I'm pretty sure Lauper would very much approve of these versions. Old traditional folk songs don't seem out of place either. ‘Wayfaring Stranger’ and ‘Wade in the Water’ fit right in! And, trust me, Cassidy's version of Jesse Fuller's ‘San Francisco Bay Blues’ is 180 degrees from the original. The sessions recorded at Blues Alley and another D.C. area club, Pearl's, sound only slightly different from those recorded ‘live' by producer Chris Biondo in his Maryland studio. There is no audience noise and these may have been recorded before or after shows at these clubs.
Blix Street owner Bill Straw licensed these previously unreleased recordings from Cassidy's parents to create this release. Cassidy fans will thank them for giving them ‘new’ music and ‘new versions’ of some previous songs to carry on her memory.”
- Steve Ramm, ANYTHING PHONOGRAPHIC