'Imagine' (featuring all previously unreleased tracks) is the first Eva Cassidy album released since 'Songbird's worldwide success. 'Songbird' is certified Gold in the U.S., was No.1 on both Billboard's Catalog Album Ch... more »art & Internet Chart in 2001, & was a No. 1 pop album & certified triple platinum in the U.K. In addition to Eva's starkly moving tribute to John Lennon's 'Imagine', Eva Cassidy re-interprets 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' - distinctly different from the Buddy Holly & Linda Ronstadt versions. Ryko. 2002.« less
'Imagine' (featuring all previously unreleased tracks) is the first Eva Cassidy album released since 'Songbird's worldwide success. 'Songbird' is certified Gold in the U.S., was No.1 on both Billboard's Catalog Album Chart & Internet Chart in 2001, & was a No. 1 pop album & certified triple platinum in the U.K. In addition to Eva's starkly moving tribute to John Lennon's 'Imagine', Eva Cassidy re-interprets 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' - distinctly different from the Buddy Holly & Linda Ronstadt versions. Ryko. 2002.
David N. (ilikeallmusic) from GADSDEN, AL Reviewed on 8/7/2015...
This is a great Cd!! Eva's version of It Doesn't Matter Anymore starts off the music and the rest of the songs are very good!! AMG rates this a 4.5 out of 5.0! So sad that Eva's life ended at such an early age!!! - David
We're fortunate to have Eva Cassidy's finest album yet
Catherine S. Vodrey | East Liverpool, Ohio United States | 08/30/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Those of us who love Eva Cassidy awaited the arrival of this CD with baited breath. Would it be just re-releases of songs we've already heard? Would it be not-so-great songs chosen just because we HADN'T already heard them? Would it be prickly with background noise, or would it show off the purity of her voice as it should? I'm thrilled beyond belief to report that this may be Eva Cassidy's finest album yet.In typical Eva style, the songs are all over the map, ranging from Paul Anka to John Lennon to Gordon Lightfoot to her beloved traditional tunes and beyond. Yet also in typical Eva style, she manages to imbue each song with fresh meaning and new depth via her inimitable phrasing and the almost unbearable intimacy of her voice.Paul Anka's "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" was recorded by Buddy Holly and released on the day of Holly's death. Despite this gloomy background--and the fact that the song has lyrics detailing the throes of a dying love--Cassidy somehow gives it a light touch, one which gives much-needed counterpoint to the song's dark tone. This is brilliant phrasing; it makes the lyrics sound all the more poignant because she's trying to act as though she doesn't care. Cassidy rises to the challenge of taking on songs made famous by other female singers--Billie Holiday ("You've Changed"), Patti Page ("Tennessee Waltz") and Sandy Denny ("Who Knows Where the Time Goes"). Cassidy succeeds not by competing, but by giving each of these pieces her concentration and her curiosity. Part of Cassidy's magic is that she's so clearly singing for herself. Her absorption in the song, and the introspection she brings to the lyrics, make these classics newly simple, newly clear, and swept clean of all past associations. Cassidy doesn't challenge the more famous versions, or the more well-known singers who first brought these songs to the public; she merely wraps her voice around the songs in a thoughtful, melting manner that makes them impossible to resist."Danny Boy" is a revelation. This somber traditional tune can sound ponderous in the wrong hands, but Cassidy handles it with intelligence and a light touch. She deftly conveys the regret and the sense of loss inherent in the lyrics, but she backs away from overdoing the pathos. The result is a simple tale told in song--and what a marvelous and moving song it is because Cassidy takes such exceeding care with it. It's an exquisite cameo of a recording.On John Lennon's "Imagine," we have perhaps the album's most poignant song of all. Though Lennon's lyrics were originally aimed at getting people to think of world peace, it's difficult to listen to the song without starting to imagine where Cassidy would be if she were still alive today. This song is, with only its minimal acoustic guitar (played by Cassidy) and the porcelain miracle of her voice, something of a longing look cast backwards--even if Cassidy didn't intend it to be."
Kim Fletcher | Pattaya, Chonburi Thailand | 07/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Obviously Mott the Dog does not know how Angels sound like, but he would not be disappointed if Angels sounded like Eva Cassidy. Without doubt, she is the female vocalist of our time. It is one of the cruelest tragedies that Eva Cassidy never lived to enjoy her success. In fact, with Cassidy's natural shy personality (yet strong character) that kept her from rocketing to superstardom in her short life, she was never sure of her stage presence. She shunned the spotlight till it was nearly too late, or preferred to sing backup vocals or duets as she did on Chuck Brown's wonderful album 'The Other Side', released in 1995, which although is a Brown album, it is the wonderful voice of Eva Cassidy that grabs your attention. Eva Cassidy refused to limit herself to one style, taking on jazz, funk, blues, rock, pop, and folk, all with that ethereal voice, turning each song into something magical.Eva Cassidy released only one solo album in her lifetime, the wonderful 'Live at Blues Alley' (1996). It was recorded in Washington's most famous blues club after which it was named, and then it only got a local release. It was one of the cruelest blows that by the end of that year the dreaded cancer had whisked this beautiful girl with the heavenly voice away from us. Fortunately for those of us left here on our very mortal planet, Eva Cassidy left many recordings behind which are now being released to great critical and commercial acclaim internationally. All of Eva Cassidy's recordings are lovingly managed by the Eva Cassidy estate. So far we had 'Eva By Heart' (1998); 'Songbird' (1998); 'Time After Time' (2000); 'Imagine' (2002); and `American Tune' (2003). These albums have sold over three million copies worldwide and still counting.It has to be remembered that Eva Cassidy did not write songs herself, but was able to take other people's great skills and twist them into something even greater. At the moment (although I admit it does vary) 'Imagine' is my favorite Eva Cassidy collection. The album opens with a solo version of 'It Doesn't Matter Anymore' by Paul Anka (who also wrote 'My Way', made famous by Frank Sinatra, Sid Vicious, and then Nigel of the Bastards). This is followed by a version of Little Willie John's 'Fever', not done as Peggy Lee did it in 1958, but as it was originally intended to be, when written in 1956, with Eva's brother joining her, adding violin to Eva's scratch vocal. You also get a track that has been salvaged from the Blues Alley sessions 'You've Changed', and when you hear this, you realize how high the quality of music was on that particular album. Eva Cassidy's voice sends shivers up and down your spine. She would surely get a nod of approval from the person who first recorded this song, the great Billie Holiday. Sandy Denny's 'Who Knows Where The Time Goes' gets redefined here, giving the song a whole new lease of life. Eva even gets a little bit country with her true to the roots version of Patti Page's hit 'Tennessee Waltz', which in its days in the 1950's was one of the first cross over country/pop hits. To finish the album is one of those "enough to make a grown man cry" moments as Eva Cassidy breaks into an emotional solo version of 'Danny Boy'. Still, with all these moments of magic, I think the stand-out track is the title track, a tribute to John Lennon in a touching version of his masterpiece 'Imagine'. Play this song in any room and in seconds it will reduce people to silence as they listen to Eva Cassidy's voice caress the air. (...)"
Still making grown men cry
M. A. Fraser | UK | 08/23/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"When fans of most recording artists await their latest release, they look forward to hearing the development and growing maturity of that artist. Unfortunately, fans of Eva Cassidy look forward to her CD's with huge anticipation yet also an element of fear, knowing that each release means digging deeper into a finite archive. So with mixed feelings I took delivery of Imagine and after a few listens here are my thoughts.The CD starts off very well with the familiar "It Doesn't Matter Anymore", in which Eva gives an interesting, and touching vocal while picking out an attractive accompaniment on the guitar.Eva's version of "Fever" will be recognised by anybody that owns "The Other Side" CD. Despite a strong vocal, the song never appealed to me."Who Knows Where the Time Goes" is one song that Eva can add nothing to; Sandy Denny's original was simply perfect already. However a poignant link is now made between two stunningly beautiful voices that left us so early. (Sandy Denny died in 1978, aged 30). Yet it's a great song and good to hear Eva's performance of it. Curiously, Eva sounds somewhat like Joni Mitchell on this rather rough live recording."You've Changed" finds Eva back with her band in jazz territory with a song from the Blues Alley period.Next, Eva (with her guitar) bravely tackles John Lennon's "Imagine", using many alternative vocal phrasings a la Over the Rainbow. I think she does a pretty good job, but I suspect not everybody will agree.Then we are back to jazz with "Still Not Ready". Dating from 1987, this is likely to be one of Eva's earliest recordings to be released. It's performed with a `musicianly' jazz quartet that doesn't seem to have figured in any other of Eva's releases. Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain" has Eva sounding rather similar to her "Cathy's Song" rendition."Tennessee Waltz", is remarkably tender, again with just Eva and her guitar, which is how I prefer it (if you hadn't noticed by now!)"I Can Only Be Me", can easily be identified as a Stevie Wonder song although he hasn't recorded it himself. It is backed by piano and synth, just like Stevie often does things! In common with her other early recordings, Eva's voice is pure and strong, although without the vocal ornamentation and phrasing that we know and love in her later recordings.The CD ends with "Danny Boy", the traditional song and renowned tearjerker. If your eyes are moist after she sings the first two lines then you'd better reach for the tissues before the second part of the melody, because we are firmly in `grown men crying' territory. I'm sure many people will feel that this song alone is worth the price of the CD.Credit should be given to the record label for listing full details of each track as well as providing informative liner notes and attractive presentation of the CD. Many fans including myself appreciate that.It's time to be realistic and say this CD doesn't merit the usual 5 stars, but considering these are archived recordings of a young singer without a record contract, it is still a remarkable achievement by all those involved."
Imagine What Could Have Been
Lonnie E. Holder | Columbus, Indiana, United States | 10/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My second foray into the remarkable world of Eva Cassidy was as good as my first, "Live at Blues Alley." This young lady had an incredible vocal talent, both in terms of ability and interpretation. Where a woman this young obtained all the vocal talent contained in this CD is a mystery only God can answer, but at least we get to hear her legacy.
"Guess It Doesn't Matter Any More" is played as folk, a variation from Cassidy's usual style. Worry not, this acoustic song is nicely performed, and the guitar could have been eliminated because Cassidy's voice is beautiful. The next song is even better as Cassidy belts out the pure high notes in "Fever." Cassidy brings sensuality to this song that harkens back to an era even earlier than that of 1956, when the song was written. Cassidy sings high notes that threaten to pass into the realm of the unheard for my aging ears. As with the previous song, the violin could easily have been eliminated to allow the percussion and bass to carry the song.
In the song "Who Knows Where Time Goes" I hear elements that remind me a lot of Diana Krall. A fan of Diana walked by as I was listening to this song and asked me if it was Diana singing. How to explain that the emotional and powerful voice coming over the speakers was from someone who had sold more than four million albums after she had died from melanoma in 1996? I said it was Eva Cassidy and he should try some of her albums, because she was a great, unrecognized talent.
Speaking of great, Cassidy next takes on a song made famous by the great Billie Holiday, "You've Changed." Cassidy reminds listeners what sultry means as her voice caresses the words of this song in a way that makes me wish I could have heard her in person. What a talent this lady had. I think Billie Holiday would have given her the thumbs up for this song.
I am amazed at the range of songs that Cassidy interprets. John Lennon's signature song "Imagine" is interpreted in Cassidy's unique way. This song is more than another remake, it is a true vocal interpretation that requires a listener to consider what might have been had Cassidy's career continued to progress. This is a remarkable song interpreted by a remarkable singer.
I enjoy the music on the song "Still Not Ready" almost as much as I enjoy Eva Cassidy's singing. The music and the vocals join seamlessly, and the wonderful bridge at nearly three minutes into the song blends progressive elements into this bluesy song. This song was deserving of a Grammy nomination had it been better known at the time it was originally recorded. Music fans who appreciate a wide range of genres will enjoy this song.
There is a certain challenge in listening to a wide array of music on one CD. Gordon Lightfoot's "Early Morning Rain" has country overtones. Accompanied only by her guitar, which she handles adroitly, Eva sings this song as though she was truly "a long way from home" "missing her loved ones." Though this song is a bit less vocally than some of her other songs, it is difficult to avoid being impressed by the purity of her notes. Fans of Gordon Lightfoot should be impressed with this interpretation of his song. How great would a duet between Gordon Lightfoot and Eva Cassidy have been?
Remaining in a similar vein is the short song "Tennessee Waltz," made famous by Patti Page. Once again, Eva's vocals bring a new interpretation to the song, but I am less enthused about this song and the previous song than other songs on this CD.
I am surprised that reviewer Mark Walker (the Amazon selected "professional" reviewer) considers "I Can Only Be Me" one of the less successful tracks on this CD. While this song is a bit short of songs that exceed the standard for greatness, such as "Who Knows Where the Time Goes," I still get chills listening to Eva sing "But how many times have you wished to be in spaces, times, places, than what you were." I believe Stevie Wonder would consider this interpretation to be very good at a minimum.
This CD closes with another standard. Eva manages to bring a tear to my eye with "Danny Boy," which is already a sad song. I assume that the guitar accompaniment is Eva's which is sufficiently minimal to keep the focus on Eva's incredible voice. This song is yet another that has the potential to give you chills in the right mood.
Much of the music on this CD was originally performed live. However, it is difficult to tell the origins of the music as audience noise was edited from the tracks. There may be places where the music and singing fades that can be attributed to the editing. However, this music begs to be played as loudly as possible, assuming that the glass in your house can handle the frequencies Eva sings without damage. I often forget that the original purpose of singing was to hear the emotional content of the words, and here Eva reminds us all abundantly that music is more than hype and packaging, it is a singer, and her words, and her emotions, and just enough music to glue it together. "
Macjazz1 | USA | 10/01/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not sure why anyone would rate this disc at less than five stars, unless maybe it's because Eva's breakthrough album "Songbird" was so transcendent that anything else is hard pressed to match it. So, Songbird deserves all the stars in the sky, and Imagine deserves ... all the stars in the sky! I heard "Danny Boy" on the radio a while ago and I was immediately captivated, thinking "Who is this?!". Then something familiar in her voice made me realize it was Eva Cassidy. Wow. If there's anyone out there today with a talent and soul like hers, I want to hear them! Compared to most of the tin pan trifles put out by the major labels today this is pure gold. Well, actually, compared to just about anything this is pure gold. What a loss that she's gone, but what a blessing that she left us this music."