Cyndi Lauper has the blues — by choice.
The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” singer’s latest album is called “Memphis Blues” and is just that — a trip to the famed music city to record an array of blues and R&B favorites with help from a stellar guest list that includes B.B. King, Ann Peebles, Allen Toussaint, Charlie Musselwhite, Jonny Lang and some legendary behind-the-scenes session players.
“I wanted to do this album for eight years,” says Lauper, 56, who co-produced the 11-song set. “The blues is the basis of everything that I’ve ever sung.” But it was a bout of serious laryngitis before her turn on this season’s “Celebrity Apprentice” that got Lauper in gear.
“I had to re-learn how to talk,” she says, “so by the time I was able to sing again, I was hell-bent that, ‘I’m gonna do this CD while I still have teeth in my mouth,’ ’cause every day you wait, you don’t get it done.”
And, Lauper adds, singing the blues in 2010 is more resonant than it was at other points of her career.
“My job as an artist is to look at the world and describe what I see,” she explains. “And what I see is a lot of people singing the blues, because people are losing their houses. They don’t have jobs. Things may change, and I think they will, but this music goes beyond just a bunch of old songs.
“And I went to Memphis because that’s a real place. It’s a melting pot, different kinds of people traveling through, some to see Elvis (Presley)’s home, some to go down to Beale Street and listen to the music that spills out onto the street there ... It’s not what it was, but the music is still alive and being made down there, so I thought it was a good thing to shine a light there.”
Cyndi Lauper performs at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 1, at Sound Board in the MotorCity Casino, 2901 Grand River Ave., Detroit. Tickets are $48 and $52. Call 313-237-7711 or visit www.motorcitycasino.com.
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