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Little Jack Melody
By Paul Moffett
The final show of the Bank One Lonesome Pine Specials Fall 1996 series was in some sense an encapsulation of producer Richard Van Kleeck's music tastes: wide-ranging choices of material, presented in an entirely idiosyncratic fashion, with a break in the middle for an aging folk singer turned cabaret singer.
Little Jack Melody and his band produce music for the cognosceti, the exceedingly hip and musically well-educated. By way of example: the bass was provided by a tuba. The song selection ranged from pop of the Sixties ("Downtown") to Mann/Weill's Three-Penny Opera ("Whiskey Bar") to cabaret tunes from the early part of the century ("My Charmed Life").
Knowing a little German didn't hurt, as the mid-section of the show was a sing-a-long in Deutsch, with cue cards.
The Melanie-as-Edith-Piaf break in the middle stopped the show in its tracks long enough for a side venture into "Brand New Roller Skates" and the Peggy Lee tune "Is That All There Is?" The boomers in the audience all sang along.
Things got back on track towards the end, when Little Jack Melody discoursed on Hegel in "Song of Ishmael," the closed out with "Happily Ever After."