- CHARITY BENEFIT
Written By Joel Benjamin
October 1st, 2012
The underlining theme of Julie Gold’s exemplary cabaret show at the historic Duplex in Greenwich Village might easily have been how music keeps you young, or at least, young at heart. Julie Gold, who admitted to 56 and the seventy-plus Peter Yarrow of the near-mythical Peter, Paul & Mary, were childlike and energetic singing their own songs before an enthusiastic and sold-out house. Just looking at their beaming faces was worth the price of admission.
Joined by Emily Bindiger and Margaret Dorn who did backup vocal duties with great finesse, Gold sang a number of her own songs beginning with “The Girl I Found,” about—metaphorically—returning to a former object of affection a changed and better person.
Gold gabbed a lot about her age, joking that she “used to be hip and now has a new one!” In “Anxious and Depressed” she wittily demanded “don’t give me hugs, give me drugs” to find “inner peace” while Mlles Bindiger & Dorn harmonized and used pill bottles as maracas. “Come to Me as a Bird” was a bittersweet remembrance of love, her simple lyrics and easygoing rhymes hiding the underlying ache.
Gold and her singers gave tribute to the songwriter Christine Lavin who was in the audience, singing her very funny lyrics set to the “Jeopardy” TV theme. Gold then told a lovely story of being in Marvin Hamlisch’s apartment where he advised her to change an illogical line in her song “Goodbye Heart.” With tongue in cheek she commented that Hamlisch “co-wrote” the song. The song, itself, used urban imagery (tossing her heart off a subway platform) to explore how love goes wrong.
Peter Yarrow’s set was a moving reminder of a period in America’s history of passionate feelings, protests and beautiful music. Yarrow, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, insisted that his most famous song, “Puff the Magic Dragon” was totally not about drugs. He ended his set with a sing-along of “Puff” which brought tears to many eyes. He made humorous reference to his age with a song about his colonoscopy (!) and used Buddhist imagery in “The Great Mandela,” a quietly anxious number about the inexorable cycles of life. It was terrific to hear this artist sing and tell wonderful stories about his life and his songs.
Gold returned to sing her big hit “From a Distance” without her backup duo. Her version is direct, simple and unbelievably moving. In the hands of its creator, “From a Distance” is not an anthem but a heartfelt plea.
Joined by her little chorus, Gold ended with the irresistible “Love is Love is Love,” a deliciously girlish and enthusiastic take on that emotion.
Julie Gold will return to The Duplex in early December, so check out www.theduplex.com for details or call 212-255-5438, 61 Christopher St. (at Seventh Ave. South)