Abbey Lincoln's songs
Nate Chenin of the New York Times points out that this new setting makes sense, as Lincoln's songs often follow the verse-chorus-verse structure we associate with folk music. But to my ears, more than form, it's also Lincoln's melodies that have a strong folk element to them. They most often have very simple and predictable melodies, with a sort of "singsong" quality to them. They usually take one short melodic fragment, and then develop it through the song, either ascending or descending through the chords (Throw It Away, Down Here Below, Bird Alone, etc). If I could level one complaint at Lincoln's compositions, it's that they have a tendency to sound the same, to draw upon the same melodic ideas and similar chord progressions. In some ways, I think they work a better in this new context. The first time I played this new version of "Throw It Away" the phones lit up with people wanting to know who and what it was that played, so perhaps "Abbey Sings Abbey" will bring her talents to a new, larger audience. I know I appreciate her music in a different way now, after hearing this album.