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Patti Page Waltzes Back to the ‘50s Via Tennessee

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In the ‘50s, when Patti Page was one of the music industry’s most prolific hit-producers, she was often described as “The Singing Rage.”

Other than the obvious convenience of the rhyme, however, “Rage” was hardly the appropriate appellation for a singer whose stock in trade was a cool, precise sound and laid-back songs. Thanks to a style that was a perfect expression for the foursquare Eisenhower decade, her career bridged the period between the swinging big-band era and the emergence of rock, selling over 100 million records in the process.

Page’s performance at Segerstrom Hall in the Orange County Performing Arts Center on Friday, two years after she received her only Grammy Award for “Live at Carnegie Hall: The 50th Anniversary Concert,” revealed that her style has remained remarkably unchanged over the past half century.

And a lengthy medley of hits--"The Doggie in the Window,” “Allegheny Moon,” “Old Cape Cod,” “I Went to Your Wedding,” etc.--underscored the lightweight quality of most of her material, as well as the repeated efforts to find follow-up hits to her biggest success, “The Tennessee Waltz.”

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The most intriguing part of the performance was the presentation of material from an about to be released new album, “The Brand New Tennessee Waltz,” that takes her back to her country roots. Much of the material was drawn from familiar sources--Anne Murray’s “Could I Have This Dance,” both the original “Tennessee Waltz” and Jesse Winchester’s title song variation--as well as “Hope Chest” and “Where’ve You Been.”

Page sang them all with her familiar musical meticulousness, only rarely dipping into the emotional, storytelling depths that must lie somewhere beneath her coolly articulate musical exterior.


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