Lately I’ve been really excited by the idea of collaborating with other musicians, specifically to record live covers. So naturally, when I was brainstorming who I would most want to work with, Paige Peters, the mega-powerhouse vocalist and founder of the group Shrinehouse (a 7-piece Amy Winehouse tribute band that I play keyboard for) immediately came to mind.
Paige pretty much right away suggested ‘Too Beautiful to be Good,’ a 1968 Franciene Thomas song that I had never heard of before, when I asked her what she would like to sing with me. But once I listened to the song I loved it’s feminist message.
To me, it seems that Franciene is angry that sometimes women who take a lot of pride in their appearance are stigmatized, and often seen as vain, less-than, and empty. I honestly can relate. Many times, even here in the Toronto music scene, men have assumed that I am less capable because I am a woman, because I like fashion, or because I am a singer (and therefore probably not a competent instrumentalist as well). How maddening.
Anyway, I loved the song for that reason, and also for its rich arrangement, complete with horns and flutes.
Working with Paige was so easy considering that we’ve been playing and gigging together for over a year. Once I transcribed the chords, we sorted out our parts and did about 2 run-throughs before recording this version in ONE TAKE. It was so fun. I honestly had tears ROLLING down my face from laughing so hard. This girl is so enigmatic and talented. Whew!
After Paige and I recorded the song, I asked her what her process was coming into the session with me. She said, ‘I’m haunted by Thomas’ voice in the recording, so I tried to emulate it in our version. I had listened to Pink Floyd the night before [we recorded], in particular Clare Torry’s truly Awesome vocal performance in ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’. Clare Torry said she tried to make her voice an instrument for the track she recorded for Pink Floyd, so it inspired me to do the same when emulating the flute part on our cover.”
Hope you enjoy the song!