Patty Waters Sings
Headlining The Vision Festival NYC May, 2003
The New York Times, MAY 24, 2003 Ben Ratliff
“The singer Patty Waters was the closing act of the festival’s opening night on Wednesday, and the best part of the evening. She freshened up the room, but she didn't do so by traditional means.
Miss Waters made two albums in the mid-60's for the free-jazz label ESP, then retreated to California and Hawaii, withdrawing from music until a few years ago. Her performance was her first in New York in decades.
Ms. Waters is best known for a performance of the folk song “Black is the color of My true Love's Hair“ in which she builds up to harrowing shrieks...But now, she is a much more subtle singer. The Scream made only one brief, toned-down appearance.
She sang two songs associated with Billie Holiday “Strange Fruit” and “Don’t Explain,” as well as “Nature Boy“ and her own “Moon don't Come Up Tonight“. As she did so, she shut her eyes tightly, grimaced and approached the notes of the melody gingerly, in her quiet, husky voice, as if landing on them squarely might have frightened them away. It was (an) inward performance, but a moving one.... If she had really been experiencing the kind of pain that she was channeling, the audience might not have noticed, since many in the room were either videotaping her or sitting in impenetrable record-collector raptures.