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BY TRAV S.D. | Over the course of her long career, Mink Stole has been associated with many shocking projects. But the big shock about her new CD, “Do Re Mink,” is how tasteful it is. After all, her frequent collaborator John Waters wrote the book on bad taste — literally (it’s called “Shock Value: A Tasteful Book About Bad Taste”). So I think I can be forgiven for expecting the album to contain punk music, something sort of Patti Smith-like. Or perhaps some sort of big tacky parody. One can easily picture something along the lines of Tracey Ullman’s 1983 hit song and video, “They Don’t Know.” But while Stole’s most famous screen characters can best be described as monstrous, in real life she comes off as warm, gentle and — a most surprisingly — normal, a sort of Baby Boomer Shirley Jones.
CD delivers a theatrically emotional, quiet cabaret set
Compared with my preconceptions, “Do Re Mink” is what I would describe as a quiet cabaret set. It’s not without funny nods to her famous persona, though. Tunes include the theme song to the Waters film “Female Trouble” and an anthem to Baltimore by Randy Newman. Most of the tracks are jazzy and piano-based, and like I say, quiet, with a brushed drums kind of mood. Mink’s voice is lovely, relaxed and theatrically emotional. Almost all of the songs have some kind of ironic edge, subtly juxtaposed with her straight-faced renditions, which must go over like gangbusters in live performance. One of the highlights of the record is her French language version of the 1966 Sonny and Cher classic “Bang Bang (I Shot My Baby Down).” But the best new find of the bunch has to be a tune called “No Nose Nanook,” a mock lament about an Eskimo girl with a very special handicap. It seems this is the Mink Stole record fans were expecting after all.
“Do Re Mink” can be purchased by visiting minkstole.com ($15, $25 for an autographed copy).