St. John's Confidential File
Payne Rocks Hollywood Catalina Club!
By Michael St John
Jul 1, 2012 - 9:15:38 AM
HOLLYWOOD—HELLO AMERICA! During the years of the Vietnam conflict, singer-actress Freda Payne overwhelmed the nation with her spirited song "Band of Gold" and followed the hit with her controversial "Bring the Boys Home." Even though Freda stimulated a lot of heat, it didn’t stop her; she continued singing songs of hope and freedom making people aware of their right to love and live as free people. Her recent appearance at the Catalina Jazz and Supper Club in Hollywood stirred memories; her tribute to Lena Horne and Ella Fitzgerald was sprinkled with musical magic. Everyone in the packed club was helplessly caught under her spell. Ms. Freda Payne had arrived!
The many years had not damaged her voice at all, as her tone was decisive and laced with her own life experience. Of course she sang songs of Lena and Ella but this dear lady is so filled with her own musical gifts, it was easy for her to enter the world of women she obviously admired enough to reach the center of who they really were as women and artists. Listening to Freda bringing her songs to life, one could not ignore the fact that she, too, is an artist who will always be remembered. Watching Freda, I couldn’t help but think of Billie Holliday, Sarah Vaughn and of course Lena and Ella. I had met them all and it served to be quite an emotional moment listening to the songs that made them all musical legends.
Aside from appearing in clubs and headlining concerts all over the world, Freda made quite an impression as a musical star on Broadway. Her list of musicals on The Milky White Way include “Jelly’s Last Jam," "Sophisticated Ladies," "Blues in the Night" and "Hallelujah Baby!” In other words, Freda Payne has done it all and that includes motion pictures: "Book of Numbers," "The Nutty Professor," "The Klumps" and "Ragdoll."
Ms. Freda Payne
One would think after working so many years on so many creative levels, Freda would be ready to settle down and relax. Of course, this is nonsense. She makes it quite clear that if and when she’s called to face a camera or scat like Ella into a microphone, she will be there. After all, this is why they call it show biz.
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