YouTube and its brethren are full of videos tagged “Eva Cassidy.” They fall into these general categories:
- Actual videos of Eva
- Clips of television news stories about Eva
- Homemade videos of singers performing Eva’s arrangements of the songs on her albums (some great singers, some OK singers, and lots and lots of bad singers)(I wish some of them would list the actual songwriters also, in addition to the more typical “Eva Cassidy Cover” designation)
- Dancers, skaters, and Winterguards performing to Eva’s music (I love these and I think Eva would too)
- Video Tributes to Eva using her music over images (sometimes quite nice, though actually a copyright violation — yes, I’m old fashioned that way)
- Videos (mis)labeled with Eva’s name, but not sung by her (When I come across these, I report them)
What this page is NOT: Links to any of these.
EVA CASSIDY ON VIDEO:
Considering how many songs Eva Cassidy recorded, today’s music lovers must be surprised that there are so few videos of Eva. We must be grateful for what does exist, and the person to thank for most of it is Eva’s friend Bryan McCulley. It was Bryan who brought his camcorder to Blues Alley and videoed the second set on both nights. It was Bryan who plugged his video equipment into the band’s sound board at Pearl’s in Annapolis on two occasions, capturing good sound quality, though the videos were disappointing due to dim lighting and equipment problems. Eva also allowed him to shoot during a recording session with Chuck Brown.
Eva was the least diva-ish person in the world, and wasn’t keen on having herself videotaped, but Bryan was a friend, so she let him turn his camera on her sometimes. He says they “had a deal, that [he] would never make her watch any of it.” As far as anyone knows, she never did.
Of the now-famous Blues Alley footage, McCulley says, “It was never shot to be shown as a music video, but hey, it’s all we’ve got. It is pretty decent footage though. I wanted to document the making of the Blues Alley CD, so that’s why I went out and videoed it. It would make great documentary footage.”
When Eva’s music started to attract attention in the United Kingdom, the record company hoped that some video footage would help their marketing. Bryan’s Blues Alley video had been shot without any special lighting, and under the glare of the stage lights, everything looked orange, especially Eva’s hair. Video specialists put the tape through some filters to remove that glare and enhance the image. The master tape from the recording session was also synched up with the video for better sound quality. It wasn’t ideal, but perhaps it would be better than nothing, it was thought. The resulting black-and-white video soon made television history on “Top of the Pops 2.”
Hot Records in England had recruited legendary record “plugger” Tony Bramwell to promote Eva’s music in the UK. Bramwell was hard to ignore, due to his large physical presence and his prestige as a former road manager for the Beatles. He relentlessly pestered Mark Hagen, the producer of the popular program “Top of the Pops 2,” about showing the video of Eva singing “Over the Rainbow.” Hagen had his doubts about the video clip’s poor production values, but eventually (was he tired of the nagging from Tony Bramwell?) he took the risk, saying later, “We put it at the very end of the show, so that it wouldn’t be a complete disaster if all the viewers left.” On December 13, 2000, Bryan’s low-tech video of “Over the Rainbow” from Blues Alley was broadcast “Top of the Pops 2.” The favorable viewer reaction was astonishing: TOTP2 later characterized Eva’s “Over the Rainbow” as “the most requested video in the history of the program” when it showed the clip again on January 24, 2001. Hagen commented, “We had never before received so many requests for a repeat… it was totally different from all those millions of expensive videos that you see on MTV: a little girl with a guitar who sits on a stool for four and a half minute and sings a song. In fact she does not just sing, she thinks the number, she feels it. That’s why she is such a talent.”
In due course, more of the Blues Alley videos were shown on “Top of the Pops 2,” and a DVD of these was sold in the United Kingdom under the title “Eva Cassidy Sings.” It was in PAL format, the standard in Europe but not North America. The DVD is long out-of-print, but can occasionally be found on eBay.
EVA VIDEOS you can search for online:
- Songs from Bryan’s Blues Alley videos. Look for ones posted by the record company, which will be better quality.
- The ABC “Nightline” show about Eva (learn more about it here).
- Eva and Mary Ann Redmond singing a duet of “Tears In Heaven” at Fleetwood’s in 1995 (Note: Eva loved Mary Ann and was thrilled to get to perform with her! In this video, by the way, you can see how Eva’s blonde hair looks orange under the stage lights, which it did not in person.)
- Eva and members of the Method Actor band, rehearsing her arrangement of “The Rose” backstage at (possibly) The Bayou, sometime in the 1980s.
- Eva singing “My Cherie Amour” in a greenhouse full of poinsettias at the Behnke’s Nursery.
- Eva singing “San Francisco Bay Blues” at Pearl’s in Annapolis (see above). This is gorgeous and totally typical of a live Eva performance. She is completely lost in the music.
- Eva at the Bayou tribute concert in September 1996, interviewed for the local NBC news affiliate. This short clip has been broadcast on the Today Show and elsewhere.
- Short clips of Eva singing at the Bayou tribute concert (taken from the documentary The Bayou: DC’s Killer Joint)
- You never know, some other videos may turn up one of these days.