Pretty Much How It Started

Blues Queen Barbara Morrison made Mary Bogue one of her Blues Mamas, and Les McCann says,“When Mary Bogue opens her mouth, ain’t no one else like her. Her voice is beautiful.”  Linda Hopkins, the mega-talent, heard Mary sing one of her old songs, and told folks, "She sang that better than me!" “CabaretScenes Magazine” reviewer Elliot Zwiebach said, “Mary Bogue is hot…a kind of throw back to the red-hot mamas of another era who could belt with the best of them and then pull back and score on a solid heartbreaker of a song.”  He called her next performance electrifying and her-  sassy and sexy.  

When hearing the final master, McCann called Mary and told her, “You know me. If I thought you made a good CD, I would say, you made a good CD. If I thought you made a great CD I would tell you that too. So listen to me, Baby, this CD, is a real mother------, you made a masterpiece. Yes, yes, yes!”

Mary Bogue’s first memory of music traces back to her family’s upstate New York home, sitting on the floor over the record player with her favorite 78 LP, “The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane.” Later, while her new California neighbor kids listened to surf music, Bogue’s next milestone was courtesy of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five.” Then Cozy Cole on “Topsy Part Two” which took her on a journey of no return. As a pre-teen, for Mary it was all about this stuff called jazz, R&B and Motown. And while Paul McCartney was okay in her books, he didn’t compare to Smokey Robinson.

But how did she start making music? Mary will tell you she began singing around the L.A. scene near 2006 or 2007. There were Bogue’s saucy shows, “Mary Bogue & Her King-Sized Papas” at Nola’s and the Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill, another called “Boudoirs, Bordellos & The Blues”, and even a holiday show at Vitello’s in Study City.  She’s no stranger to film, TV work or art exhibits either.  But all of this was way after she married a way cool guy who came and went – making 20 years look like a shooting star. When the dust settled on their once-shared dreams, she clawed her way back from grief and found joy again, this time with her voice telling the story. “Hell, I didn’t just sing ‘Heartbreak Hotel,’ I was a resident,” says Bogue.

Fast forward to 2012 and her debut CD, “Don’t Go To Strangers,” which delivers her unrequited passion, with killer arrangements played by L.A. pianists Karen Hernandez and Steve Rawlins. Trumpets beckon at the call of Nolan Shaheed, Rickey Woodard makes for a cool  groove; and viola and cello voices assure you it’s okay to stay a little longer in your reflection of yesterday, before producer Steve Rawlins moves you on down the road.

When asked how she selected what to sing, Mary says, “I wanted to evoke nights gone-by on the title track, to closing time at a NY bar with “Blue Champagne” I wanted to make music that you play during freeway time and somehow end up way down the road, inspires you on date night, and consoles you when you just need to hear the blues because life ain’t always so easy.”

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, you’ll discover old-time friend Les McCann - who was not only the Creative Consultant on this album, but joined Bogue on “Hot, Strong and Black.”  And when all is said and done, maybe you will “Save Your Love For Me,” says Mary.  


What Folks Are Saying

When the great blues diva, Linda Hopkins heard Mary Bogue sing a song of hers, she told everyone around, "You sang that song better than I ever did. You were bluesy and wonderful, and you sang it nice and slow!" High praise from an amazing talent! And when Los Angeles blues mega-talent Barbara Morrison heard Mary belt, she made her one of her "Official Blues Mamas." CabaretScenes Magazine said her performance "nearly blew the roof off with electrifying performance," and referred to her music as sexy and sassy. Holding nothing back, they had previously said "Bogue is a big woman with a big talent — a kind of throwback to the “red-hot mamas” of another era who could belt with the best of them, then pull back and score on a solid heartbreaker of a song." 
But hey, that was so last week. Check out these liner notes from the extraordinary L.A. Jazz Program Host, Bubba Jackson of KKJZ FM88.1 and make up your own mind.

"Passion comes from a personal wellspring of emotional feeling about something, something that comes from deep inside of you and finds its way to your voice. That voice is Mary Bogue. Mary’s selection of tunes are portraits of times gone by, yet they live in her positive attitude about “something” that sets her free; free to embrace life and what it brings. She has lived a remarkable life with her feet planted firmly on planet earth. 

On the journey to this release she was no stranger to the world of film, TV and then art. (Her portrayal of Mae West is astounding.) Mary and her late husband shared a dream. When it ended she climbed out of her grief and learned to embrace life through oil paints. This was just the beginning of her passage in the world of art. Her imaginative paintings and watercolors have done her well. Then, just as she picked up her brushes, Ms. Bogue picked up the microphone to sing. And sing she did! That musical journey has been remarkable. In a short period of time the Los Angeles jazz scene found a great new voice in town and embraced her with a lot of love. 

Mary is a reflection of the Ladies of Jazz who set the bar with distinction. Each song mirrors her love of musical standards that swings and rejoices in the blues. Songs that are standards like “Don’t Go to Strangers,” “Mood Indigo” and “Black Coffee/Heartbreak Hotel” have become Mary’s “tour de force,” drenched in a healthy appreciation of the blues. She approaches her songs with a fresh understanding of the lyrics. I quote, "...Hell, I didn't just sing “Heartbreak Hotel,” I was a resident!” And you will enjoy her seductive rendering of the title track. Listen to the call and response with Les McCann on “Hot, Strong & Black,” and feel her humor. Mary Bogue is a compilation of yesterday’s divas swinging today in real time. She is the real deal! 

She is supported by artists who swing with a down home sense of the jazz vernacular. Karen Hernandez with her piano solo on the title track amazes, while Nolan Shaheed on flugelhorn and trumpet transcends the sky on “Sack Full Of Dreams.” Rickey Woodard’s solo on “Blue Champagne” floats on a cloud. Add the masterful licks of bassists Jim DeJulio and Lou Shoch, drummer Jack LeCompte, and other fine artists - all guided by gifted producer, arranger and pianist Steve Rawlins and creative consultant Les McCann – and, well, you can hear their chemistry. 

Mary Bogue came to this CD with a vision. She built her dream to the jazz stars long enough to realize they have no expiration dates. Says Mary, “Once you share a dream, you’re no longer strangers – only like-spirited souls who have yet to meet.” “Don’t Go To Strangers” is a modern-day journey back to that place in time when we shared hope, peace, and love and dared to dream for the ultimate good of everyone. Enjoy this dream come true! "
Bubba Jackson 
Program Host 
KKJZ FM88.1 
BWB Breezin’ With Bubba

Well, there you have it. You might want to buy your own copy and a spare. Just sayin'...

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Don't Go to Strangers - Mary Bogue


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