David Friedman — LaMott's friend, composer of several of her signature tunes and the man to whom she entrusted her recorded legacy — has reached an agreement with LaMott's family and her estate that will allow him to reissue her several recordings and create new ones from a wealth of unreleased material.
LaMott, who lost her battle with cancer in 1995 at the age of 44, was beloved by fans for a voice that could be soft and sweet one minute and big and belty the next. Many critics agreed she also possessed a remarkable ability to find the emotional center of any song, bringing a lyric to life as honestly as possible. LaMott's solo recording credits included “Beautiful Baby,” “Come Rain or Come Shine: The Songs of Johnny Mercer,” “My Foolish Heart,” “Just in Time for Christmas” and “Listen to My Heart” as well as the posthumously issued “What’s Good About Goodbye?"
Friedman had promised the singer on her deathbed that he would continue to release her recordings until the entire world heard her sing. LaMott's estate and family almost made that promise impossible, but a recent agreement will now allow the composer/conductor to fulfill that vow. Friedman recently spoke with Playbill On-Line about the news, explaining, "Essentially [the agreement was reached with] a lot of quiet, behind-the scenes work. [LaMott's musical director] Christopher Marlow had a lot to do with it — just speaking to people and saying, 'Look, David holds the rights [to Nancy's recordings]. You're not going to be able to do anything with them. There's all this material [available for release].' And everybody, one by one, the family and the estate, signed."
Friedman plans to issue several new CDs as well as videos/DVDs of concerts LaMott performed throughout her career. "I have a box full of material," Friedman said, "a lot of stuff that Bradshaw Smith recorded, stuff from television, stuff from her early years. It varies in quality — you're not going to get anything that's been done in the studio. We have live performances from San Francisco. We have all the club acts from Don't Tell Mama, and you see her different weight, her different hairdos during the years, all sorts of demos that she did. It's really interesting."
The composer, who is currently busy rehearsing his new revue, Listen to My Heart: The Songs of David Friedman (performances begin Oct. 9 at Upstairs at Studio 54), also hopes to create a television film about LaMott's life. "We actually have a treatment for a movie of the week," said Friedman, "and we're starting to put that together about her life. I did the treatment years ago. We did her life story and put it down. And Victoria Lang, my producer of Listen to My Heart, wants to work on it with me, and I have various people who want to work on it, and [LaMott's friend] Kathie Lee [Gifford], of course, is very excited about it, and she'll do anything to promote that." Friedman hopes to release a LaMott CD or video by the spring of 2004. For more information about LaMott, Friedman or to purchase LaMott's existing recordings, visit www.middermusic.com.