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Mr Lucky
Music Reviews

Tom Wopat
The Still of the Night
Angel 724352362325v Vocals

Tom WopatBefore hearing The Still of the Night, we had almost no opinion of Tom Wopat. We knew he was the star of a TV show called The Dukes of Hazzard that aired during a period of our life when we were watching virtually no television. We also know that we weren't the intended market for the free-wheelin', fun-lovin' good times dramatized on this popular program. We also knew that he starred in the revival of Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun, as did Susan Lucci, Reba MacIntyre and a number of other "stars" that held no interest for us. So it comes as a huge surprise that The Still of the Night is such a wonderful album that has parked itself near our stereo and has refused to budge.

Wopat potentially has the kind of voice we hate. It's very modern, sincere and seemingly untouched by the influence of Crosby or Sinatra. Lesser male singers with similar pipes that sing contemporary music do nothing for us, especially if they're sincere and sweet and have nothing to say. Wopat is sincere and sweet but he also injects a sense of intimacy that cuts right to the core and delivers his message in a direct, unaffected way. Combining this with simple, gorgeous arrangements makes The Still of the Night a completely pleasant experience.

The songs are mostly an intelligent mix of classics and strong contemporary songs. Right off the bat we fell for Anyone Can Whistle, For All We Know, Ruby, Where or When and In the Still of the Night. A jazzy trio pushes tasteful strings and Wopat's easy-going voice along. The only duds are I Get Along Without Very Well, which isn't bad but it's been done better too many times before, and Makin' Whoopee, which is a song no one should record again. Ever. Wopat goes a little country on two Jimmy Webb numbers, The Moon's a Harsh Mistress and If These Walls Could Talk. He adds a raspy strain to his voice that is perfectly acceptable among the kids today but we'd prefer it if he'd just sing it straight, especially knowing that he can. The nice thing is, you never get the feeling that he likes the country better than the classics or that he's just recording Broadway in order to cash in on his recent success. It seems apparent that he likes it all.

This album is truly music for grown-ups and we recommend it.

Keely Smith
Keely Sings Sinatra
Concord Jazz CCD-4943-2 Vocals

Keely SmithAfter several years floating around as an "unofficial" CD, Keely Sings Sinatra finally has found a home on the Concord Jazz label. It hasn't been hard to find a copy of this famous never-released disc, but the sound was third-generation and the lack of liner notes frustrating. After Keely's mostly self-imposed exile, and last year's trite Swing, Swing, Swing, it really feels like Spring when you play a copy of this CD.

The new fidelity re-emphazises how great the Frankie Capp Orchestra plays and how utterly weird it is that Keely's voice is still so fine. On this new, clean release, her vocals seem a little more "up front" than they were on the pirate recording. This is fine except that the new clarity also reveals the tiniest shrillness in Keely's voice now and again. It's not horrible and it's better than anything anyone else is doing these days, but it's not Keely circa 1958.

We could nit pick or we could praise it to the high heavens, but we still have the same impression of this album that we did when we reviewed it as the best album never released. Keely is nothing short of amazing and you'd be wise to add this recording to your collection.

Note: We originally discussed this CD when we gave Keely our 21 gun salute. Read the review.




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