Donna P. from COTTAGE GROVE, OR Reviewed on 3/16/2010...
love the old classics and these artists give them a nice twist.
Really good stuff, -- Some a little off. 3 1/2 Stars
Felix Schultz | Canton, Ohio United States | 03/19/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I like George Martin's idea to use contemporary singers to perform music that has become such a big part of American life. Some of the performances in this CD are excellent. Sinead O'Connor is perfectly lonesome and beautiful singing "My Man's Gone Now", Elvis Costello, of course, does an artful rendition of " But Not for Me"--but the surprises I find are in singers which I do not usually listen to, who in this format really come through. Cher, who is the ONE person you need to sing a song with sexy undertones about the veracity of Biblical traditional stories (maybe Eartha Kitt could be another choice), does a masterful job. I have never liked Carly Simon's music (about the day-to-day problems of wealthy women), but she also becomes one with the music and makes it her own. Meat Loaf and Jon Bon Jovi do themselves proud, with very good performances of this music from another time. The female singers in general do an excellent job, and it appears that the production of their particualr songs helped in this. - Lisa Stansfield, Kate Bush, Oleta Adams, Courtney Pine, Issy Van Randwyck wrap their vocals around the arrangements in the fashion of all of the hundreds of Gershwin songstresses of the past. But the male versions often left something to be desired. Many sound like part of a different album, out of place, not quite finished. Sting's version of "Nice Work If You Can Get It" is very un-Stinglike, without the polish he puts on his own music. I simply don't like the Elton John version of the medley " Someone to Watch over Me/Our Love Is Here to Stay"--I actually LIKE Robert Palmer's version of "I Got Rhythm" -but it seems to be totally out of place in the context of the rest of the album. The best thing about this music is Larry Adler's harmonica, which works as a link between the past world of Gershwin and the modern world of Pop Music. All in all, when the performances are good--they are very good...Those which are NOT good, seem to need more work. I wish that the ragged songs could have been polished just a bit, so that the package would be more rounded and complete. I recommend Herbie Hancock's Gershwin album, Joni Mitchell does a couple of Jim-Dandy versions of George and Ira's pieces. I wanted to give this 3 and one half stars, but there is no place to do that. "
Timothy Horrigan | Durham, NH United States | 01/10/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album is a flawed but beautiful-sounding colloboration between the legendary producer George Martin, the even more legendary jazz harmonica player Larry Adler, and an assortment of pop singers. The album sounds a lot like of the sort of music Martin did before EMI assigned him 40-plus years ago today to be the Beatles' mentor. All the tracks (14 vocals, 2 instrumentals) are recorded live in the studio with a wonderful orchestra. (You haven't heard such beautiful strings or such lusty horns on a pop record since the late Beatles albums, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Martin used the same players here who played on those Beatles albums.) The singers were obviously forbidden to use their usual studio tricks, with the result that they don't always sound like themselves. Many of them sound very different from their usual selves (Elvis Costello, for example, ends up sounding like a young Brian Wilson) and two or three of them struggle with their intonation. The three big flaws with this project, aside from the uneven intonation are as follows. #1: the album is slightly dull; it has the dusty feeling of those specials your local PBS affiliate runs during fundraising week to get donations from nostalgic baby boomers. #2: several of the greatest tunes have lyrics which were written in what was thought at the time to be authentic African-American dialect; for obvious reasons of political correctness, these songs have been translated back into standard white-speak, which blands out the music quite a bit. #3: there's not enough rock and roll here; Gershwin's music translates quite readily into the rock and roll idiom (as the last half-century's diverse cover versions of "Summertime" so richly demonstrate) but aside from the occasional guitar lick there's not much rock here."
Missing 2 tracks! But great anyway
Clare Cherry | Romans 3: 23 | 05/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had this very same CD from 1994 in England, and this is missing two tracks which is a shame as one "Do what you do" by Chris de burgh was brilliant. Another reviewer, I see, was impressed by Cher's "The man I love" and that was because it was in actual fact sung by Kate Bush (whose album 'the whole story' is still remarakable)So be sure to check it has the tracks you wanted (16 instead of 18). Remember 'it ain't necessarily so!'"