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Ambitious, but ultimately successful tribute album
on 29 November 2001
No-one will ever call Robbie Williams a coward. With no 1 singles rolling off the Williams / Chambers production line at will, he could have been forgiven for staying in his success zone.
This hugely ambitious tribute album features some of the greatest foot tapping standards from the gretaest crooners of the last century. Whilst it true to say that Robbie hasn't outfranked Frank, he has brought these classics to a new generation of listeners and for that he should be commended. Ironically, the track that has me coming back for more is "I will talk and Hollywood will listen" the only Williams/Chambers compilation on the album. It is pure Robbie Williams and almost stole the show when he performed the album live at the Albert Hall. That accolade is reserved for the tragic "Mr Bojangles", the desperate story of the great Bill Robinson which Williams delivers with pathos and power. The much hyped duet with Niocle Kidman of "Something Stupid" is perhaps the most disappointing cover, lacking the charisma and depth of the Frank and Nancy Sinatra original.
Swing when your winning is a very good listen. But inevtiably when great songs sung by great singers are reproduced they will all be compared with the originals. Robbie Williams is no Nat King Cole, but he is an entertainer in the Freddie Mercury mold.
Although this is a review of the album, it cannot be divorced from its live rendition at the Albert Hall, which was truly magnificent. This was an integral part of Williams' Swing project and it allowed him to show that whilst he hasn't got Frank's voice, he has star written all over him. If you've seen the show you won't be able to stop listening to the album. If you haven't, you may conclude that Robbie has almost bitten off more than he could chew and just about carried it off.