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on 7 December 2007
I've never been a fan of pop music. Not Top 40, not ballads. That being said, this review should give you an idea the impact of this new CD by Stage and TV star John Barrowman's newest offering, 'Another Side', had on my listening habits lately.

When you work in the music industry, you develop a certain attitude regarding the more mainstream pop music, and it's usually not a good one. I admit I'm jaded in my preferences and it's immensely difficult to get an emotional reaction out of me that this CD did. I'm new to the whole John Barrowman experience, more from a TV standpoint with his appearances in 'Doctor Who' and 'Torchwood', and a smattering of soundtrack titles,(Producers, etc) so I'll start with a light review on the titles that I liked and then detail which ones I think are the true gems of this collection.

The majority of the tunes, 'Time after Time, Every little thing she does is magic, If you leave me now", are all done well, but the following tracks really stood out for me.

Knowing that John picked these titles himself because of their meaning to certain events and times in his life gives you an idea of his listening preferences, and judging from his age, and where he grew up (Scotland to US), in the Midwest, I"m sure his poor adolescent ears were inundated with the likes of Air Supply (All out of Love) and Barry Manilow (Weekend in New England) among other Top Pop hits. Normally I'd give all of these titles a miss, even from their originators, but there's a difference to these that I'll reveal.

John is a natural professional. His timing, his phrasing, range, and his delivery are superb. He makes these tracks sound so effortlessy done, that you wonder why everyone isn't making records. I'd listen to any of these titles performed by him, before I"d submit to the original singers' versions, and knowing some of the stories behind the tracks is even better. For example, John asking permission from Carly Simon to perform "You're so Vain" over the phone and listening to her sing it herself, and melting into the floorboards with joy. Little bits like this is what make the CD very special.

What CD that John does would be complete without a Barry Manilow tune, "Weekend in New England" and quite frankly, I'd never really liked this song, but he performs it with such emotion and finesse, that I prefer it over the original version. See a trend happening here?

Also, all the pop tunes aside, I have to give him kudos for changing gears, and perform (with an amazing arrangement) of legendary singer Anthony Newley's "Feeling Good" from the musical, "Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd".
I was worried that the Ballad-heavy CD might make him sound too much like the Middle-America white-bread singer, and wondered, "Does this boy have any Soul?" He gives Newley credit for his interpretation and proves that that he DOES indeed have soul.. He moans, growls and belts out this sultry and smoldering version of this Broadway classic, and it made me want to hear him do an entire CD of "Porgy and Bess" just to show he could indeed rip one into the stratosphere. And the little mischievious chuckle at the end didn't hurt either.

Last and certainly not least, is Rodney Crowell's country classic, "Please Remember Me"..which at first listen, had me blubbering like a five-year-old as I drove down the interstate, a heartbreaking version that Rodney should be more than proud of. I'm not a country music fan either (my tastes lean towards more esoteric offerings) but it actually made me look up Rodney's music repetoire, to see what other incredible songs he'd written.

So in parting, I'll have to say I was deeply touched by several of the songs on the list, some more than others, because of the delivery, emotion and overall immaculate performance, and just to let you know, it's been a very long time since ANY song I'd listened to made the waterworks flow, and for that, John Barrowman, I take my hat off to you, this music snob has been converted.

Lee Rebouche
formerly with :
MCA Records, Scotti Bros-RCA Records/Relativity-Sony Records,Sounds Karma Rec.
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VINE VOICEon 4 January 2008
Having only discovered the wonderful Mr John Barrowman a mere two years ago this album is truely brilliant! His voice is as smooth as usual and the choice of songs is very good. I particularly liked "You're so vain" because it's the kind of music to relax to after a stressful day or if you're feeling indulgant...just simply enjoy John Barrowman's sexy voice! He really does have a way of smiling through his singing and that's what I really like about his work - it makes me want to smile along with him...

If you want something smooth and wonderful then look no further than this album. Worth every penny.
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on 14 November 2007
I have long been a John Barrowman fan. This CD is very enjoyable although, for me, the material is not as good as the performances. What is good though is to hear 'pop' songs sung by someone who can really sing. John's breath control, diction and feeling is beautiful. Being Alive is my favourite track. John is really at his best in musical theatre and I would love another album of 'quality' material including more Stephem Sondheim, Cole Porter etc.
Recommended however. (Nice to see that Rachmaninov got a credit for All By Myself!)
Ian Scott
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on 12 November 2007
Having only heard previews on John's website, it's a definate for my Christmas wish list from my kids. I am a dedicated rock chick (Bon Jovi, MCR, Stereophonics, Prophets etc) but this CD is not only timeless and beautifully performed but the chosen tracks have meaning not only to the man himself but to my own heart which comes across in the recording. A must for anyone who loves music, whether it be musical theatre or just a good tune to make out to. Thanks John, it's a 'belter' as they say in my own home town of Glasgow!

Love and best wishes for the upcoming tour

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on 12 November 2007
This album is proof, if any was needed that John is a great artist. His voice is timelessly beautiful and captivating. If I was not a fan up until now (which I totally am) I would be now. Long may this beautiful music continue!!!
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on 25 May 2008
I love this CD. John Barrowman has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard and the emotion he puts into his singing gives me shivers every time I hear him.
I was unsure about a couple of the songs on the CD. Not because I don't like them, but because I absolutely love them and I worried about them being "ruined". As it turned out, I actually preferred Barrowman's versions to the originals!
There genuinely seems to be nothing this man can't do.
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on 16 November 2007
John Barrowman is a brilliant interpreter of Cole Porter songs. Night and Day, from the De-Lovely soundtrack, never fails to send shivers down my spine and his rendition of In The Still of the Night is arguably the best and certainly my favourite (No small feat considering his competition consists of legends like like Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London and Frank Sinatra).

This album is fine for what it is, however the instrumentation feels painfully like karaoke and the pitch correcting software has done his gorgeous voice a great injustice (and is just plain unnerving given that he made a career out of singing live on stage).

Obviously, neither of these things is his fault... and if you're like me, you'll lap up anything he does regardless. Generally though you'll be better served with Swings Cole Porter or Reflections From Broadway.
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on 1 December 2007
Just received my copy of John's new CD. Excellent! Soft pop love songs with a piano and strings in the background. The crisp consonants are a welcome relief from having to guess at a word that is being sung that some singers are notorious for. No such problems when listing to John. For those who are used to hearing John's "stage" voice, this will come as a surprise; he can and does prove that he's able to effortlessly jump into mainstream music. After belting out pure, bell-ringing tones on a stage, this must have been a piece of cake. His voice is soothing on the ears and wonderful on the heart. Let's hope he brings his tour across the pond, instead of allowing the UK to continue their selfish stealing of him.
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This isn't the sort of music I usually listen to, but catching it at a friend's I was riveted, and had to have my own copy. I'm really impressed by JB's ability to tell the story of each song, and the very intimate, personal way in which he sings each one; the emotion and show stopping bravura are reined in, so I really had the feeling he was singing the way a friend might tell you what they were feeling. Wonderful musicality, phrasing, diction - he makes it sound so easy (if only!)

The more I listen to this, the more I'm in awe of John Barrowman's musicality; his vocal quality on the yearning love songs eg 'Time after Time' is like butter and honey, sweet and tender; there's a shiny, edgy quality on 'You're So Vain' and he moves from a long, pure, open effortlessly held note, for example the build at the end of 'When Will I See the wistful 'again', with no indication of how technically difficult the move from 'you' to 'again' is. Did he draw breath, or are his lungs and diaphragm control really that amazing!!! His vibrato seems so natural and unforced. AND with all that, every word is understandable. No wonder he is a demanding judge on those talent programmes; you get the impression he is a severe critic of his own work, expecting and delivering perfection, so why wouldn't he want those standards from others. It probably comes a tad easier for a Time Lord!
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on 3 December 2007
I am not usually a fan of cover albums or pop. But, OMG, this one is jaw droppingly wonderful! This album sends chills up my spine and brings tears to my eyes. I have only two negative comments, one, is that the "easy listening" style of the album takes away the intended angst of some of the original songs. "Time After Time" and "If You Leave Me Now" has been tempered to a wistful sadness. Second, I thought the inclusion of "Weekend in New England" for the recording was a bit off. But perhaps it is his intention to provide a different experience for the listeners. As for the other songs in the album, they are spot on. John can make his gorgeous voice interpret the lyrics so intimately that you would blush to listen to the album in public and his rendition of "Please Remember Me" will leave you weeping.
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