Top positive review
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Call Me Soppy
on 11 October 2012
(Holds Breath) Neil Sedaka is seventy three years old. Yup 73!
Love him or hate him (I'm firmly in the first camp)) this is,
in so many ways, a remarkable recording; a distillation of
more than half a century in a fickle business and still in
possession of a voice as clear as a bell and a way with the
ivories to rank with the very best singer/songwriters one can
imagine. Sure his material might be a little bit schmaltzy and
his grin a little too well set in the jaw but there's nothing
wrong with fixing your sights firmly on the middle of the road
when you can produce words and melodies of such timeless quality.
It's good to hear these songs in the raw; just Mr Sedaka and his
piano (the occasional vocal harmony embellishments are somewhat
unnecessary given the purity of his tone but this small misjudgment
is easily forgiven) stripped down to the glorious bare essentials.
There are seventeen numbers in the set (including an extravagant,
Gershwin-esque, intrumental piece for piano and orchestra - 'Manhattan
Intermezzo') and it's heartening to re-experience some of his most
memorable compositions without their accompanying razzamatazz.
'Breaking Up Is Hard To Do' gets a delightfully jazzy facelift; 'You'll
Be There' is a little piece of Broadway to its very bones; 'Runaway Lover'
displays a real sense of immediacy and drama in its staccato arrangement;
the sprightly 'Amarillo' is as daft as a brush in the nicest possible way and
the rendition of 'Mi Amour' is simply as lovely as lovely could possibly be.
Call me a soppy old thing but I can be a sucker for a bit of nostalgia when its
as perfectly formed as this! No ifs, no buts, 'The Real Neil' is the real deal.