“There are many so-called “tribute” singers who just seem to go through the motions. Gary, however, shows how it could be and should be done…”
Has Britain got talent? Well, yes, but we don’t need second rate TV shows purporting to tell us we have. Now there is a great British talent that has been on the music scene for many years and two new superb CDs have just been released that showcase the fine voice of Gary Williams.
Gary played and sang the Sinatra role in the West End production of ‘The Rat Pack’ so he is familiar with “Ol’ Blues Eye’s” songs. On the first CD we have no fewer than 17 selections. Many favourites here and all played in their original arrangements by the great Chris Dean and his Big Band plus strings. Nelson Riddle’s arrangements feature prominently including some less often heard gems such as Moonlight Serenade, which Gary gives a lovely reading. The classic Sinatra recording of I’ve Got You Under My Skin is a tour de force for any singer; Gary handles it skillfully complete with classic trombone break, here faultlessly re-created by Gordon Campbell. Nelson Riddle’s daughter has personally endorsed this album and has written the sleeve notes – that’s praise indeed!
The second collection is a compilation of Gary’s sessions at the legendary studios during 2004 and 2008. It has to be said that Gary works with the best of British musicians and arrangers under the baton of John Wilson. Whilst the songs may be familiar, the inventive arranger can give them a new “coat of paint” and, with the likes of Richard Rodney Bennett, Clive Dunstall and Paul Campbell, be prepared to be surprised. The Monty Python classic Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life is given what must be the smoothest version ever. Small group tracks sit perfectly alongside the lush string ones. The Cole Porter song Why Shouldn’t I? is quite stunning, an Andrew Cottee arrangement with a wonderful performance from Gary, is the standout track amongst many. How often have we remarked “they don’t make records like that anymore.” Well, they still do and here’s the glowing proof. There are many so-called “tribute” singers who just seem to go through the motions. Gary, however, shows how it could be and should be done, but then it’s Gary who has the talent, and boy, does it show. It seems like a sign of the times that these superb albums are not widely available but can be obtained by mail order from Dress Circle, 57-59 Monmouth Street, London, WC2H 9DG or online from iTunes.
Albert Killman – Journal Into Melody