If you're getting as long in the tooth as I am, then you may well remember the show this CD's title was cribbed from: Mitch Miller's ultra-popular TV gig of the late 50s. I remember it well, along with Ed Sullivan's and Red Skelton's, and therefore the mischievous little satire in choosing nomenclature becomes all the more grin-inducing because ol' Miller would never have featured the menu here. Just the first cut, Arnold McCuller's very cool sensitive reading of Lennon & McCartney's Dear Prudence, lets us know that much, being a slightly jazzy, coffee house wistful, almost-chamber recital with Forman sounding like Mike Garson in a reflective mood (and keep in mind that Mitch, like Mike, has been capable of some pretty wild stuff during his career, including a stint with the renowned Mahavishnu Orchestra, one of the most progressive bands in modern music history).
That cut's followed by Lizzy Loeb's canary-in-the-skies take on Kenny Loggins' classic Celebrate Me Home, and Forman starts cutting loose near the end, putting an almost atonal contrast to the mellifluous soundfield. The key here is that each cut of the CD is a duet for piano and singer, nothing more, nothing less, so every note counts for a hell of a lot. Track to track, both players have to capture the listener so fully that the absence of further coloration isn't noticed. Thus the mixture of foreground and background is crucial, and Forman does a sterling job of arranging himself thusly, sometimes light and tinkly, adding embellishment to each vocalist, other times accentuating in arresting clusters.
All the songs here are standards or awfully damned close to it, from the Day/Herzog Jr. God Bless the Child to Billy Joel's And So It Goes, and thus a full panoply of past readings from many artists can be compared, against which none here will be found wanting. The choice of Joy Burnworth for a Dusty Springfield / Karen Carpenter version of I Won't Last a Day Without You was perfect as denouement, taking the disc to a closing familiar to all except perhaps for visitors from Jupiter, a tune almost Andy Griffith-ish in its ubiquity and American down-home-iness. And for those unaware that Truman Capote was also a lyricist, his work with the world-famed Harold Arlen, A Sleepin' Bee, is one of the cuts here.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles