Album reviews – Simon Bailey – Looking Up, Louise Dearman – It’s Time and Bonnie Langford – Now
“You don’t have to stay forever
I will understand”
Simon Bailey’s debut solo album Looking Up sees the actor stretch his singer-songwriter wings as well as picking personal choices from both the worlds of musical theatre and popular music. He reveals a rockier edge to his taste than would normally be my wheelhouse, but his intense reading of Evanescence’s ‘My Immortal’ is good enough to cross genres. A duet on Once’s ‘Falling Slowly’ with the talented Sabrina Aloueche is a highlight for me, and there’s nice work on Jason Robert Brown’s ‘I’d Give It All For You’ with Katie Hall.
Louise Dearman’s third studio album comes in the form of It’s Time which sees her return to the world of musical theatre after dabbling with pop tunes on Here Comes The Sun. And it is clearly a world in which she feels entirely comfortable as she stretches out over some well-trodden classics. It’s a little disappointing to see her play this safe – does the world really need another ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ or ‘Over The Rainbow’? There’s absolutely zero wrong with these recordings, they’re just not particularly exciting, especially compared to some of the deeper cuts here. ‘A New Life’ from Jekyll & Hyde is properly thrilling stuff and Little Women’s ‘Astonishing’ is also excellent – more of this please Louise.
Bonnie Langford has long been a favourite chez Clowns and I’ve enjoyed delving into her back catalogue. The 2011 album Now features selection from her one woman show Live and Direct and sees her in her comfort zone of mixing jazz and theatre. Arguably, I’d say she’s stronger in the latter than the former, or at least she’s more distinctive there. The Sweet Charity medley of Big Spender / There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This / If My Friends Could See Me Now / I’m A Brass Band / Rhythm Of Life is corking and a tender ‘Somewhere’s That Green’ suggests Audrey should have been one of her starring roles. Elsewhere, her blues/jazz/pop interpretations are solid rather than spectacular, I’d guess they sparkle more in a live setting.