Album Reviews: Mazz Murray – Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again / Mascherato the Musical / Howard Goodall’s Songs from the Musicals Vol. 1

This set of album reviews covers Mazz Murray – Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again, Mascherato the Musical (Original Studio Cast Recording) and Howard Goodall’s Songs from the Musicals Vol. 1

“You thrill me, you delight me
You please me, you excite me”

If anyone gets to follow Cher in making an album of ABBA songs, then it is probably the West End’s Donna Sheridan, Mazz Murray.  Midnight Mazz – Here We Go Again sees her interpret 10 of Agnetha, Björn, Benny, and Anni-Frid’s best with an unexpectedness tenderness that you don’t necessarily always associate with the band. Handclaps guitar arpeggios adorn ‘Chiquitita’, a solo ‘My Love My Life’ feels packed with more yearning than ever, so too a delicately layered ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ which is making a late case to be one of my all-time favourite ABBA songs. A lovely way to revisit some of those oh-so-familiar songs.

You don’t get many shows set in 18th Century Venice, musical or otherwise, so Mascherato certainly has that intrigue factor about it. With a book by James Willett and a score by Michael Elderkin, this concept album faced a race to completion in the face of lockdown but managed it nonetheless. And intriguing is the right word, as it blends enough dialogue to guide you through the travails of lovers Luca and Elena who are inconvenienced by a war with the Ottoman Empire with Elderkin’s swirlingly romantic score. The combined effect comes across as a little cheesy but the earnest performances of Katy Treharne and Rob Houchen sound appealing and there’s something impressive about how polished the whole musical seems.

And last but by no means least is this curiosity that popped up on my Spotify recommendations. Howard Goodall’s Songs from the Musicals Vol. 1 is an album (of sorts) that accompanies a songbook for female voice and piano, so it is basically Lauren Samuels singing a shedload of Howard Goodall’s songs and so for me, it’s pretty heavenly. Any opportunity to hear tracks from The Hired Man is a winner and these solo versions of ‘Day Follows Day’ and ‘If I Could’ soar in their unaffected simplicity. Love Story’s ‘Nocturnes’ will never not make me cry just a little, the quirkiness of The Kissing-Dance offers nice variation and it was nice to be reminded of how melodic Bend It Like Beckham was.

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