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Russell Watson really has come a long way since he quit his factory job on the chance he could make it singing in the pubs and clubs of Manchester. Fortunately for him he had a chance meeting with one of the managers of a football team who suggested he added an operatic song to his routine and then as it got such a good reception from the audiences he invited him to sing and open one of the matches. Since this start he has known world wide success and he manages to move from modern songs back to the operatic ones with ease.
Russell came to my attention when the new Star Trek series, Enterprise came out some years ago and he sang the opening theme music, since then I have tried to follow him as much as possible but more so with his none operatic albums as I find he has such a pleasant and easy listening voice. The only downside to him is that he tends to do a lot of cover songs and I just wish he would get help to release some new material.
The latest album which I came across was 'With Love from Russell Watson'. As you will probably guess from the title it contains love songs. There are a total of 18 tracks which are:-
1 - Have I told you lately
2 - When I fall in love
3 - Strangers in the Night
4 - You are so Beautiful
5 - The Magic of Love - duet with Lionel Ritchie
6 - You'll Still be there for me
7 - Let there be love
8 - Unforgettable
9 - To all the girl's I've loved before - duet with Alexandra O'Neal
10 - If you Don't Know me by now
11 - One more time
12 - Try a little Tenderness
13 - Me and Mrs Jones
14 - We will stand together
15 - You Raise me up
16 - The best that love can be
17 - Somewhere - from West Side Story
18 - Bridge over Troubled Water
As these tracks are all very well known ones I am not going to give a run down of each track but just talk about them all in general and which ones I like and dislike. They are all very good and very well sung. Russell has kept the original music arrangements on nearly all of the tracks and for me this works very well as I really don't like when people do covers and change them completely.
The way there is a mix of ballads and then the more up-tempo song really works well as these tracks have been fitted into the album to give it a bit of variety and not all bunched together. My favourite track on the album has to be You Raise me Up. I got to know this song more when Westlife released it and made it a number one hit, they seemed to jazz the song up and take it far away from how it was originally written and here Russell takes it right back to its humble beginnings. He gives the music such an Irish feel with the instruments used and I loved how basic and simple the song sounds, he uses his vocals to add the drama and even though there is a choir for the chorus they do not take away the effect of the emotions in Russell's vocals. I really do like Me and Mrs Jones on the album as well but cannot shake the feeling of Michael Buble off when ever I hear him sing this one.
There is one song which I am not overly impressed with and that is Let there be love as for some reason I juts don't seem to be able to connect with it, there are good vocals and music on the song but it is just one I am not keen on.
We do have a wonderful duet on the album with Lionel Ritchie and I am so glad he has included this one as it is a great song. The way the deep operatic tones from Russell work and mix so well with the lighter tones from Lionel Ritchie are excellent. I could not have imagined them being able to blend and fit together so well but if you get the chance then have a listen at this song as you too may be very surprised. I also love the lyrics to this song as they have a good amount of feeling and meaning.
The music which accompanies all of the tracks is wonderful and very easy to listen to. For me this is a CD which I have to play when driving so no one can hear me singing along as I do tend to do this at full pelt or I have to play it in the kitchen when in the house on my own. Also the fact that hubby is not very keen on this album does not bode well for use sharing the listening pleasure.
There are a good mix of tracks so this album should appeal to everyone who likes nice easy listening music which have consistently good vocals throughout. I bought my CD for just £3 in Tesco which I felt to be a great bargain price.
This really does get a good solid 5 stars from me as it had a good track list, good music and excellent vocals. I recommended this to all fans of Russell Watson and all who like a good old love song.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Have I Told You Lately
2 When I Fall In Love
3 Strangers In The Night
4 You are so beautiful - Russell Watson, Neil Jason, Richard Cottle, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Nick Ingman
5 The magic of love - Russell Watson, Lionel Richie, Jay Berliner, Jeff Bova, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, John Lubbock
6 You'll Still Be There For Me (based on the theme from "Rob Roy")
7 Let There Be Love
9 To All The Girls I've Loved Before - Russell Watson, Alexander O'Neal
10 If You Don't Know Me By Now
11 One More Time
12 Try A Little Tenderness
13 Me And Mrs. Jones
14 We Will Stand Together (based on Variations on an Original Theme, Op.36 "Nimrod")
15 You Raise Me Up
16 The best that love can be - Russell Watson, Cleopatra
17 Somewhere - Russell Watson, Lawrence Cottle, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, John Lubbock
18 Bridge Over Troubled Water - Russell Watson, Mark Smith, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Nick Ingman