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CD Review: Ronny Whyte – Whyte Witchcraft
(Review by Lance)
Cy Coleman ranks alongside the big hitters such as Kern, Porter, the Gershwins, Rodgers and Hammerstein/Hart. and, of course, Irving Berlin, However, whereas the aristocracy of the GASbook’s great compositions needed some redefining for the jazz world, Coleman’s music needed no tweaking they were there for the taking by any musician or singer who had the chops to handle them. Ronnie Whyte is just such a singer, not least because he was a buddy and often got the songs first hand.
With words, in the main, by Caroline Leigh the material is first rate and with a belter of a big band behind him this must surely rate as one of the all-time classic vocal records.
File it alongside your albums by Sinatra, Bennett, Tormé and Ella albums and, not necessarily in that order.
Let’s take a closer look…
Too Good to Talk About: The voice swings – ring-a-ding-ding – with a Daniel Claude alto solo and a John Eckert trumpet blast to boot it along.
It Amazes Me; Listen to the verse – My height…. just average, my weight…. just average, and my IQ is what you’d estimate, just average. But evidently she does not agree, consequentially, if I seem at sea …. It amazes me.
The Best is yet to Come: Most of the saloon/cabaret singers have done this one and Whyte’s version stands proudly alongside them with the bonus of some vocalese by Eddie Monteiro.
I’m Watching You: Another bouncy ballad with some Whyte piano thrown into the mix.
Sometime When You’re Lonely: One of those romantic ballads that you wonder why you haven’t heard it more often. Justin Wood slots in a few bars of tasty flute.
Witchcraft: Sinatra put his stamp on this one – or did he? Frank forgot to sing the verse and it’s a cracker!
Shades of Old Lucretia Borgia, There’s a devil in you tonight And although my heart says I adore you, my head says this ain’t right Right to have you make advances, oh no Under normal circumstances I’d go – but oh…
No, I guess Frank didn’t forget, more likely some morality group stepped in. It’s rather like the fuss they’re making – after all of these years – over Baby its Cold Outside!
Sweet Talk: Floyd Huddleston wrote the lyric on this trio number.
On Second Thought: Regrets on breaking up – more nice piano.
Why Try to Change me Now?: Lyric by Joseph A. McCarthy. Sinatra owns this one although Whyte makes a decent fist of it. Surprisingly, after Old Blue Eyes, the best version I’ve heard of this tune which will probably never be recorded is by local lass Lindsay Hannon and pianist Alan Law! Request it on a gig.
I’ve Got Your Number: I’m Not in Love Again; Rules of the Road; I Walk a Little Faster; You Fascinate Me So; Don’t Ask a Lady; Here I Go Again; All Right, I Love You. These finish up the album. I haven’t detailed them individually as the superlatives would make War and Peace seem like Mills & Boon.
To sum up – I like it! – not least, with all due respect to Ronny, because it helps to remind the world that Coleman/Leigh were a team to rate alongside any of the Broadway hotshots.