I’m guessing that not too many readers of these august pages will have heard the name WARREN WIEBE but I’m equally sure that plenty will have heard his distinctive voice. Born in California, Warren was one of America’s top session singers and he’s worked with people like David Foster, Celine Dion, Jay Graydon, Gloria Estefan, Lalah Hathaway and, maybe most importantly, Burt Bacharach and Quincy Jones. Indeed Q dubbed Warren his “Soulful Rain Man” and that might give you a clue to some of the problems that dogged Warren. For many years he battled with mental health issues and depression and, sadly, in October 1998 he took his own life.

To mark the 20th anniversary of Warren’s untimely passing Contante & Sonante Records have just released a selection of songs featuring his wonderful voice. ‘Original Demos Featuring Warren Wiebe’ offers fourteen studio recordings – eight of which are previously unreleased. The cuts are collaborations with writers and producers like Steve Dorf, Guy Thomas, Tom Snow and David Foster. One of the Foster songs is the lovely ‘The Colour Of My Love’ which was written for the musical ‘Scream’ and intended for Celine Dion. But when Ms Dion heard Warren’s demo she decided that she’d be unable to better his performance.

More importantly, maybe, ‘Original Demos Featuring Warren Wiebe’ features two collaborations with Burt Bacharach. The songs are ‘Never Take That Chance Again’ and ‘Love Made Me Wait.’ Bacharach wrote the songs with Tonio K and (in the case of the latter) with Dave Loggins. Indeed ‘Love Made Me Wait’ is classic Bacharach and one wonders why it’s remained unreleased till now.

Another famous name amongst the writer credits is Gerry Goffin. He’s the co-author with Tom Snow of the sweet AOR ballad ‘You’re Welcome In My Life’ which features a flawless Warren Wiebe vocal… but we could say that about any of the 14 recordings .

ORIGINAL DEMOS FEATURING WARREN WIEBE is out now on Contante & Sonante Records