HARRY CONNICK JR.: Your Songs (Label: Sony)

  • Home
  • Reviews
  • HARRY CONNICK JR.: Your Songs (Label: Sony)

In a recent interview Harry Connick Jr. revealed that he’d turned down numerous offers to play Frank Sinatra in putative biopics on ‘Ol Blue Eyes. It’s easy to see and hear why directors and producers are so keen to cast him in the role. Connick has the easy good looks and affecting charm of Sinatra, but more importantly his voice is (and always has been) uncannily close to the maestro’s. Connick, it seems, has rejected the movie offers because he doesn’t want to be always cast in Sinatra’s shadow – explaining, maybe, why on most of his albums he prefers to work his own material rather the record things that might, by association, be linked to the great man. Here, though, Harry (as he did with 2004’s ‘Only You’ album) offers a whole album of covers including songs that Sinatra recorded too – like the opener ‘All The Way’, ‘Smile’, ‘The Way You Look Tonight’ and ‘Some Enchanted Evening’. But there’s also plenty of more contemporary material – including Billy Joel’s ‘Just The Way You Are’, Burt Bacharach’s ‘They Long To Be Close To You’, Ewan McColl’s ‘First Time Ever I Saw You Face’ and Elton John’s ‘Your Song’. What, though, makes this collection of covers different to anything that Harry has recorded before is that here he works with a co-producer, Clive Davis. It was Davis who chose most of the songs, and though they are all familiar and generally associated with one particular performer, between them Connick and Davis have recreated them. The arrangements are new and accessible and players like Wynton and Branford Marsalis ensure interest throughout the proceedings. Personal favourites include that gentle version of ‘Close To You’ – featuring a wonderful trumpet solo from New Orleans’ Leroy Jones, and the second take on the Beatles’ ‘And I Love Her’. Both versions of the Fabs’ famed ballad are given a Latin lilt, but that second take (labelled “bonus track”) is a duet with Carla Bruni and to a sensuous bolero rhythm the pair create a good deal of passion… good on you Madame Sarkozy! The cameo creates a fitting conclusion to a fine album – recommended to those who still find romance intriguing and along with Barbra Streisand’s recent set – a perfect accompaniment for a loving night in.
(BB) 4/5