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Audio CD, Audiobook, CD, 19 April 2004
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- Product Dimensions : 13.97 x 12.07 x 1.27 cm; 113.68 Grams
- Manufacturer : Emi Gold Imports
- Item Model Number : 724357759427
- Original Release Date : 2004
- Run time : 1 hour and 43 minutes
- SPARS Code : DDD
- Label : Emi Gold Imports
- ASIN : B0001N6M58
- Country of origin : USA
- Number of discs : 2
- Best Sellers Rank: 118,833 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
- Customer Reviews:
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Two disc compilation from Australia for the popular British crooner highlights his 60's heyday with 36 tracks including the hits, 'Portrait of My Love', 'My Kind of Girl', the Bond theme 'From Russia with Love', 'Walk Away', & his cover of the Beatles' 'Yesterday'. EMI. 2004.
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I grew up hearing Matt Monro regularly on radio and TV, and simply took him for granted. Besides, in those days I hadn`t yet found the liking I have now for the great singers of ballads and standards of the era. Having listened with ears and heart open to a lot of MM recently, I can honestly say that he was virtually without peer. Tom Jones was more exuberant and raunchy, Engelbert could belt out a song, Val Doonican had his own brand of lilting vocal charm, and there were several others who came and went, but Matt could hold his own with the very best, whether Sinatra, Tony Bennett or Perry Como.
He has a little of all three of those singers` qualities: the effortless attention to detail of Sinatra, the sunny expansiveness of Bennett, the laid-back quality of Como. But he brought something unique to the repertoire of songs - often unheard until he recorded them - he chose to make his own. The word that first springs to mind is `warmth`. Matt was a breezy, pint-sized Londoner, who made it big a little later than many singers, in his early thirties. He must have been raring to go.
What I hadn`t realised, fool that I am, is not only the sheer power of his voice, but its beauty, as well as an ability to phrase a lyric as perfectly as Sinatra (who, to his eternal credit, was a fan). In fact, at times MM sounds a little less mannered than Sinatra could occasionally seem, dare I say it.
The other pleasing aspect to his artistry is that, although he was obviously indebted to the great American singers of the mid-twentieth century, and learnt from them, he never tries to sound like them, never Americanises his voice. He was `our` singer, and I think he knew and respected that.
So, what of this 2-CD compilation?
The selection, despite one or two baffling omissions - no Softly As I Leave You or last superb hit And You Smiled - is generally well-chosen and nicely programmed. I am amused and delighted to hear the one or two novelty numbers included (eg. the delightful Mama Picked A Picnic Tea, and a song glorying in the unlikely title of Ethel Baby!) and most of the songs one expects to hear are present, from Walk Away to his signature song Born Free. There is also a wonderful version of Charles Aznavour`s vivid Yesterday When I was Young, which I hope the Frenchman heard and appreciated.
Nothing is sung with anything less than Matt`s purity of musical line and perfect pitch. His range is genuinely impressive, from a low baritone to not a few high notes that must have impressed even Tony Bennett, that other purveyor of exciting big finishes. This man could sing!
So why four stars?
EMI is a huge company with, on much past & present evidence, scant regard for its customers: you and me. The sleevenotes, by Matt`s daughter Michelle (who has also written a biography of her beloved father, who died cruelly young at 54) contain more than one misprint, including a sentence that barely makes sense. Don`t they check? But what I can`t forgive is the short measure we are given. Each of these two discs is about 50 mins in length. A CD can take up to 80 mins of music. At the very least we might have been given an hour per CD. That would have made room for another six or so songs. It`s not asking for the moon.
The booklet is pretty good (despite the textual errors) but I`m not overly impressed by the choice of photos. They`re OK, but one or two of them don`t quite do this amiably handsome man full justice.
So, at least five shining stars for Matt; four at most for the product.
Matt Monro was the best we had - apparently a lovely man, too. I`m so glad I`ve found this out for myself at last.
A worthwhile buy!