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From Monro With Love: “The Singer’s Singer” Box Set Due From EMI

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Matt Monro never met a genre of music he didn’t like.  Whether covering standards, tackling contemporary pop hits or singing in Spanish, that reassuring, velvet croon, unerring interpretive skills and all-around good taste made Matt Monro “the singer’s singer.”  A 2001 EMI box set of that title was a limited edition of 3,000 copies, and quickly disappeared from store shelves, but EMI will re-offer that 103-track box set in a budget-priced reissue due in the U.K. on September 12. 

And it gets better.  Not only will the 2011 edition of The Singer’s Singer be priced affordably (as of this writing on August 30, it’s currently selling on Amazon U.K. for under 7 pounds!) but the set has been completely remastered, too!  38 tracks have been derived from the 2010 and 2011 remasters created for EMI’s acclaimed The Complete Singles Collection and Words and Music reissues, while of the remaining 65 tracks, 60 have been transferred by engineer Richard Moore from the first generation mixdown tapes!  In addition, two tracks erroneously included on the 2001 version, duets between Monro and his son Matt Monro, Jr., have been corrected with the original solo versions.

Richard Moore has catalogued his amazing journey assembling and mastering this new edition of The Singer’s Singer at his website, and we urge you to read it!  Then return here, as we’ve got much more on Monro coming up, including the complete track listing.  Just hit the jump!

The box set covers all phases of Monro’s career, which was tragically curtailed when the singer died in 1985 at the age of 54.  Though considered by many to be the British answer to Frank Sinatra, Monro recorded far fewer American standards than Ol’ Blue Eyes. He found frequent success tackling songs of European origin, and gave voice to the landmark James Bond theme song, “From Russia with Love.” The song, penned by Lionel Bart of Broadway’s Oliver! fame, was heard in the film as source music and then over the end titles, buoyed by John Barry’s lush orchestration. Monro was something of a soundtrack specialist, perhaps best remembered for his stirring rendition of Barry and Don Black’s “Born Free,” which Andy Williams covered to great effect on American shores. (Monro scored two American Top 40 hits: “My Kind of Girl” in 1961 and “Walk Away” in 1964.) Monro’s friendship with Barry endured, as did his relationship with producer/arranger George Martin.

Martin had “discovered” Monro, casting him as “Fred Flange” on Peter Sellers’ Songs for Swingin’ Sellers LP.   Thanks to the EMI and Martin connections, Monro was one of the first performers to record Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday,” and his relaxed and warm version remains a highlight of his catalogue. Sinatra paid tribute to Monro by recording number of songs first associated with the British singer, like Leslie Bricusse’s “My Kind of Girl” and the Italian import “Softly As I Leave You.”  Sinatra may have said it best when he commented of Monro, “His pitch was right on the nose, his word enunciations letter perfect, his understanding of a song thorough.”   But his career diverged from Sinatra’s in significant ways; Monro’s only LP dedicated to a classic Tin Pan Alley composer was 1962’s Matt Monro Sings Hoagy Carmichael, reissued earlier this year as part of EMI’s terrific ongoing Monro reissue campaign.  (Monro did cover one of the few songs actually written by Frank Sinatra, and his recording of “I’m a Fool to Want You” can be heard on the new box set.)

A new stereo remix of “From Russia, With Love” utilizing the correct vocal is one of the many new alterations/improvements to The Singer’s Singer, all of which have been indicated in the track listing below in bold.  The box set is a journey though Monro’s career and also a musical history of some of the greatest composers and lyricists of all time.  The Beatles are represented with “Yesterday,” “Michelle” and “The Long and Winding Road,” Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer with “Days of Wine and Roses” and “Charade” and Jimmy Webb with “Didn’t We.”  The Broadway songbook is deeply mined, and yields Charles Strouse and Lee Adams’ “You’ve Got Possibilities” from It’s a Bird!  It’s a Plane!  It’s Superman!, Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane’s “Come Back to Me” and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever” from the musical of the same name, and Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh’s Real Live Girl from Little Me.  There are choice pop interpretations of “Strangers in the Night,” “You Make Me So Very Happy,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” among many others.  Standards don’t get the short shrift, either, thanks to renditions of “September Song” (from Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson’s Knickerbocker Holiday), “Spring is Here,” “Fools Rush In” and “The Second Time Around.”

The original box set’s Monro biography is no longer included, having been superseded by Michele Monro’s biography of her father (not coincidentally of the same title as the box).  However, the 2011 set does including brief remastering notes and full recording details for each of the included songs.  The new, improved The Singer’s Singer hits stores in the U.K. on September 12 from EMI, and I have a feeling fans and collectors of timeless vocals won’t want to miss this one!  A pre-order link to Amazon U.K. can be found below!

Matt Monro, The Singer’s Singer (EMI 535814, 2001 – reissued EMI Gold, 2011)

CD 1

  1. Music To Watch Girls By
  2. Strangers In The Night (Stereo Mix)
  3. For All We Know
  4. Yesterday
  5. On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (Stereo Mix)
  6. For Once In My Life
  7.  He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother
  8. September Song
  9. Love Is A Many Splendored Thing
  10. Time After Time
  11. What a Wonderful World
  12. Georgia On My Mind
  13. Alguien Canto  (Stereo Mix)
  14. You’re Gonna Hear From Me (Stereo Mix)
  15. When Joanna Loved Me (Stereo Mix)
  16. Gonna Build A Mountain
  17. My Friend My Friend
  18. Everybody’s Talkin’
  19. The Days of Wine and Roses
  20. I’m Glad There Is You (Stereo Mix)
  21. Stardust
  22. As Long As She Needs Me
  23. The Impossible Dream
  24. Over The Rainbow
  25. I Will Wait For You (Stereo Mix)
  26. I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)

CD 2

 

  1. Michelle
  2. Portrait of My Love
  3. Somewhere (Stereo Mix)
  4. On a Wonderful Day Like Today (Stereo Mix)
  5. Born Free
  6. The Good Life (Stereo Mix)
  7. You’re Sensational
  8. The Shadow of Your Smile
  9. No Me Dejes (If You Go Away) (Full Spanish Version)
  10. Honey on the Vine (Stereo Mix)
  11. You and Me Against the World (Solo Version)
  12. Let Me Sing And I’m Happy
  13. Sunrise, Sunset
  14. Let There Be Love
  15. This Is The Life (Stereo Mix)
  16. Charade
  17. Exodus (Main Theme)
  18. From Russia With Love (Stereo Single Remix)
  19.  Singin’ in the Rain
  20. Around The World (Stereo Mix)
  21. When I Fall In Love
  22. Maria
  23. Real Live Girl (Stereo Mix)
  24. On Days Like These
  25. I Have Dreamed
  26. Come Back To Me

CD 3

  1. Fly Me to the Moon (In Other Words)
  2. Softly As I Leave You
  3. We’re Gonna Change The World
  4.  Who Can I Turn To
  5. Walk Away
  6.  The Second Time Around
  7. The Long and Winding Road
  8. Ebb Tide
  9. Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear To Tread)
  10. If I Never Sing Another Song
  11. My Way
  12. When You Wish Upon A Star
  13. Spring Is Here
  14. Didn’t We
  15. If She Walked Into My Life
  16. Till the End of Time
  17. You’ve Got Possibilities (Stereo Mix)
  18. The Green Leaves Of Summer
  19. My Kind Of Girl
  20. People (Stereo Mix)
  21. Sweet Talkin’ Hannah (Stereo Mix)
  22. Autumn Leaves
  23. Todo Pasara

CD 4

  1. You’ve Made Me So Very Happy
  2. No Puedo Quitar Mis Ojos De Ti (Can’t Take My Eyes Off You) (Correct Master)
  3. Be My Lady
  4. Bridge Over Troubled Water
  5. You’re Closer To Me (Stereo Mix)
  6. Hava Nagila
  7. I Don’t Want To Run Your Life (Stereo Mix)
  8. The Sweetest Sounds
  9. Memory
  10. More (Solo Version)
  11. Miss Brown To You (First Time Stereo Mix)
  12. The Auction
  13. A Place In Paris
  14. Fourth Blue Monday (Stereo Mix)
  15. Hey
  16. L’Etoile Du Sud (The Southern Star)
  17. I Should Care
  18. I’m A Fool To Want You
  19. You Keep Me Swingin’
  20. I’ve Got The Moon On My Side
  21. Before You Go
  22. A Lot Of Livin’ (To Do)
  23. Listerine/Hartley’s Peas/Horniman’s Tea
  24. Zal/The Wonder Of Wollies/Go Bowling
  25. The Party’s Over

Written by Joe Marchese

August 30, 2011 at 09:43

One Response

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  1. It’s nice to see the efforts that the Monro family make to keep Matt’s legacy alive. Putting out definitive reissues and excellent compilations at bargain prices is a formula that I wish others would follow.

    I recommend getting Matt’s recordings from the later 1950’s on the Decca label. His singing puts him up there with the greatest pop singers. It’s too bad the record companies did not recognize that in the 1950’s. He should have had at least 5 times the number of records in the 1950’s.

    Kevin

    August 30, 2011 at 10:55


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