BWW CD Reviews: Masterworks Broadway's ED AMES ON BROADWAY is Simply Nostalgia
As the saying goes, "what's old is new again," and it seems that we cannot get enough of the 1960s these days. With AMC's Mad Men dominating airwaves, jukebox musicals based on the stars of the 1960s dominating Broadway, and a slew of re-mastered rereleases of forgotten treasures filling stores, it seems the whole world is ready for an extra dry martini, mod fashion, and a swinging yet sophisticated party. Recently, Masterworks Broadway ushered us back to the glory days of the American Camelot with their release of ED AMES ON BROADWAY, which is a one-disc album featuring Ed Ames' 1963 album OPENING NIGHT and 1966 album I CANNOT WISH YOU in their entirety.
I have often been a fan of Masterworks Broadway's rereleases. Yet, this one just doesn't do anything for me, and I truly am unsure why. Ed Ames sings the 24 tracks with a laudable and undeniable gorgeous baritone instrument. Moreover, the audio engineers have completely removed any hint of the hiss and pops that would be heard on an LP, gifting listeners with a stunningly clean album to listen to. The background orchestrations are lushly opulent in that classic 1960s way. The music swings and Ed Ames' voice is decadent. But, I just can't help but feel that we've all heard these songs a million times, have our favorite recordings of these classic tunes, and that, for the most part, these simply are not our favorites.
Certainly we will all enjoy Ed Ames rousing finale to "The Impossible Dream" from MAN OF LA MANCHA. We will all feel the romance of "If Ever I Would Leave You" from CAMELOT. These recordings are enjoyable and well performed. The production value is everything a listener could ask for. It just doesn't move me beyond the surface level or in any unexpected ways. I appreciate the artistic merit and the value of his vocals. I even appreciate the jazzy, gin swilling ambience of the recording. But try as I might, I just can't really relax into the album and love it.