Thursday, April 3, 2014

Barry Manilow crafts perfect 'Night Songs'

Thirty years ago, Barry Manilow put out an album of jazz-influenced songs called 2:00 A.M. Paradise Cafe recorded live in one take.

That particular title immediately came to mind when I first heard the veteran pop hit maker's latest studio effort, Night Songs.

You can almost imagine him closing down some corner nightclub with a tip jar perched atop the Steinway.

This collection leans toward standards from the 1930s-'50s. It is an intimate affair - just Manilow at the piano, adding the occasional synthesized acoustic bassline with relaxed vocals. He has described as "different from any album I’ve ever made. No orchestra, no back beats, no big endings. Just beautifully crafted songs played and sung simply so the listener can really understand them."

Originally made just for personal use, several of Manilow's friends and manager heard it, raved about the material sourced from Broadway and film musicals (Anchors Away, Flying Colors, 42nd Street, Girl Crazy, A Star is Born, Behind the Eight Ball, Here Come the Waves, Guys and Dolls, Carnival in Flanders, On the Town) and lobbied for a commercial release. 

The Fanilows obviously agreed: they responded by snapping up enough copies to garner a
top 10 debut on the Billboard 200 chart in America this week. 
In the CD liner notes, the Palm Springs, Calif. resident also says: 

"This album turned out to be one of my favorites. It’s filled with songs written by some of the greatest songwriters of our time. And even though the songs might not be very well known, they too are some of my favorites. I loved making this album. It reminded me of the days I used to play in piano bars. I loved those days. No Top 40 to worry about, no planes to catch, no hotel rooms to check into and out of, and none of those little bars of soap!"

He concludes by wisely advising listeners to "pour yourself a glass of wine and dim the lights. Night Songs is the perfect sound track for your evening."

Indeed, the romantic track list includes...

1. I Fall In Love Too Easily
2. Alone Together
3. Blame It On My Youth
4. I Get Along Without You Very Well
5. You're Getting To Be A Habit With Me
6. It Amazes Me
7. But Not For Me
8. It's A New World
9. While We're Young
10. You Don't Know What Love Is
11. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive
12. My One And Only Love
13. I've Never Been In Love Before
14. I Walk A Little Faster
15. Here's That Rainy Day
16. Some Other Time

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