I recorded this CD 20 years ago while on the Isle of Man with the wonderful Karen Corkhill at the piano. Mostly showtunes though the cover blurb grandly proclaims it as “18 beautiful songs of life and love.” Huge thanks to Judith Ley for making the recording and even playing some songs on her radio show!
COLOURS OF MY LIFE
Track 1 – Colours of My Life (from Barnum)
One of my all-time favourite songs from a musical – often sums up how I feel about life too!
Track 2 – This Nearly Was Mine (from South Pacific)
I played Stewpot in the Douglas Choral Union production of South Pacific and got to sing a couple of solo lines. I always sat in the dressing room and sang along to this too.
Track 3 – Losing My Mind (from Follies)
I desperately wanted to include something by the great Stephen Sondheim. I have a few of his songs in my “repertoire” but this was the one that stood out on my list – I just hope it isn’t (or wasn’t) autobiographical in any way, yet the feelings it evokes seem occasionally familiar.
Track 4 – Guldet Blev Till Sand (from Kristina från Duvemåla)
At the time of recording this musical by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus was pretty new and I’d fallen in love with the Swedish version. Although it’s been performed in English more recently I think I prefer the original – and the translated words of “The Gold Has Turned to Sand” are somewhat depressing as it’s about two friends who go searching for gold but one dies after drinking poisoned water! I can only apologise to Abba and Peter Jöback for my attempt at Swedish….
Track 5 – The Impossible Dream (from Man of La Mancha)
Make no mistake, this show is weird though totally in keeping with the Quixotic nature of the original book! However, this song is one of the greatest showstoppers of all time, so I braved the windmills and gave it a go.
Track 6 – Empty Chairs at Empty Tables (from Les Miserables)
A moving song that ensures the hankies come out towards the end of this great musical. I’ve been singing it for years in concerts and it is always difficult to sing without getting swept up in the emotion.
Track 7 – The Vaults of Heaven (from Whistle Down the Wind)
I’d have loved the full Gospel choir accompaniment (one day, perhaps!) but this works just as well as a solo with piano
Track 8 – Luck Be a Lady Tonight (from Guys and Dolls)
This is a show I’ve appeared in more than once and is still a great favourite for me among musicals
Track 9 – I Dreamed a Dream (from Les Miserables)
Sung by Fantine in the show this is a great number for the female voice but lots of blokes have sung it so I am delighted to join the list! When I’m singing live I often include a version of this for which I wrote the lyrics, called A Weight Watcher’s Lament, which opens with the words “I dream of cream and apple pie…..”
Track 10 – Song on the Sand (from La Cage aux Folles)
One of my all-time favourite musicals and the song was one of my mum’s favourite showtunes.
Track 11 – You Must Love Me (from Evita)
This song was written for Madonna when the musical was filmed, and it now usually appears in the stage production too. I heard Paul Hull performing a beautiful cabaret version of the song which inspired me to follow suit. We were hoping to have a cellist with us but they couldn’t make the session, which is a shame as I think it would be gloriously haunting.
Track 12 – Whistle Down the Wind (from Whistle Down the Wind)
It was my performance of this song at a concert in St Thomas’s church, Douglas, that first got us thinking about doing a full recording of favourite show tunes, so I had to include it for posterity.
Track 13 – Anthem (from Chess)
From one of my top favourite musicals, this is the nearest I could get to singing an ABBA song on this recording. The tune was originally written for one of the group’s albums but not used then adapted for the musical and is a real showstopper.
Track 14 – Tell Me on a Sunday (from Tell Me on a Sunday)
Marti Webb made this song her own in the original song cycle, then it went on to be used on stage in Song and Dance. The show has once more taken on a life of its own with a variety of female singers performing it as a separate piece again, so I was pleased to try it with a “male spin!”
Track 15 – Gonna Build a Mountain (from Stop the World, I Want to Get Off)
This was fun to do. I’ve alwyas enjoyed the Matt Monro version of this song and it seemed another that was appropriate to sing as we were recording in a church!
Track 16 – I Won’t Send Roses (from Mack and Mabel)
Another classic Jerry Herman song that I often sing if asked to perform anywhere. This was one of the songs I was singing in an old folks’ home when I heard the exchange: “Who’s that singing?” “I think it’s Howard Keel.” “Isn’t he dead?” “Well, if he is, he still sounds pretty good…”
Track 17 – The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Not a show song at all, but I wanted to include this as it’s one of my favourite songs ever.
Track 18 – With One Look (from Sunset Boulevard)
Critics said this musical was really just about a fading actress and a huge staircase. As I’m a drama queen at heart I wanted the chance to channel my inner Norma Desmond and walk down that staircase -in song at least!
Extra track: The Special Years
I recorded this after hearing of the death of Val Doonican and also performed it at a small concert. There’s something rather downbeat and sad about it, but I enjoyed singing it!