Tag Archives: Brian May

REVIEW: Brian May & Kerry Ellis – Golden Days

Queen’s Brian May and musical theatre stalwart Kerry Ellis have forged a strong, if unexpected, musical partnership over the past few years.

In their newest collaboration the pair have delved into their live back catalogue, deliver their own versions of some well-known classics, as well as penning a series of original songs. The result is an eclectic mix of styles and genres, doubtless to appeal to their diverse fan base.

Track by Track:

Love In A Rainbow (Brian May, Kerry Ellis)

Billed as “retro-psychedelic”, it’s a gentle poppy ballad and low-key start to the album.

Roll With You (Brian May, Kerry Ellis)

Written to illustrate Ellis’ favourite sayings, attitudes and philosophies on life. Despite the classic rock guitar riff, it’s more a cheerful middle of the road high energy pop tune.

Golden Days (Brian May)

A lushly produced power ballad.

It’s Gonna Be All Right (The Panic Attack Song) (Brian May)

Very much in the same vein as the other recently-penned songs on the album, this is another middle of the road pop-rock number.

Amazing Grace (John Newton, Trad. Arr, Brian May)

Accompanied by May on acoustic guitar, this is a simple, but beautiful rendition of the traditional hymn.

One Voice (Ruth Moody)

This choir favourite has been given a fresh vocal arrangement.

If I Loved You (Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers)

One of the musical Carousel’s most-loved songs, Ellis delivers an ear-pleasing version, gentle and less strident than the musical theatre original.

Born Free (John Barry, Don Black)

Billed as a “rock re-arrangement” of the classic movie theme this is very richly produced, and includes a guitar solo with May sounding his most Queen-like.

Parisienne Walkways (Phil Lynott, Gary Moore)

Gary Moore’s signature guitar song is given a female vocal, but it is May’s superlative guitar skills that shine  through.

I Who Have Nothing (Carlo Donida, Mogol, Jerry Leiber, Mike

Stoller)

One of the world’s most covered songs. This is an odd, synth heavy, 80s-sounding Bond theme-imitating version with dated sound and production.

The Kissing Me Song (Brian May, Kerry Ellis)

Another 80s style pop-rock number.

Story Of A Heart (Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson)

Written by Abba’s world-famous song writing duo and originally the title track on The Benny Andersson Band’s compilation album, this sounds like late-era Abba after their glory days were over.

Can’t Help Falling In Love (Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore, George

David Weiss)

A nicely judged version of the much-loved and much-covered song.

The album is a pleasant offering that isn’t going to break any new ground or win a legion of new fans. Stylistically and in its production style it sounds of another era, somewhat over-produced and the song choices, considering the talent of the two individuals involved is ultimately uninspiring, but the diverse selection will undoubtedly keep the duo’s fan base happy.

Released on Sony Music the album is available to purchase/download now.

REVIEW: Return to the Forbidden Planet – King’s Theatre, Glasgow

This article was originally written for and published by The Public Reviews at: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/return-to-the-forbidden-planet-kings-theatre-glasgow/

25 years on and Bob Carlton’s quite frankly bonkers idea to take Shakespeare’s The Tempest, by way of 1956 sci-fi movie classic Forbidden Planet and turn it into a musical jam-packed with the greatest hits of the 50s and 60s, is still wowing audiences up and down the country.

The success of the Olivier Award-winning Return to the Forbidden Planet, and why it is still able to entertain a quarter of a century on, is down to several factors: the sheer good-natured spirit which imbues the whole  production, there is joy and silliness oozing out of every pore; there’s the unbelievable talent of its multi-instrumentalist cast – there isn’t a weak link among them and each pours their heart and soul into their performance; there’s the chance to play clever-Dick and see how many Shakespearean quotes you can spot and the plays they came from, and of course, there’s the outstanding soundtrack of the great and the good from the golden age of rock and roll. What’s not to love?

The show’s greatest strength on this tour is its cast, and as churlish as it may seem to single out any particular performers, there are a few standouts who deserve mention: as Cookie, Mark Newnham’s musicianship is exceptional, in particular during “She’s Not There”, where he manages, with ease, in a guitar solo, to fit in riffs from: “Smoke on the Water”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Purple Haze” to name just a few, couple this with a show-stopping voice and he’s a talent to watch. Sean Needham, returning to the role of Captain Tempest, is as fine-voiced as ever and Christine Holman (Gloria) and Sarah Scowen (Miranda) both possess voices which could blow the roof off.

Return to the Forbidden Planet isn’t without its faults: yes, the hits have been shoe-horned into the plot, yes, the storyline is a slight as silver, yes, it’s as cheesy as Camembert, yes, the set is as (intentionally) ropey as it ever was (wobbling microphones and spray-painted hairdryer guns) but you wouldn’t or couldn’t have it any other way and boy is it easy to forgive it all because it is just so damned entertaining.

If it’s wall-to-wall hits, a top-class cast and an evening of pure escapism on a cold winter’s night you’re after then you need look no further than Return to the Forbidden Planet. Jokey, joyous, irreverent, infectious, its ability to get an audience on its feet remains undiminished after all these years – it’s good to have it back.

5 *****

Runs until Sat 14 February 2015, then touring.