Engelbert Humperdinck

An Introduction to Engelbert Humperdinck

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With its "one size fits all' sticker proclaiming "The best of the best!/Remastered with extensive liner notes," Fuel's 2006 release, An Introduction to Engelbert Humperdinck, is a bit misleading. It's a collection of well-recorded (and all too often recorded) standards from the Great American Songbook, with none of his chart hits or popular live performances anywhere in sight. Of course, there's no denying that Humperdinck can sing the heck out of tunes like "In the Still of the Night" and "Long Ago (And Far Away)," and the Les Baxter-esque orchestral arrangements certainly conjure up a great deal of appropriately swoony atmosphere but, no matter how well performed, these aren't the songs that made the man famous. The "extensive liner notes" lovingly play out Humperdinck's back story over the course of 11 paragraphs, citing all of his chart-topping triumphs and gushing over his electric live performances as if they were included on the disc. It's misleading, for sure, but the main insult comes from the fact that the standards that are contained on this disc are represented with no documentation whatsoever. There's no who, where, or when attached to any of the songs, effectively introducing the listener to nothing but speculation. Make no mistake, the music here is good (and Humperdinck certainly isn't phoning in any of the performances) but the way the disc is presented, listeners may well be expecting something more akin to a greatest hits than a collection of standards.

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