Tom Andersen

Far Away Places

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New York cabaret singer Tom Andersen's first album is a conglomerate of standards and traditional pop, running the gamut from ballads to happy, fun stuff, such as Roy Orbison's 1957 rockabilly hit "So Long, I'm Gone." Andersen has a light but engaging set of vocal pipes recalling Johnny Mathis in his younger, halcyon days. Like most cabaret releases, Andersen is accompanied by a bevy of instrumentalists and background singers. And, of course, there are the ever-present keyboards, here operated by Tim DiPasqua. But Andersen is sufficiently savvy to have that instrument used with restraint so as not to drown him out. And it's good that it doesn't, sinceAndersen delivers some plain, old-fashioned, lovely ballad singing on this album. His "Far Away Places" reeks with yearning and sincerity. The big hit for Guy Mitchell, "Singing the Blues," is done with less bounce than the original, with Jay Condiotti's guitar adding a pinch of western country to it. And there's country swing in the tune associated with Debbie Reynolds, "All I Do Is Dream of You," with Marty Laster's violin providing most of the country. This and a lilting "Moonglow" are pleasant and necessary respites from a play list loaded with melancholy material. The latter tune is enhanced with on-the-mark background vocals which are neither overbearing nor underdone. This maiden album was nominated for a Manhattan Association of Cabarets (MAC) recording of the year, an accolade that was well earned.

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