Jim Dale

Meet Jim Dale/This Is Me

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By 2007, when the él division of Cherry Red Records licensed the two albums heard on this CD for reissue (both originally released on LP by Pye Records), Jim Dale was a septuagenarian probably best known for his narrations of the audiobook versions of the Harry Potter novels, although he had spent most of his career as a stage actor in straight plays and musicals. The albums, Meet Jim Dale (1969) and This Is Me (1973), may remind listeners that, among Dale's many other talents, he was also at one time a successful pop singer (although none of his hit recordings for Parlophone Records in the late '50s are included), and at another a successful songwriter. Those talents are particularly on display in the first 13 tracks, which comprised Meet Jim Dale, an album that found him singing songs of his own composition, in particular "Georgy Girl," the Academy Award-nominated pop standard for which he wrote the lyrics to Tom Springfield's music, giving the Seekers one of their biggest hits. Dale may remind listeners of another British stage star with a pop singing and songwriting career on the side, Anthony Newley, and of the early Newley-influenced David Bowie in this material, which has a theatrical and British music hall quality. As a good actor, Dale tends to come up with a character for each song, and often an accent as well. Tracks 14-24, constituting This Is Me, were produced and largely arranged by Tony Hatch, known for his work with Petula Clark, and they find Dale working mostly as an interpretive singer on songs by Neil Sedaka, Paul Simon, and Nilsson, among others. Again, he turns each one into a little musical play. Instead of Newley, he sometimes recalls the albums Richard Harris made with Jimmy Webb, though he is a better singer than Harris. Annotator Christopher Evans is correct in calling these recordings "evidence of a path not taken" by an artist who chose to emphasize his acting talent over his musical one. That evidence suggests that he could have gone the other way if he chose.

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