Mike Campbell

My Romance

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A West Coast denizen, Mike Campbell traveled to Charlotte, North Carolina, to record this album of 14 entries in the Great American Songbook plus one Loonis McGlohon original. This session is uncomplicated, straightforward vocalizing with nothing fancy and no vocal fireworks. To be sure, a couple of crooner devices appear from time to time like on "My Romance" and "It Could Happen to You." But for the most part, this is strictly cabaret from one of its most notable male practitioners. His comrade in arms, Loonis McGlohon, is well known as one of Alec Wilder's composing partners as well as for accompanist prowess. He has pretty much become the house pianist for George Buck's Audiophile label. Along the way, McGlohon's piano has backed the likes of singers Margaret Whiting, Teddi King, Dick Haymes, Marlene Ver Planck, and late in his career, Johnny Hartman. Like many sought after accompanists, McGlohon has that magic touch that singers look for when searching for someone who can subordinate his individuality to that of the singer, while at the same time having the know how to accentuate the vocalist's best features. Others who know the secret of backing singers include Jimmy Jones, Hank Jones, Jimmy Rowles, and Tommy Flanagan. Bass player Ron Brendle is not on all the cuts. But when present, he carries out his assigned duties of holding the time admirably. Campbell's approach to his singing reflects that sense of intimacy that characterizes cabaret. There's no more than subtle deviations in delivery from tune to tune. For some, the beat gets a bit brisker like on "How About You?" and there's a tad more pathos as on "For all We Know." Campbell's voice fits well with his singing philosophy: calm, soft, and, most of all, sincere. He has the requisite technical skills essential for cabaret: excellent diction, phrasing, and sense of timing. My Romance is typical of the kind of release that dominates the Audiophile catalogue, nothing flashy; instead, there is refreshing music by performers a notch below the most well-known singers but who are very good in their own right. This album is recommended.

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