Richard "Cookie" Thomas

The Pleasure of Your Company

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Dubbed "Cookie" by his mother for reasons lost in time, Richard Thomas applies his rich baritone and sumptuous delivery to classics from the great American songbook. Most of these songs have come to be associated with many great male vocalists of the past. "My One and Only Love" compares well with the Johnny Hartman/John Coltrane Quartet version on the seminal album Lush Life. Thomas does "Beyond the Sea," evoking memories of Bobby Darin. Nat King Cole is memorialized by Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You." And therein lies the rub. While blessed with what seems to be perfect pitch and good diction, most of the tunes on this album "belong" to other singers. What Thomas needs to do is to wax songs which have been under-recorded and which could be associated with him. Given the paucity of good male singers on today's scene, Thomas has the vocal tools to help fill an ever-growing void. But he has to make a mark with material that can be said to be "his." Lack of originality notwithstanding, this is a pleasant, relaxing album by a blue-ribbon balladeer. The Lynn Ariale Trio performs admirably in support of Thomas' relaxed interpretations. Ariale is given plenty of opportunity to show her pianistic skills, getting significant solo space on such cuts as "Beyond the Sea" and "My Funny Valentine."

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