Reviewer: Holly Spanner
SimG’s latest offering celebrates the work of lyricist Lesley Ross in this generous 25 track limited edition album. The album features 30 West End vocalists, including Madalena Alberta, Daniel Boys, Annalene Beechey, Kieran Brown, Garry Lake, Sarah Lark, Jodie Jacobs, Sarah Earnshaw, Jon Robyns, Rebecca Lock, Aaron Lee Lambert, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Sophia Ragavelas and Nigel Richards among many others.
Love, Lies and Lyrics is an eclectic collection of musical styles, showcasing music from composers including Mark Aspinall, Matthew Brind, UK songwriter John-Victor, James Williams and one song (‘Toujours A Toi’) from the 19th century composer Charles Gounod. Emotive ballads sit elegantly alongside high energy show stoppers and the witty lyrics which continue as a common theme, also extend to the title of the recording. Love, Lies and Lyrics. The first lie is that Lesley Ross is not the writer’s true name, proving there is more to this album than first meets the eye.
It is the result of a fundraising project via IdeasTap, and the generous donations have been rewarded by a generous helping of songs. 25 in fact, which is more than most full length cast recordings. And it doesn’t stop with the recording; the accompanying booklet also features a background to each song, allowing the listener (if they wish) to share in the creative process, discover inspirations or simply understand the story a little better.
The album features songs from lesser known (but highly deserving of attention) British Musicals including Pick a Ticket!, The Diva Drag, The Jolly Folly of Polly, The Scottish Trolley Dolly, Rumpelstiltskin, Can You Keep a Secret?, Hansel &Gretel, Shreds, Barry the Penguin’s Black and White Christmas, Before the Wedding, The Sheep Chronicles and Jorinda &Jorindel: An Elephant’s Adventure.
The album bursts into life with ‘Pick a Ticket!’ from the musical of the same name, exuding enthusiasm for the mundane (a skill many of us wish we had!), while in contrast Annalene Beechey’s ‘Song for Someone’ is sad and happy at the same time. Even moments after the opening bars, you know something magical is about to begin.
For you are all that is left of me, you are all I can leave behind
For when I am gone, lost in your thoughts, you will know I am yours for all time
Influences of Lesley Ross’s highly varied career are felt throughout; ‘Him in 23B’ from The Jolly Folly of Polly, The Scottish Trolley Dolly to name one such example as for a time, Ross earned a living as cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic. Suzanne Procter reflects with amusement over the passenger sat in economy class, hitting all the right comedic notes. We all belong somewhere, that place which fills us with warmth and excitement at the thought of returning after a long absence, and ‘At the Penguin Café’ captures this feeling perfectly. Sung by Llio Millward and Haydn Oakley, the song has a hugely compelling energy, and with James Williams’ catchy music, it is a guaranteed toe-tapper with quirky lyrics that will stay lodged in your memory for some time.
A different feel again comes with the powerful ‘For All Time’ by Jodie Jacobs and Jon Robyns, in a contemporary and poppy duet, packed with certainty and promise. This theme of promise continues through Kieran Brown as he sings ‘Harry’s Dream’, full of hope as he radiates a feeling of awakening which comes from true love.
The album celebrates unique material including ‘Why Do Whores Only Sing in Musicals?’ and ‘Living Like Lesbians’ alongside the more traditional feeling ‘And In My Heart’ from Jorinda &Jorindel: An Elephant’s Adventure. Sung by the talented Nigel Richards, who himself is known to have a keen interest in new writing, the anticipation within the lyrics is palpable, while ‘Victoria Red’ sung by Rebekah Hinds has a fantastic and infectious beat to accompany the story woven by Ross’s lyrics.
It is high time that lesser known British musicals are brought to the forefront of attention, and once again SimG have come through in their support for new British writing. With a stellar cast and a great selection of songs, this is an album which everyone should pay attention to, taking a moment to pause and reflect on the lyrics. Love, Lies &Lyrics is a musical pic n’ mix which leaves you itching for more.
Love, Lies &Lyrics: The Words of Lesley Ross is released on the 11th May 2015 and can be purchased here.