Reviewer Jonathan Baz
Released in 2011 Shona White’s album I’ll Bring You A Song is mainly a compilation of show tunes, some well known, some less recognisable but the common theme is a pleasing treatment of each number, combined with a commitment to solid production values from this evidently talented trouper.
White opens with the over-familiar ‘Take That Look Off Your Face’ from Don Black / Lloyd Webber. What’s rather appealing however, is that her take on this classic piece of lift music is attractively engineered, while the crystal clarity of White’s diction and annunciation revealed lyrics that had hitherto been lost to me. Sat in an airport lounge listening to the album, it was a genuine surprise to discover words in the song that previous recordings had simply blurred. Stephen Schwartz’s ‘As Long As Your Mine’ taken from Wicked offers Daniel Boys a chance to accompany as Fiyero, in a big song that demands a similar sized treatment. Together with strong keyboards and a sound that suggests modestly lavish orchestrations, White works the Wicked words with the satisfying verve they deserve.
Dipping into the 1960s with Dusty Springfield’s top ten hit ‘I Close My Eyes And Count To Ten’, proves a real treat from White. This is a rock ballad heard all too rarely and the deceptively fine acoustic guitar intro that leads straight into a cracking electric guitar riff makes for a welcome trip back through the years. White clearly has a fondness for the decade for with ‘To Sir, With Love’, she provides a lovely take on Lulu’s 1967 song that holds the curious distinction of being the only song ever that reached #1 in the USA, while not even charting on this side of the pond.
‘Nobody’s Side’ from Chess is another big female solo that White confidently masters. Perhaps on this track the backing singers could have been dispensed with, as they add a slightly clichéd air to the number.
White wraps up her collection with ‘How ‘Bout A Dance’, another Don Black composition (music by Frank Wildhorn) from the short-lived Broadway run of Bonnie &Clyde. It’s a little known bluesy number, that gives the singer a fabulous opportunity to play with and deliver the romantic irony that the lyrics suggest.
This is an enchanting if eclectic set of songs. Shona White confirms her reputation as one of today’s more finely voiced musical theatre actresses with a recording that is one of the most charming easy-listening collections to be found.