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Ben Stock: And There Was Music - Music review


Artist: Ben Stock
Label: SimG Records
RRP: £9.99
Release Date: 01 June 2015

It’s getting quite hard to remember the time when we didn’t have all of the music we could ever want, at our finger tips. As well as reviewing CDs, I’m also an avid collector as you may already know, and my early collecting days used to centre around a shop in London called Dress Circle. CDs had just started to become available, and this was about the only shop in the UK where you could buy vocalist and Theatre-related recordings. There was no internet, and certainly no music streaming available. CDs were quite expensive, and most of them were imported from the US.

So, where am I going with this, when I’m supposed to be reviewing a CD? Back in those days, you had to be selective. You bought the CD, and you were stuck with it - you couldn’t offload it on eBay or Amazon Marketplace if you got it home and decided it wasn’t what you wanted. When I look at my collection now, it’s amazing how many of those original purchases I made are still some of my favourite recordings. And it’s not very often these days I get a recording that makes me think - wow, I’m glad I got this. Not because there haven’t been some great releases over the years, that I love to listen to, but I think because we are used to the vast availability now, that we just take it all for granted.

SimG’s latest release, Ben Stock’s And There Was Music, is truly one of those that’s made me say "This is something I will treasure".

This is the debut album from Stock, and the 11 track album reflects the music that has influenced his life and career so far; with music by Jerry Herman, Noel Coward, Tom Lehrer, Meredith Wilson, Cole Porter, Craig Carnelia and Amanda McBroom amongst others. Ben Stock's own career has included roles in major productions such as Beauty & the Beast, Grease, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Joseph, and recent leading regional roles in Hello Dolly and The Glenn Miller Story, as well as an annual jaunt in major pantomimes. Ben is also a regular Music Hall performer and has appeared with the Players Theatre, The Hiss and Boo Theatre Company and The Paper Moon Theatre Company in London and around the country. An acclaimed musical director, Stock plays and arranges his own material.

In 2010 Stock accompanied Caroline Sheen on her debut album Raise The Curtain, which is a ‘terrific’ showcase of work by leading contemporary British and American musical theatre writers (also produced by SimG Records).

From the first listen, this album captures you. There’s no big orchestras, no grand productions. Just a guy and a piano, and a CD packed with quality music. I can’t fault any choice of song on here - indeed there’s some of my favourite numbers of all time featured along side some very funny patter and music hall songs. Peter Allen’s excellent ‘Love Don’t Need a Reason’ is a standout, as is Craig Carnelia’s ‘You Can Have The TV’, paired with the Bergman’s 'Where Do You Start' into a delicious medley. I’m always pleased to see a Friedman track on any album, and whilst it’s the pretty standard ‘We Live On Borrowed Time’, it’s delivered so well, and makes a fitting ending to the album. These tracks, along side such comic gems as 'The Tattooed Lady' and 'Mrs Worthington' make the album a very rewarding and well balanced listen.

If you only buy one vocalist album this year, buy this one.


Ian Gude