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Music Review

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Because of You


Artist: Richard Woodford
Label: SimG Records
RRP: £9.99
Release Date: 14 December 2015

I’ve been looking back over my reviews from this year, and trying to work out what it is I look for in a recording. Certainly originality, but also quality, and a product that will stand the test of time. It’s always a pleasure to receive a new release from SimG Records, because you know that it’s going to be all of those and more.

Because Of You is the debut album from West End actor/singer Richard Woodford featuring a glorious collection of musical theatre hits that celebrate his 20 year career.

Nope, I hadn’t heard of him either surprisingly, despite his long and varied career. He’s one of those unsung heroes (up until now) who are the mainstay of British musical theatre. And this experience shows in this recording. Its a great programme - a mix of the traditional and the not-so.

This 12 track album includes well known songs from Phantom, Starlight Express, Saturday Night Fever, Les Miserables and many more, with new arrangements by Lee Ormsby and Michael Webborn, musical supervision by Sarah de Tute, and features guest vocalists Sabrina Aloueche, Amanda Coutts, Alice Fearn, Mark McGee, Helen Power and Lauren James Ray.

It’s always good to hear some not-often-performed numbers, so it’s great that Richard kicked off with one of the strongest numbers from a so-so musical Shrek. This was one of the highlights for me on this album, and I hope it’s a number singers will look to include more as the years go by. Quite a few ‘standards’ follow, which despite been (too) well used over the years, I don’t think I’ve heard much better than here. ‘Angels’ from Whistle Down The Wind is another winner here, and again, not one you hear often.

One of my favourite musicals of all time is Starlight Express, so I was pleased to see the title song included here, and looked forward to hearing it. It was my first West End experience back in the '80s (the original production), and has always been a score I have loved. I was disappointed to discover it was sung in German, and whilst the performance and arrangement were great, it lost a lot ‘in translation’ (or, the lack of it) for me.

My final highlight on this extremely enjoyable CD was Jason Robert Brown’s glorious 'The New World' from Songs For A New World, in which Richard is joined by Alice, Amanda and Mark. This is certainly the strongest track on the CD, and it would be good to hear more of this cast doing more from this show.

The CD packaging, artwork and production are, of course, excellent and the overall album is one that Richard and SimG should be very proud.

Richard has dedicated this CD to his father, who passed away in 2007, and he signs off his thank you’s with "Thanks Dad, I Did It". You certainly did Richard.


Ian Gude