Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King
Issue 356 – October 2017
(CD) John Kyffin – Time For Romance
Running Time 53 minutes – Price £7.95
The first CD we stocked from John Kyffin was back in 2011, although he was recording material back in the mid-noughties. That first CD was called “A French Connection” and this one has gone back to the simple setup of that release with pretty much everything played on a Yamaha Tyros 2. John’s Wersi Helios and Spectra have both been switched off for this recording (which is probably good for the environment, not to mention John’s electricity bill) and we are left with the nice clean orchestral sounds of the Yamaha.
John has only made a few Tyros-only CDs, most notably his two ‘Slightly Chilled’ volumes and his tribute to James Last where a more orchestral sound was called for. There have been a few more which have been ‘peppered’ with a Wersi (or two) and others which have just used the Tyros 2 for the drums, bass and rhythm guitar with the organs taking on all of the lead sounds. This does give more of a variety to John’s work and considering this is his thirtieth CD (all of which are still available), that’s probably a good thing… if you don’t like the big organ sound, then you may enjoy his more gentler ones of this ilk.
The title is self-explanatory, being aimed to hit you straight between the ventricles and get you all lovey dovey. The song selection is what you would expect from an album of love songs, with a few exceptions, as there are some lesser-known tunes and some that aren’t really love songs, but just good-old ballads. The tracks are also in the rough sequence of ‘love and loss’ with falling in love at the start (“Quando, Quando, Quando” and “Love Changes Everything”) and the breakups at the end (“You Needed Me” and “The Way We Were”).
Now onto the recording and (in the main) these are not your usual arrangements, they are all a bit classier than that. Even the ones you’d think would have the usual arrangements have just been tweaked or have a different approach, especially on the intros, like “Love Changes Everything” which you probably won’t guess until the verse starts. However, another track, “Only Love” is instantly recognisable from the intro, with a lovely piano and strings arrangement.
The Yazoo/Flying Pickets track “Only You” is a great song and the temptation would be to use the vocal acapella-type sounds of the Tyros, but no, here we have an oboe lead with piano and staccato strings backing with a lovely meandering bass line. The chorus is lovely too, all wrapped up with strings.
The intro to “If” doesn’t sound like the standard one you’ve heard a million times before and the same goes for “Love Changes Everything”. “I Won’t Last A Day Without You” has been latin-ified with another freestyle bass line, whereas “Quando, Quando, Quando” has been DE-latinified with a saxy lead and brass/flute backing, they are just that little bit different to the norm.
Kool and the Gang’s “Cherish” is almost unrecognisable until you get into the chorus. It starts with pizzicato strings and harp glissandos and then you have a lovely Spanish guitar lead for the verse.
Now we have three of the best songs ever written with the first two having the shortest titles ever… “She” has a beautiful arrangement with the melody the same as ever, but it’s backed up with some wonderful piano chords. Another stunning song follows with “If” with a lovely harmonica lead and strings. This is followed by one of my all-time favourites, Michel Legrand’s “The Windmills Of Your Mind,” although I’m not sure if this is classed as a love song or not, but does fit in nicely.
Interestingly, while this is a Yamaha only recording, there is the first credit I have ever seen for a iPad on a keyboard CD. These tablets are getting more impressive for musicians nowadays and you could probably produce a whole CD on one of them now, if you wanted to do that kind of thing.
This really is a stunning album and one of John’s best. The sleeve says that he recorded around thirty tunes before whittling them down to the final fourteen. I have a feeling that the other sixteen that got away were pretty good too.
If you want to hear tracks from this one, then you should check out our website to get a feel for the CD.
FULL TRACKS: My Special Angel • Quando, Quando, Quando • Love Changes Everything • Only Love • Only You • I Won’t Last A Day Without You • My Love • Cherish • She • If • The Windmills Of Your Mind • You Needed Me • You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away • The Way We Were • The Rosemary And Thyme Caprice (Bonus Track).
Latest from John Kyffin
Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.