Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Review by Ian King
Issue 344 – July / August 2016
(CD) Steve Hubble – My Music: Part Two
Running Time 69 minutes – Price £9.95
Back in 2014 I reviewed ‘My Music: Part One’ with the booklet mentioning that the sequel would be available in 2015. Well, it’s had a bit of a delay, but it has finally arrived.
Part one was released to celebrate Steve’s thirty years in the music business and featured his favourite songs during that time. As there were too many for one CD the follow-up would complete the selection but that’s not to say these are the ‘leftovers’, as they are just as impressive and the CD is seven minutes longer, so you get even more for your money.
I was very keen on his last release and the one before that, “The Second Time Around” in 2012, in fact I remember saying they were serious contenders for our ‘CD of the year’ (not that were were doing one, but if we did…). As it’s following on, the keyboard setup is the same; a Yamaha Tyros 3, a Hammond XPK-100 (bass pedalboard) and M-Audio 61-ES (a silent controller keyboard). These three items make up his Tyros 3 MIDI System, but all the sounds come from the T3. The whole CD has a lovely feel with a mixture of soft melodies, orchestral power-houses and big band tracks.
The CD opens with an impressive Overture from the musical Gypsy (which starts with “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”). Keeping up the quality comes a full-on big-band version of “Come Fly With Me” with sax and clarinet leads.
“One Brief Summer” next from the 1971 film and made famous by Walter Navarro. I didn’t know this one, but it certainly sounds like a movie theme with a piano and orchestral arrangement. A Joe Loss instrumental next, “Poppa Yo Quero” and having dug up his version on YouTube, I have to say I think Steve’s version sounds better.
“Some Good Things Never Last” was made popular by Barry Manilow and Barbra Streisand, although I think Barbra’s version wins it by a nose. This is a lovely piece which seems to follow the Streisand arrangement.
A little Strauss next with a fantastic version of “The Blue Danube”, followed by Acker Bilk’s “Stranger on the Shore”. Next we have a fabulous version of Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke” and the first time we hear the Hammond organ sound of the Tyros 3 taking the lead with the brass and bass melody as per the original. Funnily enough, I mentioned “Benedictus” last issue with Penny Weedon’s new CD, saying it was the first time I had heard it on a keyboard CD. Well, just like busses, we have another super arrangement.
One of my favourite Carpenter’s tracks next and the beautiful “This Masquerade”. We are treated to a lovely organ lead on this one too (with some nice use of the Leslie effect) and the piano solo. Talking of a piano, we have a solo piano opening to the classic “Misty” with ultra-realistic saxophone and trumpet leads. This shows Steve’s skills as a pianist.
Now we come to the best part of the CD (and that’s saying something) as we have a stunning near-nineteen minute medley from “Phantom of the Opera” which follows on from the brilliant Les Misérables medley on part one (although that was only a mere ten minutes). The organ gets a chance to shine in the opening, although this one is a full pipe organ. Make sure you have your finger on the volume control for the start of this one, or risk damaging your speakers as it’s ‘all about that bass’ in the “Overture”. Other classic Phantom tracks follow including; “Think of Me”, “Angel of Music”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “The Music of the Night”, “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” and “All I Ask of You” and all are beautifully performed and arranged. There are a couple of the more obscure tracks from the musical in here too, but unfortunately Steve didn’t list the individual tracks which is a shame.
We have a little swing to finish and the classic big-band track, “New York, New York” which rounds the CD perfectly.
This is a fabulous CD and I can understand why it took a little longer than advertised to hit the shelves as there is a hell of a lot of work gone into the arrangements, multi-tracking and recording. The result is faultless (as per other two CDs) and could well be a contender for our CD of the year (although we still don’t have one).
FULL TRACKS: Gypsy Overture • Come Fly With Me • One Brief Summer • Poppa Yo Quero • Some Good Things Never Last • The Blue Danube • Stranger on the Shore • Sir Duke • Benedictus (From The Armed Man) • This Masquerade • Misty • Phantom of the Opera Selection • New York, New York.Buy/More Info
Review by Ian King from Organ and Keyboard Cavalcade Magazine.