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Swing When You're Winning
The concept of a 'Frank Sinatra for the MTV generation' is not exactly a new one, so why should young Mr Williams succeed where others have failed?
Phil Udell, 29 Nov 2001
Three words. Harry. Connick. Jnr. The concept of a ‘Frank Sinatra for the MTV generation’ is not exactly a new one, so why should young Mr Williams succeed where others have failed?
Well for a start, he has the ears of a large section of the world, who will inevitably rush out and buy two copies of Swing When You’re Winning – one for themselves and one for their parents. In marketing terms alone this is a masterstroke, an opportunity to tap into the market that has previously liked Williams’ cheeky persona but been put off by his rather raucous pop racket.
Odd then, that he opens the album with an original composition. Odder still, that ‘I Will Talk And Hollywood Will Listen’ proves to be one of the highlights, the perfect meeting of Williams’ precocious confidence and the orchestral sound that he currently craves.
When it falls, Swing When You’re Winning hits the ground hard. ‘Well Did You Evah!’, Duke Ellington’s ‘Do Nothing ‘Till You Hear From Me’, ‘Me And My Shadow’ (a duet with arch hanger-on Jonathon Wilkes), ‘Mac The Knife’ – all are excruciating.
The Sammy Davies number ‘Mr Bojangles’ suits Williams a lot better, as does the sweet Latin feel and lovely harmonies of ‘Something Stupid’. Only the brave or the foolhardy would attempt to carry off ‘One For My Baby’, particularly with the accompaniment of Sinatra’s own pianist, 84 year old Bill Miller. That he pulls it off probably says more about Williams’ ballsy attitude than anything else.
‘It Was A Very Good Year’, a posthumous duet with his inspiration, merely highlights the fundamental problem with Swing When You’re Winning – why you would get this album over Songs For Swingin’ Lovers, In The Wee Small Hours or indeed anything that Sinatra brought his magic touch to?