CD: Bruce Forsyth - These Are My Favourites | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Bruce Forsyth - These Are My Favourites
An unexpected Brucie bonus as the cheesy TV star delivers cheerful big-band frolics
There’s a curious misconception that pop music began with The Beatles, or possibly with mid-Fifties rock’n’roll. Bruce Forsyth was involved with musical entertainment long before that. At 14, during World War Two, he was on the road playing ukulele, accordion, singing and tap-dancing as Boy Bruce, The Mighty Atom. Most perceptions of him date from his years fronting cheesy Saturday-night TV, from The Generation Game to Strictly Come Dancing, but with his first album in three decades, at 83 years old, he has returned to his roots with a certain charm and style.
Forsyth has chosen old standards he enjoys and created a set harking back to the golden age of easy listening, when BBC Radio 2 was all Matt Munro and syrupy echoes of the swing era. Obviously, this was never a vibrant musical direction but in an age when Michael Bublé is regarded as faintly acceptable, and a mass of successful young pop artists record rubbish “Rat Pack” albums, why not embrace a singer who was there the first time round? Forsyth’s voice, with a few exceptions, is surprisingly rich and he has wisely gathered a crack team around him – Barbra Streisand arranger Chris Walden and a coterie of top London jazz players are all overseen by producer and jazz trumpet virtuoso James McMillan.
The album has an easy looseness that’s unexpected, with even the slow numbers bleeding pleasingly crafted nostalgia and a snifter of Henry Mancini/Nelson Riddle atmospherics rather than saccharine schmaltz. Technology is used to rejig a duet Forsyth did with Nat King Cole in 1959 at the London Palladium, but his own versions of “Young and Foolish”, “Night and Day” and “Let There Be Love” are ebullient good fun too. Clearly this is about as far from the cutting edge as is possible but for a Brit showbiz perennial in the twilight of an illustrious career, it’s a bit of a triumph.
Watch mini-doc promo on These Are My Favourites
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 7,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Fireworks, a festival, and a permanent display of Hungarian applied arts
Bad trips and altered time on compelling live psychedelic artefact from 1967
Fifth album finds Alabama sisters getting metaphysical
It's the most hyped gig of the year - but how good is it really?
Superficial tribute to one of pop’s great albums
New Orleans’ titan sits on his laurels in the company of Louis Armstrong
Electronic duo take us on a spaced out - but dynamic - analogue adventure
Engrossingly multi-faceted experimental pieces reveal an unexpected degree of lyrical charm
Saint Etienne’s Bob Stanley opens a window on Belgium’s open-minded dance scene
Dinosaur Jr. man gets introspective on solo outing
EDM maestros make a welcome but underwhelming return with their latest album
Drum & bass don returns with an album whose quality improves as it progresses