Artist Gary WilliamsTitle Alone Together Label Vocalion CDSA6809
Gary Williams (vocal) with the John Wilson Orchestra recorded June & August 2004
Although not a household name Gary Williams has certainly paid his dues. He became the regular singer with th BBC Big Band and has also sung and recorded with the Syd Lawrence Orchestra. He has toured the UK with a number of shows including, The Magic of Bacharach, The Les Dennis Laughter Show, Swingin' on Broadway and The Legend of Sinatra. He is currently playing the role of Frank Sinatra in The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas which opened in the West End of London and is now touring with the show in Europe. He has a close working relationship with conductor and arranger John Wilson and he is with John Wilson on this album.
For this album Gary Wilson has chosen a programme of quality standards but apart from "My Buddy" and "The End of a Love Affair" nothing too adventurous but he does tend to include the verses to the songs. He has a very pleasant singing voice but doesn't appear to have any personal characteristics to distinguish him from many other singers. The orchestra and arrangements by John Wilson are first rate and provide a very nice setting.
It has taken me many years to be able to listen to "I Remember You" without hearing the awful Frank Ifield version in the background, but this reading by Gary Williams certainly helps, complete with verse and some lovely trombone by Andy Wood. I liked the slowed down version of "If I Had You" which has Gary Williams voice floating on a bed of strings plus some moody tenor playing by Luke Annesley. John Wilson's arrangement for Cole Porter's "You're Sensational" is inspired full of strings and woodwinds and provides the perfect accompaniment for Gary Williams' pleasant vocal. Gary's reading of Alec Wilder's "I'll Be Around" is probably the best I have heard since Sinatra's version on his "Wee Small Hours" album and the beautiful alto playing is the icing on the cake. Gary Williams' reading of the verse of "The End of a Love Affair" really sets the song up and he sings it at just the right tempo. The album closes with the title track by Howard Dietz and Arthur Sshwartz, "Alone Together" which builds to a dramatic conclusion.
The more I play this album the more I appreciate it, Gary Williams' singing has a quality which makes you feel relaxed and some of John Wilson's arrangements are nothing short of brilliant. If you enjoy quality singing and good arrangements this may well be the album for you, it will save you buying those relaxation tapes.
Reviewed by Roy Booth