Keith England: At Last Now
At Last Now
Keith England (vocals)
Standards, New & Used (Swing Set Music/RCEG-CD1010)
Tony Dumas (bass), Ralph Penland (drums).
Composed by Mike Melvoin & Rich Hurwitz.
Recorded: Sausalito, CA, October 4-11, 2006
Rating: 74/100 (learn more)
Keith England's former life was as a rock-oriented singer whose working history included a stint with the Allman Brothers Band as a backup and occasional frontline singer. According to his bio, he was strongly influenced by the roughhouse blues-based vocalist Greg Allman. On this debut album, I confess to hearing none of that soul-wrenching delivery made famous by the "Eat a Peach" Georgia-reared Allman. Perhaps their Peach State pedigree is the only thread common to these two vocalists.
England's attempt at the blues or jazz standards doesn't have the deeply soulful delivery that I need to be to convinced of the pathos or subtlety that such songs are meant to convey. His voice has a pleasant but higher register sound and, combined with his delivery, seems in this humble writer's opinion better suited to a Broadway show. On composer/pianist Mike Melvoin's "At Last Now," one could see England walking around a stage confidently, hat in hand, as his voice croons these lyrics with conviction complemented by stage presence. Melvoin, who is no stranger to working with great vocalists (from Joe Williams to Peggy Lee), plays well, as does the rhythm section. Melvoin's compositions show why he is an in-demand arranger and pianist, and his work here is professional and tight. However, Keith England seems miscast as a jazz or blues singer. Despite a valiant effort, his performance is competent but for me uninspired.
Reviewer: Ralph A. Miriello