CD Jazz & Easy Review

MATT MONRO: A Portrait of a Man

Title: Complete 1960-62 Recordings

Label: FM

In timeline terms, when the music on this CD begins, Monro had already been forging a career for around five years or so. Largely since he was signed by Decca and had released the LP, Blue and Sentimental in 1957. After that, Monro launched into comedy and never looked back. Odd to muse upon that, isn’t it? But it was Monro’s ‘straight’ singing for the George Martin-produced Songs For Swingin’ Sellers via, of course, Peter Sellers, that directly lead to a contract offer from Parlophone for Monro. It was that contract that resulted in the release of the No.3 chart hit, Portrait of my Love, the first track on this new 2CD collection, followed by his first transatlantic hit, My Kind of Girl: also seen on this collection.

This CD pack is quite a comprehensive selection of Monro’s output over those two busy years. For example, both the albums Love is the Same Anywhere and My Kind of Girl are here including the singles around that period while the superbly produced album, Monro Sings Hoagy Carmichael is also included. As a bonus cut, you also get that earlier Decca album, Blue and Sentimental to add more value for money.

I was happy to listen to this CD. Monro’s vocal output is suitably smooth but the mastering aids his delivery and never fights his performance, giving him a relative open and airy midrange as support while admirable instrumental separation meant that accompanying sounds, such as a gently strumming guitar, added recognisable and easily flowing layers of sonic goodies to the final mix.

This CD is distributed via Discovery Records (www.discovery-records.com) that’s also released Teen Sensation™ Bobby Rydell’s All The Hits (1959), Bobby Rydell And Chubby Checker (1960, Hoodoo) on one CD, Lonnie Donegan’s Lonnie (1958) plus Showcase (1956) on a single CD (Hoodoo).

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