Donny & Marie Osmond – Donny & Marie (CD Review)
1. A Beautiful Life 2. Vegas Love 3.I Know This Much Is True 4. You Can Do Anything
5. I Have You To Thank 6. My Reflection 7. The Good Life 8. The Best of Me 9. I Can’t Wait
10. Touch 11. One Last Goodbye 12. Better Off Blue 13. I Swear 14. We Will Find a Way
15. Candle in the Rain 16. Tell Me to Breathe
Release Date – May 3, 2011
UPC – 602527194028
Time – 62:17
Label – MPCA
It certainly feels strange to be reviewing this album. Back in the 70’s as a young teenager it felt cool to be following the prog-rock bands and the West Coast music scene whereas others in class were into glam rock bands like Slade, and The Bay City Rollers with the girls going crazy for David Cassidy and The Osmond’s. Fast forward 4 decades, progressive music faded away, The Osmond’s are still touring and pop evergreen siblings Donny & Marie Osmond are still making records – I think for them that spells success!
This 16-track collection is in fact a re-package of an album that came out in 2010 and its cover showed what a stunning looking lady Marie is – she has got younger! She is no stranger to country music though Donny has said “I’ve always been a little bit country”. Well with the genre morphing into pop circles this project does not therefore feel out of place.
Finally after 30-years they have released their first joint studio album and Donny’s 59th of his career. DONNY & MARIE was recorded in Nashville and produced by the legendary Buddy Cannon. The process of picking songs and cutting tracks took some time to complete with the brother and sisters busy commitments. They were meant to play Vegas for six weeks and they have been resident at the Flamingo Las Vegas for 4-years now with their 90-minute extravaganza.
A look at the writing credits reveals Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Carole King, Babyface Edmonds, Carole Bayer Sager, Richard Marx and David Foster. Gary Baker (Alabama, Backstreet Boys, John Michael Montgomery) co-writes on 5 numbers and other recognisable country writers who contribute include Walt Aldridge, Stephanie Bentley and Susan Longacre. Some of music rows noteworthy musicians make an appearance too with Buddy Cannon himself (guitar, acoustic), Melonie Cannon (background vocals), Sonny Garrish (guitar, steel) and Dan Tyminski (mandolin).
The sun is till shining and the world is still turning on the energetic ‘A Beautiful Life’ with its feel-good and positive overtones. As you would expect their vocals perfectly compliment one another as they sing: It’s a beautiful life with you here beside me / I know I can count on you to guide me.
With a nod to the renowned gambling city ‘Vegas Love’ is a gritty country-tinged affair. They alternate on the verses and then combine. With a full MMississippi moon and Elvis playing in the car, a romantic couple head for the bright lights. They question whether with the roll of a dice or the spin of a wheel is the time now right to get off the fence, go wild, and tie that matrimonial knot? After the fire and rain love remains unbreakable and true on the breezy ‘I Know This Much Is True’.
Marie showcases her vocal on the succulent ‘You Can Do Anything’ that has exquisite and comforting harmonies. ‘I Have You To Thank’ which features Donny on lead, lacks any country credibility and its lyrics are somewhat cheesy, weak and contrived.
Marie takes over on the sensitive, classy acoustic ‘My Reflection’ and gives a stellar performance. Co-written by Buddy Cannon’s daughter Marla Cannon-Goodman its words are soothing and mirrors what another see’s underneath the imperfections. It’s a life lesson in that we concern ourselves to much worrying about what others may think, rather than being happy for who we.
‘The Good Life’, released as a single is most definitely a true country song. It’s full of optimism, despite up’s and downs, happiness is not always about the money: “Sometimes the rich ain’t wealthy and the poor ain’t broke” but the more simple things: “If you’ve got love, you’re living the good life “.
On the smoochy love song ‘The Best of Me’ it has a feel reminiscent of Vanessa Williams ‘Save The Best Till Last’ and the upbeat but rather lightweight ‘I Can’t Wait’ has a 1980’s vibe.
In contrast ‘Touch’ has depth and is full of feeling. Were observing people in a waiting room, some can have vacant looks, keep their heads down and don’t care whilst others touch many life’s. Each story differs but love and a beating heart connects us all.
With its Bowie “Jean Genie” hooks ‘Better Off Blue’ is a great country toe tapper. When loves gone astray a bunch of flowers provides no quick fix from a cheating lover. She’s “better off blue for a couple of nights” and not resting on her laurels is ready to find somebody new!
On the John Michael Montgomery smash ‘I Swear’ the vocals are competent but as a sibling duet number this lacks believability and conviction. By the jazzy ‘We Will Find a Way’ with the albums lengthy time my attention and the momentum is beginning to wane a little and its closing piano licks sound somewhat familiar.
This is followed by two strong ballads. On ‘Candle in the Rain’ a heart is lost in yesterday but a heart will still burn a flame and Marie takes the lead on ‘Tell Me to Breathe’ where hope may have vanished but with a belief, fear can be overcome for a brighter tomorrow.
Diehard Donny & Marie fans should feel comfortable with this laid-back, slick and uplifting collection though the country lovers may have long harder for the standouts.