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I bought this CD to send to my brother in Canada as he is very patriotic and thought he would love it for Christmas. I bought 2 copies, one for myself as well and have just listened to it. I thought some of the tracks did not even sound like Russell Watson and his voice did not seem as strong as normal. The tracks seemed 2nd class and not to even have a vocal rendition of the National Anthem, just a musical version was also a disappointment. I have other Russell Watson CD's and this is really not up to his usual standard.
I have purchased all Russell Watson's albums and this is by far the worst. The voice is muted here - the majority of the songs are sung with a very average bland pop voice, the only one that does him full credit is World in Union where he gives full range to his wonderful voice.
Several of the songs have bizarre interludes or openings. Abide With Me is divided by a musical version of Greensleeves and We Are The Champions has a very strange beginning. Land of Hope and Glory is a very poor recording quality wise - it crackles at the beginning. I found the Nimrod track awful - cheap filler reading a poem and God Save the Queen was an instrumental version - vey short in duration.
Overall a cheap and cynical way to cash in on the Queen's Jubilee.
I hope Russell Watson next album returns to his earlier roots.
For a genre that demands a forceful presence, this album sadly disappoints. It may be the miking but Watson is almost a background addition to the songs (indeed when songs are sung, e.g., in the last track, "God Save the Queen" there's no singing!). It just seems that Watson isn't up to it.
I really wanted to like this, as I have several of his CD's that I do love, but this one didn't make it for me. I put it away the first time I played it, but decided I might not have been in the right mood, so after a few months, I gave it another and last try. The intros and intervals were thin and interminable. It reminded me of sitting in church and watching the clock waiting for it to end. Perhaps I just wasn't familiar enough with some of the selections; yet, my favorites were there: Danny Boy, for example was backed by a plinky plunk piano; The chorus background didn't go well with his vocal. The arrangements reminded me of the 40's and the Andrew Sisters backup. I did like the bagpipes on Flower of Scotland, and enjoyed the lyrical reading of the poetry, Nimrod. I thought Swing Low needed more depth, and overall, I wasn't inspired. But then, it was made for the Brits, so my opinion shouldn't matter anyway. And as I said, I LOVE his other music.
I understand Russell Watson has had some difficulties lately, but that doesn't explain this disappointing album. First and foremost, the music is positively insipid, lacking any intensity or variety. Whoever orchestrated this was a dismal failure. Secondly, The Voice. Why did Watson choose these anthems? Two of them are sung in the lower range of his voice, and he sounds a bit like Jim Nabors...very nasal. More are sung at the higher end of the tenor range, and he sounds like Rod Stewart, which isn't necessarily bad, but definitely raspy. However, two other songs in the mid-range hint of The Voice I know and love. To me, this proves his voice has not been so badly damaged that he can't deliver a top-notch performance. And why did he pick some of these songs? I love We Are the Champions, but that song is *owned* by Queen, and a single voice (with the horrid music) just can't cut it. And Swing Low, Sweet Chariot? I know it's traditionally a black hymn, but did Russell really need to sing it so damn low? Other songs, including my favorite, World in Union, are adequate but still destroyed by the bad musical arrangements. I won't be playing this album again in its entirety, although I may transfer a few tracks to a mix. Will I buy another album? Of course...this one hints that the greatness is still there, and I'm eager to give Russell Watson another chance!