278

Mark Moraghan: Moonlight's Back In Style

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Mark Moraghan: Moonlight's Back In Style Moonlight's Back In Style is a swing album. In fact, according to songwriter Nicky Campbell's liner notes, it's a New Swing album—songs in a classic style but rooted in contemporary experience. Whether this recording heralds a new musical genre or not it's an easygoing and likeable set of songs. Old swing fans should find plenty to enjoy.

The genesis of this album warrants some explanation. Mark Moraghan is an actor, well-known in Britain for his work on top television series including Brookside and Holby City. In 2006 he entered BBC television's celebrity singing competition, Just The Two Of Us, partnered with Natasha Hamilton from girl group "Girls Aloud," and they came second. Songwriter Nicky Campbell has been "making up songs" since the age of 11—he came to fame in Britain as a DJ and presenter. The two met during Just The Two Of Us, became friends and started to develop their ideas for songs based on a mutual love of swing.

This is Monaghan's first album as a singer and Campbell's first as a songwriter [Moraghan gains two co-writing credits]. Musically most of the songs are firmly in the swing tradition and Campbell has the ability to create melodies that fit readily into the style. Moraghan's voice is warm and engaging—it's not the most powerful of voices but he avoids the mistake of trying to appear "transatlantic" and so he presents an authentic and honest sound. The band, with arrangements by pianist Paul Buck, are excellent throughout and do much to ensure the songs' authenticity. None of the songs last more than four minutes, emphasizing the centrality of the vocal performances and ensemble playing. On the down side the faux-country style of "Many's the Time" and "The Birds are Singing Your Name Again" fails to convince.

Part of Campbell and Moraghan's New Swing concept involves lyrics that reflect their own experiences. In songs like "Love Ran Out of Time" the simple but effective lyrics have a universality to them. On other tracks there are references—for example, to satellite navigation, Brooklyn Beckham [son of football superstar David] and DVDs—that may struggle to stand the test of time. In the main, though, the songs tell familiar stories of love, requited or unrequited. "We'll Never Have Manhattan" has the best lines, wittily comparing the less salubrious parts of London with the glamour of New York, and guest vocalist Margo Buchanan works well with Moraghan in creating an atmospheric centerpiece for the album.

Track Listing: Come for the Ride; A Blast From the Past; Moonlight's Back in Style; Angel Don't Cry; We'll Never Have Manhattan; Many's The Time; I'll Make an Exception for You; Through it All; I Got My Hat, I Got My Shoes; Love Ran Out of Time; The Birds are Singing Your Name Again; This Universe of Blue; Wonderfully Wonderful You; You Make This Whole Crazy Story Worthwhile.

Personnel: Mark Moraghan: vocals; Ben Thomas: trumpet; Kevin Harcourt: trumpet; Nick Atwood: trombone; Pete Tantrum: saxophones; Paul Buck: piano and arranger; Steven Sproat: ukulele [8, 11]; Nicky Campbell: acoustic guitar [6] backing vocals [6, 7, 8, 11, 13]; Maurice Hipkiss: fiddle, pedal steel guitar [6, 11]; Mark Howell: bass; Sam Brown: drums; Clive Miller: drums [8]; Margo Buchanan: vocals [2, 5, 6]; Gill Edmonds: backing vocals [11, 13].

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Linn Records | Style: Dixieland/New Orleans/Swing


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Welcome to Swingsville! CD/LP/Track Review Welcome to Swingsville!
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Points of View CD/LP/Track Review Points of View
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Migration Blues CD/LP/Track Review Migration Blues
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Recent Developments CD/LP/Track Review Recent Developments
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 26, 2017
Read N.O. Escape CD/LP/Track Review N.O. Escape
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2017
Read Reflections CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 25, 2017
Read "This Is Nate Najar" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Elegy" CD/LP/Track Review Elegy
by John Kelman
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "Spin Cycle" CD/LP/Track Review Spin Cycle
by Mark Corroto
Published: May 13, 2016
Read "Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)" CD/LP/Track Review Goodbye Red Rose (2008/9)
by John Eyles
Published: October 16, 2016
Read "Heavy Dance" CD/LP/Track Review Heavy Dance
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "Danse" CD/LP/Track Review Danse
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 7, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: DOT TIME RECORDS | BUT IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!