TRACK COMMENTARY by Ricky Comeaux
“Theme from Kiss of the Spider Woman” – Years ago, when “The Kiss of the Spider Woman” was first on Broadway, I heard Chita Rivera sing this title song on a talk show and it blew me away. I rushed out and bought the CD. When it came time to make a decision about the music to include on the album this is one I immediately thought of.”
“Carolina in the Morning” – This one dates back to 1922 and the Broadway musical revue The Passing Show, and has been sung by everyone from Bing Crosby and Dean Martin to Al Jolson. But for me, this song is all about paying tribute vocally to Judy Garland. While I was out grabbing collections of opera music, I also became a huge Judy fan and was floored by a clip of the performance of her singing it on her TV show.
“Tell me on a Sunday” – This is the title track to Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s one woman show from the 80’s, less known than his most famous musicals of the era, but still great. The show was called Song and Dance, with Bernadette Peters singing this tune. I never performed this song publically just knew I had to record it.
“Hallelujah” – My mother was and I believe, still is, my biggest fan, and I recorded this on the album in honor of her. I never sang this for an audience but because she loved it so much, I would sing it with a karaoke machine for her at home. It always frustrated her why I wouldn’t sing it in public. Just before she got sick, I rigged up a new PA system in my house and figured out a way to sing it there for my mom. It was all about making sense of it so that she could hear me sing it. I recorded some extra verses here that most singers don’t use, and I made sure that each time I sang ‘Hallelujah’ it is done differently. The album is dedicated to my mom. Also, this track features the Houston Boychoir, the only other vocalists on the album.
“It’s Over” – This song was recommended to me by Mark Holden, who is a big Roy Orbison fan. It fits my range perfectly. Besides the fact that it’s an incredible song that fits the spirit of the album, it reminds me of the time when I recorded Roy’s “Crying” with Atwood and Comeaux (also arranged and produced by Holden) and Roy’s wife Barbara reached out to let me know she loved it.
“I’ve Gotta Be Me” – This is another classic I used to sing and it was fun to revisit it. I love Mark’s arrangement and the way I was able to make it my own. Essentially, we needed some balance with an upbeat song and this is a perfect fit.
“Not While I’m Around” – This ballad from Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd” is one of my personal favorites. I am always very intimidated to sing it because it’s not a piece of cake, but I loved the opportunity to rise to the challenge. I’m also a fan of Barbra Streisand’s version.
“If I Ruled the World” – I am a huge Tony Bennett fan and it’s been a blessing to hear him sing it live three times. The only other singers that have impacted me this much are Dan Fogelberg, who inspired me to keep singing, and Mel Torme. With Barry’s help I performed it similarly to Tony, but in a higher key and with my bigger more stage type voice.
“If” – This great David Gates and Bread tune goes back to the first album my very first girlfriend in eighth grade bought for me that had this song on it. I never sang it on a regular basis but always loved doing it when I had the chance. Though I can’t say I ever aspired to sing a Bread song on an album, it really works well in the flow here.
“I, Don Quixote” – Basically the title song from the 1965 musical “Man of La Mancha,” it was the song I usually opened with after Jerry and I resurrected our act in 2005. It was a big showpiece live and I love the power it conveys here.
“Since I Fell For You” – I sang this a lot during our early years in Houston, and I wanted to have a song on the album that was closer to an R&B influence. The version Al Jarreau recorded with Bob James and David Sanborn remains a favorite.