Matt Monro – This Is the Life / Here’s to My Lady (1997)

Matt Monro - This Is the Life / Here's to My Lady (1997)
Artist: Matt Monro
Album: This Is the Life / Here’s to My Lady
Genre: Vocal Jazz / Easy Listening
Origin: UK
Released: 1997 (1966)
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
I’m Glad There Is You (2:42)
This Is the Life (2:20)
You’re Gonna Hear From Me (2:32)
I’ll Take Romance (2:07)
Strangers in the Night (2:28)
On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever) (1:50)
Sweet Lorraine (2:38)
My Best Girl (2:01)
On a Wonderful Day Like Today (2:03)
Merci Cherie (2:47)
Honey on the Vine (2:15)
When Joanna Loved Me (2:21)
Real Live Girl (2:08)
When Sunny Gets Blue (2:26)
Laura (2:26)
People (2:36)
Here’s to My Lady (2:37)
The Good Life (2:21)
You’ve Got Possibilities (2:05)
Rain Sometimes (2:06)
Sweet Talkin’ Hannah (2:04)
Nina Never Knew (2:10)


This EMI Gold two-fer assembles a pair of excellent mid-’60s efforts by the underrated crooner Matt Monro. This Is the Life pairs Monro with arranger Sid Feller for a collection of standards and ballads that incorporates elements of contemporary pop and jazz but never does so at the expense of its sophistication or hard-fought maturity. The cover — with Monro sandwiched between a pair of fabulous babes — sets the tone for the music inside: this is effervescent, celebratory pop for and by adults. Feller’s ripe arrangements beautifully complement the restrained drama of Monro’s vocals, and the songs — “Strangers in the Night,” “Sweet Lorraine,” and “Merci Cherie” among them — are perfectly calibrated to his almost effortless interpretive brilliance. Here’s to My Lady essentially replicates the winning formula of its predecessor, and why fix what isn’t broken? Reuniting Monro with Feller, the album is as mature and comfortable as the cardigan sweater the crooner wears on its cover — Monro’s vocals are smooth and rich like crushed velvet, tackling standards like “Laura,” “When Sunny Gets Blue,” and “When Joanna Loved Me” with a thoughtfulness that comes only with age and experience. Few crooners are so effortless yet so precise, and Feller’s lovely arrangements further enhance the elegance of Monro’s approach. When you’ve exhausted the Sinatra canon, this is where to go next.
Review by Jason Ankeny