Review: Dwight Townsend, Omega To Alpha
Dwight Townsend, Omega To Alpha
Dwight Townsend’s Omega To Alpha may not be the CD for the teenage crowd, but anyone that loves the music of the Rat Pack, or simply enjoys more classic tunes, will want to make this album part of their collection.
This is a very comprehensive album. It is two discs, totaling thirty six tracks, of standards that just about everyone has heard. The 79 year old singer, is bound to impress with his baritone that at times sounds much like Dean Martin, especially on the album’s opening track “Are You Havin’ Any Fun.” that was made famous by Tony Bennett.
He tackles popular show tunes like “Over The Rainbow” and “Send In The Clowns.” These two tracks stand out over the others on the first disc, though there isn’t a miss to be found anywhere among the selection on Omega To Alpha.
“Send In The Clowns” really stands out, because those that are familiar with Sondheim’s musical A Little Night Music, will be used to hearing it sung by a woman. Dwight does a bang up job with this slightly melancholy tune, filling it with just the right amount of longing.
“When I Fall In Love” is a song that most will be used to hearing sung by a tenor, such as Michael Crawford. Both voices are beyond compare, but imagine, Crawford’s is milk chocolate and Townsend’s is a deep rich dark chocolate.
Songs like “Lollipops and Roses” remind us how romantic things were, back in the day, when sex wasn’t the selling point of everything. The arrangement is elegant, and gives the song a grown up sound, even though the lyrics are innocent.
If any song on this album could be singled out as the best, it would have to be Nat King Cole’s masterpiece, “Unforgettable.” Dwight’s version is right up there with some of the best covers of this song, and that includes the cover done by Nat’s daughter, Natalie.
The second disc has some stellar songs, as well. “Smile” stands out over most. This song feels like it should be the most covered standard in the world. It has been recorded by the likes of Michael Jackson and Elvis Costello, to name but a few. Pop stars may add glitz to the song, but Dwight brings it back home.
Hearing Dwight tacked “The Glory Of Love” might have you longing for Bette Midler to join him, as she did this song so spectacularly for the soundtrack to Beaches. Dwight adds a playful spark to this song, which will have you singing along.
The songs on the second disc seem to be more playful. “I’ve Got Plenty of Nothin’” and “Its A Lovely Day Today” are two such tracks. These two songs are just plain fun.
No matter what song you chose to listen to on Omega To Alpha there is one thing you’ll notice about the music. It is simpler. The arrangements may be theatrical. Some might even call the arrangements posh, but the lyrics are more about love and boy meets girl, than anything you’ll hear on the radio today.
The truly impressive thing about this album isn’t the songs, or the fact that they are still relevant today, in all their innocent glory, but Dwight’s voice. It’s hard not to throw the age card out there, but at 79, he still sounds fantastic. “Are You Havin’ Any Fun” is the most recent recording on the record, and his voice couldn’t be better.
If any album could be labeled as perfect, Omega To Alpha would fit the bill. Dwight Townsend has the voice that brings these standards to life, not by putting a new twist to them, but by singing them in the way they were meant to be sung.
Put this album on, and jump in the “wayback machine” and enjoy the music from a much simpler time.
Review by Andrea Guy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars