||From the Vault...
"The Greatest Popular Pianist/The Artist's Choice"
© MCA Records
Year of Release: 1992
Those Were The Days
I Will Wait For You
The Windmills Of
Strangers In The Night
A Taste Of Honey
Talk To The Animals
Zorba The Greek
Gentle On My Mind
The Shadow Of
Time In A Bottle
(And You Alone)
New York New York
Cast Your Fate
To The Wind
On The Trail
(From Grand Canyon
The Impossible Dream
Softly As I Leave You
The Days Of
Wine And Roses
To Each His Own
The Way We Were
Never On Sunday
I Left My Heart In
Call Me Irresponsible
Bess You Is
My Woman Now
The Sound Of Music
Lara's Theme From
Roger Williams related sites:
"The Greatest Popular Pianist/The Artist's Choice"
Want to get away from it all? Roger Williams, a great pianist in his own
right, had a #1 hit in the early years of Rock 'n' Roll -- "Autumn Leaves."
Although I never heard of any other popular hits he had, it was obvious to look
for an album of his accomplishments. MCA Records released a 2-disc set,
The Greatest Popular Pianist/The Artist's Choice. A great title to
describe him, this compilation features very well-known songs, played by Williams
and a great full enriched orchestra. And reading the liner notes, it's amazing
that he had many hits in his heyday, with record executive Dave Kapp (Kapp
Records). His real name was Louis Weertz, but when Dave Kapp noticed his talent of
music, he changed Louis' name to Roger Williams, named after the man who
founded Rhode Island.
He writes an interesting paragraph, beginning the liner notes to this CD:
"I'm proud of this collection of songs. With over
one thousand of my recordings in the MCA catalog, these are some of my favorites
from the 'Golden Age Of American Music'. The first song says it all -- 'Those
Were The Days'.
To be honest, the second half of the collection is my
personal favorite. Over the years, singers have influenced me even more than
pianists. Frank and Ella, Nat and Barbra, Mel and Tony -- the list goes on.
When these people sing, they make you 'feel'. Playing with feeling is the
bottom line for me. Now there was a time when all you had to do to make a girl
'feel' was whisper 'sweet nothings' in her ear. Today, you have to scream,
shout, and add a few car crashes to get their attention. As for me, all I can
say is, I'm still whispering. I hope you're still listening!
to you always."
"Those Were The Days" has a jazzy style in a way, as this was one
song well remembered by many. (And no, it is NOT the song of the same title
sung by Archie and Edith Bunker on All In The Family.) The full
orchestration is impressive on many songs in this collection. "Alfie"
and "I Will Wait For You" combines great orchestration along with
Williams' piano playing.
"Hey Jude" is very different than the Beatles' version, as it is
more jazzy and upbeat. "Theme From The Godfather Part II" has great
orchestration and a nice Italian sound. (Although I have the first
Godfather soundtrack, it tempts me to pick up the II and III ones.)
"Windmills Of Your Mind" has great staccato piano playing here,
which compares easily to Rick Wakeman, yet the full orchestration also plays
a key role in this song too. "Strangers In The Night" is a great
Adult Listening/Jazz styled version by Williams'. "Rainy Days And Mondays"
this song originally popular by The Carpenters, is very impressive and has a
great romantic setting.
"A Taste Of Honey" is one of my favorite songs, as I love this
version by The Beatles and Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass. Williams' version
has a combination of both the Fab Four and Alpert's -- the main verses are as
smooth as The Beatles, and then it's catchy as Alpert's. "Talk To The
Animals" -- I don't remember this song as much, although I do remember
Gilda Radner's version on her comedy album. Williams' version here is fast
paced. Herb Alpert's original albums were recently reissued, and I noticed he
also did a version of this song. I have to see if his version is fast-paced as
well; not sure if this song was fast-paced originally. "Theme From Zorba
The Greek" is also fast-paced, as this song is most remembered for, being
"Gentle On My Mind" is a nice country-styled, as it was made famous
by Glen Campbell. It sounds a bit different than the Easy Listening style of
Williams, yet it is very nicely done.
"The Shadow Of Your Smile" is a great song for dinner date music,
as you pour another glass of wine for your date. "Time In A Bottle,"
the great Jim Croce song, is another good song for dinner music.
"Dominique" -- ok, this song probably isn't one of my favorites
(The Singing Nun's version), yet Williams version is good, it's not really one
of my favorite songs in general.
"Only You" -- most remember this song by The Platters, Williams'
version has a style of Ringo Starr's remake. "Theme From New York New York"
is just as good as Sinatra's; this one has a vocal chorus. "Cast Your Fate
To The Wind" has a more Jazz Fusion Rock approach, very impressive.
"On The Trail (from Grand Canyon Suite)" and "Cumana" are not
familiar tunes to me, but "On The Trail" fits the Easy Listening style,
and "Cumana" is another fast-paced song.
"Born Free" was another popular song, most notably by Andy Williams
(vocals). Roger Williams' version also has a vocal chorus. "The Impossible
Dream" is another one of my personal favorite Easy Listening tunes;
Williams' instrumental shines brightly, comparing to the vocal versions by the
likes of Perry Como, Jim Nabors and Elvis Presley.
Disc Two begins with "Softly As I Leave You" -- another beautiful
song, great dinner music/romantic setting. "The Days Of Wine And Roses"
is simply beautiful music, likewise "To Each His Own," and "The Way
We Were." (I'm beginning to see why Roger describes the second disc of this set
his favorite; every song so far is incredibly beautiful.)
Continuing in that fashion, The Beatles' "Yesterday" is just outright
beautiful and sensual. "Spanish Eyes" is just as great as Al Martino's;
love that Italian sound.
"Gigi" "Care for another glass of wine during your date?"
"Moon River" keeps the wine flowing, and getting ready for dessert.
"Tom Dooley" Uh oh, a somewhat distraction -- this one is kinda CORNY!
"Never On Sunday" -- another beautiful song, can we get back to
another glass of wine, after that brief distraction?
"I Left My Heart In San Francisco" -- ahh, love this one, I think
we're ready for dessert...
"Tumbling Tumbleweeds" this one is quite interesting... Deciding on
whether to have sprinkles or just syrup on that ice cream dessert...
"Call Me Irresponsible" -- Either way, the decision on that dessert
goes well with this song playing in the background...
"Amor" is kinda bouncy, a nice feeling as the dessert begins to
"People" a beautiful version of the Barbra Streisand song... Care to
share a slow dance to this one?
"Bess, You Is My Woman Now" is a good song by Williams, as another
version of this song was from the
Porgy & Bess CD, by Miles
It's nice music to keep the slow dancing by...
"The Sound Of Music" -- another truly great song, great background
music for the continuing conversation...
"Lara's Theme From Dr. Zhivago" -- another true favorite of mine,
as another version of this song was from
the Doctor Zhivago
Soundtrack. Ray Conniff may have had the popular version (I still have
yet to get it...) Roger Williams puts the Italian sound to it, very impressive.
"Near You" has a nostalgic big band sound, as in the 1947 #1 hit by
Francis Craig. It also has a touch of ragtime piano. And speaking of #1,
"Autumn Leaves" is on this collection. It would be Roger Williams' most
famous hit, being the ORIGINAL 1955 version.
"Till" is another beautiful song with a vocal chorus to listen to,
as that date is coming to a close...
"Almost Paradise" -- a nice song in the background, as you're
explaining how much of a good time you had on your date, and hoping for that
A wonderful collection of beautiful music, Roger Williams' piano and the
full-orchestra makes this 2-CD set a great smooth relaxer for the romantic
settings and date music. Or, it's just a nice CD to just sit and relax to.
Many songs will be recognized for those who have followed Easy Listening music.
This CD is a good runner up to the Classical CDs by Rick Wakeman, and Time-Life's
Piano By Candlelight. All in all, it's a great get away from the common
sounds of Rock, and today's current music.
© WSVNRadio.net. All rights reserved.
Review or any portion may not be reproduced
without written permission. Cover art is the
intellectual property of
and is used for reference purposes only.