50 years sounds like a really long time to be in the same job, but that’s how long living legend Engelbert Humperdinck has been charming audiences with his sonorous voice. To commemorate this milestone “The Hump” released his new album, ‘The Man I Want To Be’, on Friday 24 November.
Comprising 14 songs, a mix of original tracks and covers, the album is a very pleasant surprise, with Engelbert’s voice as rich and powerful as it ever was. We’re particularly touched by his treatment of Ed Sheeran’s ‘Photograph’ – already a deeply moving song, Enge given it an almost country edge, and stripped it back to just his voice and some very light piano and strings. Dedicated to his wife of 53 years, Patricia Healey, who’s in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, the songs on the album have been chosen to reflect his love for her. Similarly, the arrangement on Bruno Mars’ ‘Just The Way You Are’ is distinctively Engelbert, with the tempo of the original taken down a notch and tenderly rendered as a ballad.
Other covers on the album are the gorgeous ‘Welcome To My World’ – complete with slide guitar – originally by Eddy Arnold; a fabulously jazz-infused rendition of Willie Nelson’s ‘Crazy’; and the classic, ‘On Broadway’, harking back to The Drifters’ version back in 1963, with added funk.
Special note must be made of his duet with 9 year old granddaughter Olivia, in the song, ‘I’m Glad I Danced With You’, written by his daughter Louise and dedicated to Patricia. The track is absolutely dripping with love, heartfelt and sincere. Olivia’s voice belies her tender years, and it’s clear this young girl has a great future ahead of her in music should she choose to follow that path.
Most of the new songs have been written with some of Engelbert’s life experiences in mind, drawing from them in a meaningful way. Title track, ‘The Man I Want To Be’, written by Jon Allen, is a stirring treatise from a man who’s looking back on his life and seeing things he’s regretted but even with finite time ahead of him (Humperdinck turned 81 this year) he knows there’s still room for change in his life, and he’s grateful to those who love him for who he is, regardless.
‘The Man I Want To Be’, by Engelbert Humperdinck, is out now on OK! Good Records. You can stream and download it from iTunes, Spotify, and Deezer, and stream, download and buy on audio CD from Amazon.