The British multi award-winning singer, actor, and entertainer Richard Shelton will release the new album An Englishman in Love in LA 22nd April. Featuring five original songs, three pop classics and eight celebrated jazz standards, An Englishman in Love in LA is an extensive body of work inspired by Shelton’s decision to begin a new life in Los Angeles.
Shelton’s work is undoubtedly influenced by Frank Sinatra, with whom he has an uncanny dramatic relationship, having portrayed the icon on stages across the world in the critically acclaimed productions Rat Pack Confidential in London’s West End, Sinatra & Me and more recently, Sinatra RAW.
We were aiming for a sound which sits in the canon of standards and classics, think a Sinatra/Harry Connick Jr. vibe, but it’s essential to create your own voice, to put your own stamp on the songs. I approach each song as an actor telling the story – from the beginning to the middle and the end. Our homage to Sinatra’s splendid ‘Young at Heart’ and ‘One for My Baby’ are a courteous tip of the hat to the great master.Richard Shelton
So, what do we get over this sixteen-track album from a man influenced by Frank Sinatra? We get great vocals and musicianship from Richard himself and the musicians who play on the album. We get a very heavy dose of nostalgia for a bygone age of Rat Pack style entertainment. We also get interpretations of jazz standards and pop songs with a few original compositions thrown in, some of which, for me, work better than others.
I will not break down all sixteen tracks, but I will say that, generally speaking, where the tempo is picked up the better the tune comes across. Having said that, ‘And I Love Her’, by Lennon and McCartney, for me does not work but the retelling of the Tom Jones hit, ‘It’s Not Unusual’, works very well and both are played and sung as ballads. I really enjoyed ‘Sinatra and Me’ (upbeat Sintraesque) but was less enamoured with ‘Pure Imagination’ (too saccharine for my taste) and that for me is part of the problem I have with this album: too hit and miss.
I very much enjoyed Richard’s voice, his phrasing and timing is impeccable, and I very much appreciated how the musical backing did not, at any point, overpower the vocals. I know people who will love this album because of the style in which it is put across – and this album oozes style – but for me it is a nostalgia trip too far. The album could have been trimmed by around fifteen minutes and been more impactful for having been so.
There is no doubt as to why Richard Shelton’s charm as a velvet-toned singer and consummate entertainer have led him to being asked twice to perform at Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball, alongside Dame Shirley Bassey and Sir Tom Jones. I can also fully understand why he has performed for HRH Prince Charles at Windsor Castle and sung with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, The BBC Concert Orchestra and BBC Big Band on Radio 2’s flagship show ‘Friday Night Is Music Night’. I also get why he has graced the stage at London’s Coliseum and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, as well as Vibrato, Vitello and Catalina jazz clubs in LA, winning widespread critical acclaim from some of America’s most discerning and respected critics.
Richard Shelton is a through and through entertainer with a strong voice he knows how to use and is backed musicians who know how to play for his vocal style, and if the musical styling associated with the Rat Pack is what you are looking for then this is, without doubt, an album for you!
Tracklist: 1. Lost and Found. 2. My Kind of Girl. 3. And I Love Her. 4. Sinatra and Me. 5. It’s Not Unusual. 6. The Touch of Your Lips. 7. Where or When. 8. She Loves Me. 9. My Thoughts Return to You. 10. An Englishman in Love in LA. 11. For Your Lover Give Some Time. 12. Young at Heart. 13. Smile. 14. Pure Imagination. 15. Over Like the Roses. 16. One for My Baby (And One More for the Road).
Produced by Richard Shelton, Sean Hargreaves, Alex Frank.
Engineered and mixed by Steve Genewick, Capitol Studios, Los Angeles
Mastered by Eric Boulanger, The Bakery, Los Angeles