Engelbert Humperdinck - Reflections

by Morley Seaver

It's great to win the race but more satisfying to win the marathon. That's true in all walks of life but especially so in the superficial here-today / gone-tomorrow world of entertainment. To prove this point, Engelbert Humperdinck recently celebrated 50 years in showbiz and has maintained a massive audience every step of the way. The King of Romance, one of the greatest voices in contemporary music, shows no sign of slowing down with the release of his new EP, Reflections.

The five-song record is courtesy of an artist who continues to value substance over flash. There are no throw-away cuts nor hokey gimmicks. Four of the five tug at the heart-strings aided by Enge's rich bartione that never fails to evoke emotion.

"You", the opening song, is actually also the first video that Engelbert has ever done. Seemingly dedicated to his wife, the song is a touching tribute to a relationship that has gone the distance and could be appropriated by any couple that still carries a torch for each other.

The next cut, "Don't Let the Old Man In", is a fantastic choice that helps balance out the romantic material. Written by country star Toby Keith, the words reflect the artist's desire to keep participating in life as years advance rather than sit back and live in the memories of days gone by. This is one of the most enthralling songs Engelbert has recorded in many years.

Perhaps my favorite song in the collection is "Angel on My Shoulder" as the artist counts his blessings in appreciation, a moment of art reflecting life. Lyrically stirring, it's also a song where Engelbert soars a bit proving that in terms of vocal ability, he takes a back seat to no one.

Although he didn't write "I'm Glad I Danced With You", he certainly could have as the song describes a scene that he lived in real life when he met his wife (kind of like "The Last Waltz"). Sweetly moving, the song features his eight year-old granddaughter who holds her own with the music legend.

The record closes with a remake of one of his earliest songs "10 Guitars", beefed up with some more --- of course --- guitars and a horn section that really makes it a party.

If you can maintain a fanbase for over 50 years, it shows that people will keep coming back to artists that are genuine and don't just mail it in for a quick buck. Reflections will do nothing to disturb that trend.

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