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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Brent Spiner's "Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back" and "Dreamland"

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
This is the inevitable consequence of my newfound love for Star Trek The Next Generation and Data!  I'm always excited when my favorite actors sing as well, so when I saw that Brent Spiner released these two albums, I looked them up post haste!  Luckily I love the old pop standards from the 30s, 40s and 50s, so I especially enjoyed these albums.  And of course I enjoyed Brent Spiner's wonderful voice!

Ol' Yellow Eyes is Back was released in 1991, with a lot of help from the Star Trek The Next Generation crew - the orchestra on the album is the one used in scoring the show, and it's also co-produced by the composer of the show's music.  The album features fairly classic and straightforward interpretations of pop standards.  I think it's a great collection of songs - from soft ballads like "Embraceable You" to upbeat "Toot Toot Tootsie" and "Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart."

The most memorable Trek related aid is the backing vocals in the song "It's a Sin (To Tell a Lie)."  Patrick Stewart has a spoken word portion in the middle, while he, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn and Levar Burton sing backing vocals.  It just delights me so to hear it even if the song isn't my favorite.  Unfortunately this album is out of print, but it's not too hard to find if you visit youtube!


Dreamland is an interesting album because it is like an audio musical - or like a radio show musical.  And the more I listen to it, the more I am obsessed with it!  The songs are the old pop standards, but there is a storyline with Brent and Maude Maggart's characters - a love story set in a dream.  The story itself does have some cheesy moments (rather reminiscent of old radio shows however) and it is a little predictable, but there's such a sweetness in the characters and an earnest melancholy in their hopes, especially in the second half of the recording (which fares better story-wise in my opinion) that I felt very enraptured by the mood and the atmosphere of this album.

In addition to all that, there are delightfully humorous moments, a great performance by Mark Hamill who does many different voices, and some absolutely wonderful song choices.  I am a little biased though since some of my favorites are featured - like "What'll I Do?", "Some Enchanted Evening", "You Were Meant For Me", and "Let's Face the Music and Dance." (I'm absolutely obsessed with this version of the latter song btw).   And to me, Brent's voice sounds better on this album.  More natural and resonant which is the perfect complement to Maude Maggart's bright vocals.  I haven't heard of Maude before, but she is so talented, I love the wonderful, clear and youthful sound to her voice.

Even though I love this album as a whole, I do wish I had a copy of just the songs so I can listen to that sometimes.  I think there is that option on Brent Spiner's website, but I was unfortunately unable to buy the album from there - something is up with that credit card form.  Anyways, if I had to recommend one of his albums it would be Dreamland, but both are really great to listen to, especially if you enjoyed the (all too brief) taster Brent gave of his style of singing in Star Trek Nemesis!


(In case you are wondering if I have listened to any of William Shatner or Leonard Nimoy's albums - I have, but for me they aren't something I would listen to over and over again, with the exception of Nimoy's "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" - which is so fun!  Definitely of the three, Brent Spiner is the more accomplished singer so that is probably a big reason why I prefer his albums.)

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