back 1989


841 344-1, Polydor Germany

  1. Games That Lovers Play (2:25)
  2. Seasons In The Sun (3:59)
  3. You Make Me Feel Brand New (5:27)
  4. Sexual Healing (4:20)
  5. Holly Holy (4:47)
  6. The Best Of My Love (3:51)
  7. Make This Night Last Forever (2:53)
  8. The More I See You (2:30)
  9. Elisabeth-Serenade (2:37)
  10. Fly Me To The Moon (3:21)
  11. Love Must Be The Reason (4:13)
  12. Close To You (3:13)
  13. When Irish Eyes Are Smiling (2:33)
  14. Let It Be (3:30)
  15. Spanish Eyes (2:58)
  16. Mac Arthur Park (7:35) Solo-Trompete: Derek Watkins

For some of us who grew up in the mid-1970s, the James Last sound was always associated with the disco dance party albums he produced during that decade. It is only now that I have finally laid hands on remasters of Mr Last's softer romantic productions, aside from his arrangement of classical music for a 'pop' audience. These have been put together very creatively by POLYGRAM/POLYDOR and its subsidiary labels. What a surprise this has turned out to be! The James Last orchestra sounds by turns, an ethereal romantic sound floating among the clouds, a typically 1970s string and chorus wall to wall soundstage of love, or a smoochy disco slow dance. I review four albums here, with perhaps a sequel to follow at some point.

JAMES LAST & HIS ORCHESTRA. Liebe Ist... (Love is...). Compiled from Last's many LPs and remastered as part of the James Last - Ein Sound Geht Um Die Welt series. Made and released in West Germany in 1989 by Polydor as catalogue number 841 344-2. This is one of a few rare compilations of 100% love songs by the James Last orchestra. Better still, this one being released in 1989, collects only his LP remastered releases from the 1970s and 1980s.

Looking over the selection of tunes, you will realize this is Last's eclectic and romantic touch through and through. Even though one might not associate Neil Diamond's hit Holly Holy as a standard romantic song that comes to mind, Last brings out a fresh colour to the tune by employing his choir to sing Diamond's famous chorus line. The same art of arrangement for strings and choir was employed for Seasons in the Sun where the choir's tone is aligned to bring out the spirit of the song's play with innocence and illicit love in its original English lyrics... Love Must be the Reason and the Carpenters' hit Close to You also get a dreamy string and choir treatment bringing these tunes to new dimensions of aural enjoyment that are quite distinct from their original vocal versions – indeed it is time to break out the champagne and candlelight...

Or simply sit on a patio overlooking your favourite summer garden and watch the swans go by on a lazy sunny day... Other gems include the extremely mushy slowed down version of You Make Me Feel Brand New, the bouncy The More I See You, the swinging and lightly waltzing Fly Me to the Moon with strings in the lead, the soulful Sexual Healing, and finally the symphonic surprise on MacArthur Park featuring an unforgettable trumpet solo from renowned musician Derek Watkins who has also played with Sinatra, the Beatles, Streisand, Elton John as well as the Ted Heath and John Dankworth big bands, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra...

Indeed Love is... to dream on!