Tuesday, January 26, 2010

CD Review: Gino Padilla (Let Me Be The One)... He's Back... (again)

Gino Padilla is back... (again)

The guy, whose strongest claim to global fame is singing on stage with Tina Turner (remember her, guys?) in a Pepsi commercial way back in the late 80's has a new album out on the shelves since very late last year. Titled “Let Me Be The One,” power singer Gino Padilla, through Viva-Vicor, offers his take on 14 classic and not-so-classic Pinoy radio fare spanning over three decades back.

Immediate standouts are immortal guilty pleasures of every music lover, the Cecile Azarcon-penned “Even If,” the Joey Albert-immortalized “Million Miles Away,” and Odette Quesada’s “To Love Again.”

"...amusing to note that the majority of the songs... were originally done by female singers... [as] testament to [Gino's] vocal range..."

Naturally, as an avid OPM lover of a musical age gone by, I have my immediate favorites off Gino’s song selection such as the ones I mentioned above. But one rather interesting surprise was him digging up Junior’s jukebox staple “But If You Leave Me” from the late 70’s (am I right? Anyone correct me if I’m wrong…). The original version remains on my playlist as a reminder of simpler times, but this tear-jerking new version does it justice.

Production values are more than decent. But considering the vocal caliber that the album is working with, almost any accompaniment can sound good. As a matter of fact, try to give a listen to Gino’s version of the once-overplayed “If” of one-hit wonder Nelson del Castillo. Another gem of songwriting is Jimmy Bondoc’s mega-hit “Let Me Be The One,” which also happens to be the album’s title. Despite the fact that everyone’s final memory of that poor song is the singer-songwriter’s constant howling like a constipated kitten through a 12-minute stretch of the song, credit to how well-written the song really is must be given to Bondoc, as evidenced by the this new clean rendition by Gino Padilla.

It’s also amusing to note that the majority of the songs Gino tackled were originally done by female singers. Further testament to his vocal range. Although some of the lyrics ended up being either too soft for a guy, or sometimes just downright odd and misplaced, as when he sang the Freestyle original “So Slow.” I mean, no self-respecting hetero-sexual guy will ask a woman to ease up and turn down a chance to do the nasty… c’mon…

The time for balladeers seems to be on a minor upswing lately, and it’s not only that a voice like Gino Padilla deserves to the recorded and heard again, but music lovers like me deserve to get more quality stuff such as this album, despite the obvious fact that the tracks are remakes. Am still on the look-out for a copy of Gino’s prior release, the Sharon Cuneta-produced “Hand of Time,” which I believe contains a few new originals.

The whole laid back groove of the album is okay, but doesn’t really fire one up. Nonetheless, if one enjoys good, clean singing, where the singer successfully connects with the listener on an emotional level, then this album deserves a spot on everyone’s player. For a few tidbits off the album, click on the video below…

Support [good] Filipino music! ‘catch you all later…

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