“The only time I’m happy is when I’m dreaming in the past”
A bit of a random one but I do have a sneaking regard for Connie Fisher. As the first of the winners of Lloyd-Webber’s TV casting shows, she’s taken a lot of stick despite being genuinely talented – I don’t think anyone could argue she didn’t deserve to win – but she has struggled to escape the shadow of The Sound of Music and her much-publicised vocal problems have garnered a little too much glee than is strictly tasteful, in my opinion at least.
Anyhoo, Secret Love was her second album, and though it does not feature the most adventurous of song selections – there’s a lot of standards and Lloyd-Webber (surprise…) on here, but it is all rather appealingly sung and Fisher’s warm voice makes this a CD I do rather enjoy listening to. Classics like ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ and ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ are given rich, laidback interpretations which she sings effortlessly, gliding over with a lovely warmth and relaxed confidence. The heartbreaking ‘When She Loved Me’ by Randy Newman from Toy Story 2 soars here in a beautiful version as does a lush-sounding ‘Secret Love’, indeed Doris Day’s wholesome image seems a perfect fit for Fisher and the oeuvre she is marking out for herself.
Lloyd-Webber is perhaps over-represented, though I wonder if she had a choice in the matter. The ubiquitous ‘Memory’ falls flat here, but she puts her own stamp on Evita’s ‘You Must Love Me’, a completely different take to the pure heartbreak that is Elena Roger’s. But there are interesting takes on two songs from Starlight Express oddly enough: ‘Make Up My Heart’ and ‘Next Time You Fall In Love’, a duet with fellow show-winner Lee Mead to absolutely fantastic effect, the song is reinvigorated and sounds brilliant with their combined voices.
Secret Love is not an album that will change worlds or challenge preconceptions, indeed were Fisher to try and throw in a curveball or two, it would just seem odd. This is purely comforting stuff, with a touch of nostalgia, and perfect for listening to on a lazy Sunday or a cold winter’s evening in front of a log fire, wearing woolly jumpers and eating roasted chestnuts: cheesy, moi?!