Nostalgia tripping with The CompanY

SOUNDS FAMILIAR - Baby A. Gil - The Philippine Star

After tripping on new arrangements of current favorites in the hugely-successful Lighthearted series of albums, The CompanY, the country’s leading vocal group, has decided to take a trip to the past in its latest project. And that means old songs but not plain covers — what is available now are new versions done in the contemporary CompanY style. 

Aptly titled Nostalgia, the recording is made up of songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s eras, which I must say, were a truly great time for popular music. I am disappointed that they only got to do 10 songs for the album. There should have been more and I can already hear The CompanY arrangements of songs by the Bee Gees, the Carpenters, Michael Jackson… Maybe next time. Besides, every cut in Nostalgia was well-chosen as among the best of those times.

Here are the songs. Nostalgia by The CompanY includes:  Times of Your Life, which was popularized by Paul Anka in the mid-‘70s, first as an advertising jingle for Kodak Film and then later on, as the lead single from his album of the same title. It has proven to be his most enduring hit; Up Up And Away, one of the most famous works of one of the greatest pop composers of all time, Jimmy Webb, who also did MacArthur Park, By Time I Get To Phoenix, Didn’t We and others. It was a big hit for the Fifth Dimension.

Never My Love, a classic slow dancer from the ‘60s by one of the most romantic boy groups of all time, The Association, who also popularized Cherish and Windy; and there has to be a disco hit from the late ‘70s, in this case If All We’re Gonna Do Is Dance, by the one-hit wonder band Hott City; then there is the great pop classic Both Sides Now, the Joni Mitchell composition that became a big hit for Judy Collins.

Waters Of March, or Aguas de Marco, of course, the ‘70s was also the time for sultry bossa nova tunes from Brazil and this one written by Antonio Carlos Jobim about the rains of March is one of the most beautiful of them all; Laughter In The Rain, a big hit by the singer-composer Neil Sedaka; and Afternoon Delight by the Starland Vocal Band. This song was a surprise big-seller by a group of studio musicians who decided to record their own song and produced a hit.

Now those are all great songs for any old song lover. But Nostalgia has something even better. It was really nice to be surprised with two sweet wedding songs in the collection. Not only that, both tunes are by Filipinos, Here And Now by Jose Mari Chan and The Beginning by Nonong Pedero sang by Tillie Moreno and Ray-An Fuentes. Here is proof that the work of our songwriters from the ‘70s can stand alongside those by Webb, Jobim, Mitchell and others of extraordinary caliber.

The CompanY will be performing these songs plus other hits in a very special showcase at the Music Museum on Jan. 22 at 8 p.m. The ticket, including a copy of the album, costs only P350. To find out how to get some, go to [email protected]. This is a real bargain as ticket prices to a CompanY show usually cost a lot. So hurry before they run out of seats. I am sure that demand is very high.

The CompanY celebrated its 30th year in the music business last year. Initially inspired by groups like the Manhattan Transfer and the Swingle Singers, The CompanY has developed its own distinct, very unmistakable sound over the years. Among the group’s hit singles are Now That I Have You, Muntik Na Kitang Minahal, Pakisabi Na Lang, Special Memory, Nawawala Ang Puso Ko, Just A Love Song, What Would They Say, Afraid For Love To Fade, You Changed My Life In A Moment and Manila.

The CompanY today is made up of Moy Ortiz, bass and tenor; Sweet Plantado, soprano; Annie Quintos, soprano; Cecile Bautista, alto; and newest member OJ Mariano, tenor. Nostalgia marks OJ’s first-ever album with the group.

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