If you grew up humming songs like "Chim-Chim-Cheree" and "Winnie
the Pooh," then you have Richard M. & Robert B. Sherman to thank. These
Disney Legends provided the soundtrack during many a baby boomer's formative
Of course, as you grew older, your taste in music changed. Which
is why all those albums featuring the Sherman
Bros. music got pushed towards the back in your record collection. To then make
room for recordings that featured the music of Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Bee
Gees and/or (God help us) Barry Manilow.
Well, as Harry Chapin
once sang: "All My Life's a Circle." Which is why it gives me such pleasure to now
talk about "Forgotten Dreams." Which is this brand-new CD from Richard Sherman that is clearly aimed at adults.
Copyright 2010 Solid Air Records. All rights reserved
Now don't expect to hear any tongue-twisting lyrics after
you throw this disc into your car audio system. For this new Solid Air Records
recording is made up entirely of instrumentals. Evocative piano interludes that
conjure up - just for a moment or two - this strong emotional response.
You see, there's this skein of melancholy that runs through "Forgotten
Dreams." Many of the 15 tracks that James Jensen has assembled for this album have
kind of a rueful quality to them. So as you listen to pieces like "Ambition"
and "Reflection," you can't help but feel sad. Or - at the very least - a little
But at the same time, there are tracks on this recording
that have great structure and sophistication. I loved the rhythms of "Big City." And when
you hear "Spanish Tile," you can't help but think about all those beautiful Spanish-style
homes that you see while driving around Los Angeles.
That (to my way of thinking, anyway) is one of the more
enjoyable aspects of "Forgotten Dreams." How - as you listen to mood pieces like
"Rain Street" - you actually conjure up scenes in your mind as to what these
musical moments might look like up on the big screen.
I'll say this much: one does come away from listening to this
new Solid Air Records recording with a renewed appreciation of Richard M.
Sherman's musicianship. By that I mean: I already knew that Richard was a
skilled composer. But I had also heard that Sherman (just like Irving Berlin)
was supposed to be pretty heavy-handed when it came to the keyboard. So it was
kind of a shock to listen to a piece like "Caprice" and then realize how
skilled this guy is. The lightness & precision that Richard can bring to
his piano playing.
Mind you, if you're looking for that Sherman Brothers energy
& bounce that you associate with tunes like "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"
and "The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers," then you're sure to love "Sunset &
Vine." Which is this upbeat & energetic piece that would have been a great
Sherman Bros. song if Richard could have just persuaded Robert to write some
Disney Legend Richard M. Sherman. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
Sadly, Richard was flying solo on "Forgotten Dreams." Which
is why - after listening to genuinely bluesy numbers like "Twilight Blue" Early
years - you wonder if Hollywood really missed out by pigeon-holing the Sherman
Bros. as those guys who only wrote great songs for kiddie movies. One wonders what
might have happened if Richard & Robert had been allowed / encouraged to
tackle more adult material.
Anyway ... What I kind of hope here is that people in the
industry will soon discover "Forgotten Dreams" and then reach out to Richard.
Perhaps someone at Turner Classic Movies will listen to this recording and then hire
Sherman to come create a new underscore for a classic silent film. Or - better yet
- that some choreographer will hear this CD and then be inspired to create this
evening of interpretive dance that showcases Richard's emotional and evocative
Whatever winds up happening here, don't you make the mistake
of letting "Forgetten Dreams" slip away. For this is the recording that definitively
proves that the Sherman Brothers' music isn't just for kids.
Even for Disney the Sherman brothers did some deeper, more sensitive stuff, like "The Age of Not Believing," "Magic Journeys," and of course "Feed the Birds."