Paul and Rochelle Chamlin: The First 10 Years

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Paul and Rochelle Chamlin

The First 10 Years

May 9, 2018

Reviewed by John Hoglund for Cabaret Scenes

This album is a simple labor of love. They’re not Jackie and Roy or Keely Smith and Louis Prima, but Paul and Rochelle Chamlin are something in their own right. They have a fine musical chemistry and, on the right songs, they cook.

If this were a half-dozen decades ago, this married twosome might pop up on The Ed Sullivan Show. “Some things are meant to be…,” a line from “Can’t Help Falling in Love” that sacred sonnet that sums up what this duo is about here on a sweet album filled with heart. In fact, the CD is so gentle and full of Paul’s interesting piano arrangements that echo life, it’s like a time travel back to an era when Doris Day made cutesy lyrics come alive with a believability that was infectious.

This album is obviously a celebration of their union together with musical moments that have enriched their lives. They met as choir singers and have been making music ever since. It is a love story minus theatrics (which is a perk that shines on the CD). A few selections are predictable and less exciting. But, there are some unlikely surprises that brighten the way. In the end, it’s not savvy stuff. Rather, it’s all a very easy listening and its simplicity is worth more than some more sophisticated turns of the same genre on this mixed bag.
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While there’s nothing dramatic or mind-boggling here, the listener is taken on a heartfelt journey sure to conjure up memories.

While rich in romance, the disc also has its share of fun stuff, too. “Isn’t It Kinda Fun?” from the film State Fair (1945), is an overlooked ditty given a peppy spin here. On a special cut, Paul croons “You’re Gonna Hear from Me,” from the 1966 film Inside Daisy Clover. He gives it a pensive treatment as opposed to the brassy belting that too often comes from (male or female) Liza Minnelli wannabes in piano bars. Rochelle offers a Bob Merrill rarity in a Broadway-style “Travelin’” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s that has a somewhat bracing feel. She is more convincing on the Paul Williams/Johnny Mandel “Close Enough for Love,” which complements her musical sensibilities much more.
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Paul shows he can belt with the best of them on a rousing “What’s the Magic?” (John Taylor). They sing a melancholic duet on “It’s Not Too Late,” a highlight that closes this warm collection that is perfect for their talents. Other solid cuts include some real whimsy on “Paddlin’ Madelin’ Home,” “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66”/”King of the Road,” and “The Trolley Song.”   

This album is worth a listen. One might hope future discs involve more bucolic and clever ballads and a dip into some classic American standards that their voices seem well suited for. That aside, the next 10 years shows promise of some terrific musical moments.

John Hoglund

For over 30 years, John Hoglund has been a respected entertainment writer covering cabaret, jazz, theater and recordings. His writings have appeared in numerous outlets including the Bistro Bits column for Back Stage. John moderated seminars and forums for the International Cabaret Conference At Yale. He produced many celebrity fundraisers in NYC including one of the first benefits after 9/11: “HeartSong:The Heroes' Concert” at The Bottom Line featuring 36 major stars. He co-produced “HeartSong2: The Heroes' Concert” for Katrina victims at Symphony Space and “Miracle On 35th Street” with a star-studded lineup. Other fund raising efforts include the first benefits for Broadway Cares and God's Love, We Deliver. John served on the Board of Directors of MAC for 12 years. He is well known for championing new and rising talents.