When he sang the lines somewhere beyond the sea, the great Bobby Darin cemented his balladeer voice into the record books. The song, and his voice transported the listener into a romantic wellspring, his voice the very essence of class. That same effortlessness and charm is found in the notes and in the presentation of Philadelphia crooner, Hughie Mac. The prolific singer, whose collection of songs on Hughie Mac Sings Some Great Songs Part 4 is a testament to legendary tunes and the voices that sometimes became bigger than the song itself, relays those iconic words in a new, magical way.
Mac does an incredible job of choosing songs that add luster to his seasoned, but sharp voice. Matching his voice to the opener, “Almost Like Being In Love” transported me to a show-tune type of vibe, but the grandness and exultation from Mac himself just gets you going. You feel alive – happy. Mac jumps from song to song – “The Tweltfh of Never” to “All Of Me” to the Jimmy Buffett tune, “Changes In Latitudes”. These first few songs are warming up the listener, a primer if you will, to a long-lasting audio trip built with Mac’s vocal architecture. He sounds so prideful, so ecstatic to be sharing these songs.
Like all great mix tapes, there’s variation and you never know what you’re going to get next – from the laid back stylings of “Two Pina Coladas” Mac takes the listener down nostalgia lane with the epic “My Way”. Then it’s the universally-loved “Come Fly With Me”, a song that still makes me want to sing along and dance the night away. Mac keeps things aerial with “Fly Me to the Moon” before landing on “Let Me Be There.”
In songs like “I Gotta Be Me”, I knew Mac wasn’t listening to a self-penned song. “I Gotta Be Me”, a song galvanized by Sammy Davis Jr., from the Broadway musical Golden Rainbow in 1968. Walter Marks wrote the song, and to hear Mac’s version, is to chase another glimpse of textures and dreamy thoughts from yet another singer. He might be playing a role, but Mac gives the listener a true sense of bliss. And that’s just halfway into the album. Mac’s record has 23 total songs.
Some of the other standouts include the great American songbook must have, “New York New York”, the mellow “Cheeseburger in Paradise” and the sultry, jazzy number “It Had To Be You”. I also really loved Mac’s version of “Young at Heart”. It’s such a sweet, wholesome song. One can’t help but smile and think fondly of the golden years, the times when you can just dance in the living room with your husband or wife without a care in the world – just making sure you don’t step on their toes. You get a lot from Mac, and you put yourself beyond the words, beyond the music when you listen to his top selections. These songs are timeless because they hit the right notes, no matter who is behind that microphone. Hughie Mac is a delight and a real showstopper.