After aurally pleasing my ears listening to this hour plus treasure-trove of greatest hits (and let me tell you, they are all great hits!), I have come to a solitary conclusion: Engelbert Humperdink is a badass motherfucker.
Cool enough to make even the lamest song a fist-pumping rock ‘n’ roll anthem—check out “Sweetheart,” written by young scribe Barry Gibbs—crude enough to make “winter world of love” sound like a dirty come-on, and classy enough to make associate Tom Jones look like a vagrant ex-dock worker, Hump has always, and will always, take no prisoners when it comes to creating quality music.
Singing from the crotch is only natural for the man born Arnold George Dorsey, who has been bringin’ the ladies to their knees since the late ‘60s. Sporting his trademark sideburns, he recorded classic after modern-day classic, from the O.G. “Release Me” in 1967 to 1978’s sorely under appreciated “This Moment in Time,” all of which are documented her in glorious remastered digitals 1’s and 0’s. From its attractive cover featuring a recent photo of the man wearing a newly trimmed mustache, gold chain, and mesh shirt, to the package’s extensive liner notes, The Ultimate Collection screams “class” and “play this at your next wife-swapping dinner party” like nothing since Cheap Trick’s ill-fated Dream Police album.
Although his career has bottomed-out since 1987’s modest (and I stress “modest”) comeback, “Remember: I Love You,” Humperdink has always retained his sense of dignity, gladly making television appearances on The Love Boat and Hotel when others refused. Spitting in the face of the so-called “do-it-yourself” ethic has always been one of Engelbert’s talents, and no more so is it documented here on this little disc of gold. This is required listening for anyone who isn’t a slobbering idiot and doesn’t know better.
Wise up kids, because when this old man speaks, you damn sure better listen.
Or he will have your ass.
On a plate with silver lining.
// Notes from the Road
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