CD Review: Gerry Monroe – The Complete Chapter One Recordings

Gerry Monroe
The Complete Chapter One Recordings
(Cherry Red)

Decades before X Factor and Pop Idol, up and coming singing talent found its way on to UK television screens via a series called Opportunity Knocks, usually from the unlikeliest backgrounds one could imagine.

Bespectacled South Shields miner Henry Morris aka Gerry Monroe’s falsetto voice rose to prominence on the Northern club circuit before captivating Opportunity Knocks viewers in 1970 and subsequently capturing the imagination of music producer Les Reed who signed Gerry to Chapter One Records.

Charting with an upbeat pop version of Gracie Fields’ Sally (Pride of Our Alley), Gerry kicked away any preconceptions of novelty status by following up with further hits My Prayer and Cryin’.

This new 2-CD set brings together all Gerry’s singles and album tracks. Monroe certainly carved a niche in bringing pop standards up to date and many songs such as You Always Hurt (The One You Love) and It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie were all given a sunny vibe that still make pleasant easy listening now.

Sally ( Pride of Our Alley) lends itself to the albums title and it must have been very daring for Monroe to present such a new take on the track that diversified so much from the Gracie Fields original. Yet Monroe’s falsetto use of the word Cry – I – I – I -ing is fun as well as perfectly presented. The real gem of the compilation is his beautiful rendition of My Prayer,  a real forgotten classic.

Sally (Pride Of Our Alley) – The Complete Chapter One Recordings is a timely reminder of a forgotten if not slightly unusual talent that cracked the UK charts when Glam Rock and soul prevailed. Certainly one of the most underrated of easy listening singers its finally time for Gerry Monroe’s star to shine again.

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