Any album that opens with Michael’s take on ‘The Rose’ should make you take notice, and First Love does just that. Despite being made in the mid-nineties, time has stood still for this album, with tracks like ‘Let The River Run’ and the rousing version of ‘(Something Inside) So Strong’ sounding as good now as when they were first sent to the mastering plant.
The strings and Michael’s vocal on Gordon Lightfoot’s ‘If You Could Read My Mind’ make this arguably the definitive version and fans of Musical Theatre will no doubt adore Michael’s rendition of ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story. There is also a tip of the hat to the great Matt Munro with the inclusion of ‘Walk Away’, and the inclusion of ‘How Can I Be Sure’ by The Young Rascals is inspired. Frankie Laine’s ‘I’m Gonna Be Strong’ is yet another superb selection from days gone by that gets a new lease of life here.