What is it about Broadway musicals that make us cheer, and want to sing along? Is it the orchestration, or is it more about the character and their voice? The summer of 2020 has been all about the musical Hamilton (which, you could argue it has since 2015), and audiences have been humming everything from “You’ll Be Back” to “Burn”, another longtime but not forgotten musical has cemented its place in Broadway history: Man of La Mancha. Out now, Ricky Comeaux dons the titular role “I, Don Quixote” in his new debut album, If I Ruled The World.
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You’ll be humming along in no time to Comeaux’s roaring rendition. His appetite for this song is palpable, with the listener hanging on each note and extended melody. The horn section, alert and resounding in his honor when he sings with all his might my destiny calls and I go, and the wild winds of fortune, will carry me onward, oh whithersoever they blow, onward to glory I go! The music almost gallops under his voice, a full sound, but not quite the same bullish overtaking if you were in the live theater. The undercurrent music is thrilling, giving another element of surprise and anticipation. Damn this computer speakers and their modest sound. Comeaux’s presence is triumphant. He thrusts the listener into a world of grand ideas, chasing dreams and fighting windmills. Woven into the vocal mix is Comeaux’s gutsy range, tethered to an exciting music bed.
Comeaux, who worked with veteran film and television composer (and founder of Musicomm), Mark Holden, had the music tracks produced in Los Angeles. He recorded the vocals at Houston’s Wire Road Studios, where he worked with Barry Coffing. Coffing is known for working with Randy Travis, Michael McDonald, Cyndi Lauper, The Neville Brothers and many more. If I Ruled The World is Comeaux’s solo debut – a feat he’s capturing decades after being one-half of the duo, Atwood and Comeaux. The pair enjoyed a run of success from Houston during the 80s and 90s. The 11-track album is heavy with Broadway musicals, but does also showcase Comeaux’s stealth skills in pop rock and classic rock. I’m glad Comeaux sang “I, Don Quixote” as close to the 1965 Broadway version as possible. Anything else might have been cheesy or pandering. He captures the essence of the fabled Don Quixote, but he also elevates the character into a new dimension with his vocal prowess.
Don Quixote might tell a tragic tale, but it’s a tragedy for any music fan to not at least give “I, Don Quixote” from Ricky Comeaux a listen. You don’t have to be a fan of Broadway or musical theatre to experience this giant spectacle of a song. Echoes of bravery, and a man with a dream are timeless. I think fans of classic rock bands like Queen, Europe and even Alice Cooper will appreciate the majesty, the pomp and circumstance put into this track. No matter the stage, Comeaux delivers a standing ovation performance.
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