Today we review a now classic album of Disney covers originally released in September 1991 that unlike the new DisneyMania compilations was not directly produced by Disney but by Sony Music.
"Simply Mad About The Mouse" contains nine renditions of classic Disney songs by modern day artists including L.L. Cool J, Harry Connick, Jr., Ric Ocasek, Michael Bolton and Billy Joel plus an intro and outro tracks based on Disney music.
The album starts with "Simply Mad – An Introduction", an instrumental track that leads to the first song by Billy Joel, a cover of the Disney signature song "When You Wish Upon A Star", from Pinocchio. A classic lovely arrangement using strings and piano makes this track quite charming.
A rock version of "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" by Ric Ocasek comes next. We’ve heard quite a few new arrangements of this classic track from the film "Song Of The South" over the years, but this stays the "most rockish" of them all and remains one of the most enjoyable.
"Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf", from the Three Little Pigs comes next. This song originally written in the early thirties, also became a metaphor for the Great Depression and a huge hit during a period people did not have money to buy records. On this album it becomes a cool rap/hip hop number courtesy of the one and only L.L. Cool J, who delivers a great performance. It’s actually quite funny listening to the original words from the 30’s, describing each of the three pigs, sung today. Rhymes such as "(Pig) Number one was very gay and he built his house of hay" are just so campy!
"I’ve Got No Strings" from Pinocchio is next. Gipsy Kings turn it into a Flamenco/gipsy version with parts of the lyrics sung in Spanish. Very colourful and lively. "The Bare Necessities" from The Jungle Book sung by Harry Connick, Jr. is next. Crooning to perfection on this song with a big band Harry would also release a full album of classic children songs titled "Songs I Heard" featuring many tracks from Mary Poppins and the Wizard of Oz (but we’ll talk about that one another time in another review by Disneylicious)
"The Siamese Cat Song" from Lady and The Tramp follows. This cover by Bobby McFerrin is indeed very peculiar with different voice takes one over the other.
And here comes my favourite cover ever of this Alan Menken/Howard Ashman song off The Little Mermaid. "Kiss The Girl" by Soul II Soul is a poppy, reagge/calypso beat arrangement that really makes you get up your feet and dance to the music. Five stars out of five!
Michael Bolton performs "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" from Cinderella very well. A great voice for a great pop song that in recent times isn’t usually sung by a male performer due to its link with the modern "Princesses pink merchandise" brand. A great musical arrangement with strings and flutes that give this track a great deal of charm. En Vogue cover two songs from Snow White in a sort of medley. The very well known Disney standard "Someday My Prince Will Come" is meshed up with the lesser known "One Song". The right percussions, strings and drums turn these songs written in the early 30’s into a lovely electronic ballad perfect for the 90’s and beyond.
The album ends with "Mad About The Wolf" performed by Kirk Whalum.
Music videos were also produced for most of the tracks and reunited into a video compilation with the same name. Both cd and video compilations are now out of print, but if you happen to be a fan of Disney music and modern covers this is without any doubt a must have album.
Review by Disneylicious