Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir's Something Inside So Strong: What You Need To Know
Your local NHS trust might be able to boast of short waiting times or great doctors, but can it say that it beat Adele and Justin Bieber to the Christmas Number One spot?
If you live in the London boroughs of Lewisham & Greenwich, the answer to that, surprisingly enough, is yes.
The two dozen or so ladies and gents that form the trust's choir surprised the bookmakers last year when their song 'A Bridge Over You' – a reworking of Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' and Coldplay's 'Fix You' – landed the coveted Number One spot on a surge of public support for our beloved National Health Service, beating off some seasoned competition in the process.
Now, determined to prove that they're no one-hit wonders, they're back with a whole album. Something Inside So Strong lands on the shelves in stores today You can preview and purchase it at the top right of this page). Here's everything you need to know...
A little background...
The choir first found fame as contestants on Gareth Malone's BBC Two series The Choir: Sing While You Work, aimed at encouraging amateur choirs to train and compete with one another. They ended up as runners-up in the show's first series but, not to be discouraged, they were soon back at it and released the single for the first time in 2013 with the aim of getting the song to the top of the charts. They fell short on the first attempt, but when they re-released the song last year against the backdrop of an anticipated junior doctors' strike and widespread criticism over the government's handling of the NHS, the re-release enjoyed a wave of popular support, thanks in part to a huge social media campaign that caught the public's imagination and propelled the single to the Number One spot.
By March this year, the choir had signed a record deal and the resulting album, Something Inside So Strong, contains 11 new tracks, as well as their Number One hit, of course.
Who's producing it?
Dan Ludford-Thomas and Peter Mitchell, who produced the chart-topping single, are also handling the production duties for the rest of the album.
What does it sound like?
Aside from the single, which is more mash-up than cover version, for the most part this is a list of well-chosen and well-arranged covers that includes Carole King's 'You've Got A Friend', Bill Withers' 'Lean On Me', Billy Joel's 'And So It Goes' and Katrina & The Waves' 'Love Shine A Light'. There's also a rendition of 'The Seal Lullaby', originally a Rudyard Kipling poem put to music by Eric Whitacre.
Sting's 'Fields of Golds' also gets the choral treatment, as does Johnny Mercer's 'Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive', the album's closing track.
Does it deliver?
What's not to like? A group of hard-working health professionals putting even more work into their passion for music, delivering some beautifully arranged tunes and raising cash for a good cause. Job done.