Real versus fantasy? Looking past the outer shell, underneath the armor to discover the man within? What is the deeper meaning of “I, Don Quixote”? One man on a mission to interpret the legendary Broadway song is Houston’s Ricky Comeaux. His new album, If I Ruled The World
features this piece from Man of La Mancha. Comeaux’s striking voice and imaginative delivery transports the listener to another time and another place.
“I, Don Quixote” had me ensconced. Comeaux is a creative force, and while he didn’t write the lyrics or the music, he still relays a timeless story. A play within a play, Man of La Mancha reminds audiences all these years later of tragedy and drama. It’s a human adventure still in the making and artists still can’t quite bit adieu to this character – Comeaux answers the call.
I am I, Don Quixote, the Lord of La Mancha, my destiny calls and I go, Comeaux sings as though he had the power of a thousand subjects bolstering his title. My destiny calls and I go, and the wild winds of fortune, will carry me onward, oh whithersoever they blow, he exclaims. It’s a very dramatic song, and one can just imagine Comeaux in the recording booth waving his arms, clenching his fists in manhood. When I picture Don Quixote’s character, I picture someone a bit off balance, a little nutty. Comeaux doesn’t come across as crazed, but it’s an over-the-top song, so I think he has fun getting into the mood. He sings with passion and an unbridled enthusiasm. The orchestral music is heavy in brass, sounding very noble. It’s very Middle Ages and grand sounding. I was expecting the strings to sound bolder, but the horns are impossible to ignore, and they take over. Comeaux’s voice is mixed just above the music base, and it’s a seamless bond. Listeners that love to re-live the Broadway tunes they so love will adore Comeaux’s “I, Don Quixote”. But I must press, you don’t have to have enjoyed the live stage performance to feel the thrill in Comeaux’s voice.
Comeaux is a former member of the duo Atwood and Comeaux. During his tenure the pair enjoyed success in Houston in the 1980s and 1990s. For a guy with a voice built for classic rock and even Americana, Comeaux can really adapt to many genres. The proof is in the pudding with the variety he presents in If I Ruled The World. He covers everything from show tunes to Roy Orbison to Leonard Cohen to Tony Bennet. “I, Don Quixote” was originally composed by lyricist Joe Darion, and music by Mitch Leigh. The two won a Tony Award in 1966 for Best Original Score. The album’s music is produced by Mark Holden, who recorded the orchestration in Los Angeles. Comeaux recorded the vocals in Houston with producer Barry Coffing. Coffing is known for his work with Randy Travis, Cyndi Lauper, Tiffany, Michael McDonald and Irene Cara, to name a few. In one listen, you will feel the magic and hear the exceptional production.