Ritchie Newton is an artist of considerable talents, who on
his new album ‘All Due Respect’ shows them off with considerable style.
Ritchie Newton is a resident of his beloved Koh Samui, and his feelings for his
adopted home shine through on this album.
All artist have influences, Ritchie Newton is no different
in that respect. Robert Johnson influenced the likes of Chuck Berry and Muddy
Waters, and they in turn influenced so many artists as diverse as the Beatles,
to Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones, they of course then influenced a whole
generation to pick up a guitar and play and so on.
So I mean it as a compliment when I say that although
Ritchie Newton has developed his own style he also wears his influences proudly
on his sleeve.
Ritchie Newton was always mainly influenced by Elvis
Presley, and the spirit of the great man is carried through into all of his
music although by no means dominating it. In fact, over the course of the
eleven songs on this album the influences that surge to the forefront are many
fold, from the west coast sound of Steve Miller on opening number ‘After The
Last Eagle Flown’ to the blue collar rock of say a John Cougar Mellencamp, or
Bruce Springsteen on several of the early songs, to the soft balladeers of the
early fifties, in contrast the album concludes with a storming hard rock number
‘King Of The Night’ which could be straight off a Judas Priest album. There
is also a fine tribute to death itself, ‘The Last Goodbye’ and the many
ways it has to be dealt with, when somebody who means a lot to you dies, but
how also life needs to go on. The words are worth printing to put Ritchie
Newton’s feelings across.
“I remember when my darling finally said goodbye. She was
my love, my inspiration, she was everything to me.
She gave me a hard lesson on treating people you love.
Today we are best of friends and we will never say goodbye.
The deepest cut in life is the last goodbye”.
All of the music on this album is original compositions,
except for an emotional run through of Van Morrison’s ‘Sometimes We Cry’
which Ritchie Newton interprets with a fine spoken / sung version. A great
reading of a great man’s song. On other songs Ritchie Newton gives co-song
writing credits to his friends from Koh Samui. Perhaps in the middle the songs
become a little awash in emotion stretching the listeners taste in music a
little too far, but then it does give Ritchie Newton a chance to show the full
range of his talents. But I think he should stay as the saying goes a little
bit country and a little bit Rock ‘n’ Roll with a foot firmly placed in
both camps without going too far into the emotional balladry.
Ritchie Newton is no newcomer to the recording studio, this
being his fifth album release. The first two being from his native Germany,
‘Bad To The Bone’ (1994) and ‘Suchtig’ (1996), both recorded by a
slightly different Ritchie Newton that we know today. On the cover of each
album you get a long haired Ritchie dressed in leather and chains glaring out
at the world in defiance, and all the songs are of a very hard rock nature.
In 1997 Ritchie Newton came to Thailand and like so many
people fell in love with the country and its beautiful people, almost
immediately deciding to live here. It was obvious that a living was not going
to be made as a long haired rocker, so a complete change of image was required
and a living as an Elvis Presley impersonator was eked out. At first Ritchie
did not exactly earn a fortune, but valuable experience was earned the hard
way, and the word soon spread about the young man with the amazing voice. In
1999 Ritchie met Thailand’s number one Elvis impersonator Jaruk Viriyakit who
unselfishly invited the young man to join him on stage on one of his shows,
which was later shown on national TV. This was just the helping hand up the
ladder that Ritchie Newton needed.
Soon, Elvis Ritchie Newton was not only performing all over
Thailand, but Asia and Europe as well. During this time Ritchie was blessed
with having his first son, Rino Mangon, which perhaps helped to quieten down
the wild rebel in him. There also followed two very popular Elvis tribute
albums: one a studio album in (2002) and a Live album (2004) both recorded in
But it is now with the release of ‘All Due Respect’
(2005) that Ritchie has really come into his own. The songs are very strong
with perhaps ‘I Lost My Faith In You’ being the centrepiece and stand- out
track on the album, but throughout Ritchie’s exuberant character bursts
Ritchie Newton is by no means a selfish man, and although
there is no doubt that this is Ritchie’s album, there is still plenty of
space for Ritchie’s fellow musicians to shine. The piano, keyboard and bass
work of Carlito ‘Lito’ Vidal is an invaluable addition to the Newton sound,
Grathor lays down a solid rhythm section behind the drum kit, with Caesar F.
‘Jon Jon’ Miranda Jr chugging away on acoustic guitars. The backing vocals
of Viva Vinson and Diane Jane are stunning, particularly when they step up to
the spotlight and duet with Ritchie Newton. To top this off is some sterling
lead guitar work by Boonyarit ‘Noise’ Chaichana, who really rips up the six
strings when the opportunity arises. This lot must be amazing in concert.
The album was produced by Ritchie Newton himself at the
Sonic Arts Studio, Lamai Beach, Koh Samui, Thailand. To produce an album of
this fine quality they must be very fine studios indeed.
Ritchie Newton obviously has a great love for Thailand and
Koh Samui in particular. I leave you with the words of dedication on the cover
of the album:
“This album is dedicated to everything and everyone that
makes Koh Samui, Thailand what it is ... a tropical island paradise. In 1997 I
was at the crossroads of not only my career, but my life. Koh Samui had a
profound impact on me personally and as a result, my career. I dedicate this
album to the people of Samui; Thais, expat residents, and tourists; to the
magic of Samui.”