Respecting, Refining, and Reviving
Duc Tuan’s Doi Mat Nguoi Son Tay is a perfect example of how to cover classic tunes: respecting the original composition, refining the vocal presentation, and reviving the musical production. With that in mind, Duc Tuan brings back Pham Dinh Chuong’s works to both the old and new generations. The two epic pieces, “Tieng Dan Chai” and “Hoi Trung Duong,” alone are worth the value of the album. His versatility allows him to move easily between slow- to up-tempo traditional folktales. The opening “Nua Hon Thuong Dau” kicks off with a scoring of the “Phantom of the Opera” to boast up the liveliness, and then Duc Tuan’s iced-out vocals and gleaming orchestration repolished the old song. Thanh Thuy’s pre-1975 version of “Xom Dem” is an ageless tune I am still holding on to, but Duc Tuan’s version, which accompanied by a simple, crisp rumba rhythm, is intriguing enough to keep side by side. Despite its overwhelming popularity, I have yet to find a stimulating version of “Mong Duoi Hoa,” and Duc Tuan’s rendition is no exception.