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Former Temptations lead singer to appear with Landau at Picnic with the Pops

Aug. 13, 2013 @ 06:14 PM

HUNTINGTON — When you’re cutting a new album it’s not unusual to get by with a little help from your friends — dueting on the record.
And Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., who is recording part of his new Christmas album in Huntington this week, is doing just that with some diverse special guests.

 One of those guests, Glenn Leonard, former lead singer of the legendary Temptations from 1975 to 1983, will not only be singing with Murphy on his new record, but also coming down to the Huntington Symphony Orchestra’s Picnic With the Pops concert Saturday at Harris Riverfront Park to help Murphy sing some of those Motown classics.

The evening's concert, featuring the 55-member-strong HSO under the direction of maestro Kimo Furumoto, is called The Great American Songbook and begins at 8 p.m.

Tables are sold out but a few other tickets remain. The cost is $20 for general admission and $40 for reserved (limited left). Kids ages 12 and under get in free. Tickets may be purchased at Mug and Pia and Simply Whisk both in downtown Huntington as well as online at www.huntingtonsymphony.org.

Huntington-based keyboardist Mark Smith, who has traveled the world as a member of Murphy’s band, said they’re excited for the symphony show which will be a full night of Murphy singing with the orchestra.

 Smith said the band’s excited about the collaboration with Leonard and Landau on Saturday night.
‘We just found out and it’s rather a pleasant surprise,” Smith said. “It is sort of a last minute thing that he is going to be in the area working with Landau on the upcoming album doing a Christmas duet and they talked him into coming and singing on all the Motown songs like, ‘Aint’ Too Proud to Beg,’ ‘Mustang Sally’ and ‘My Imagination.’ “

 Smith said they did a partial symphony concert in Wheeling for the WV150 celebration events.

“That was our first time with a full orchestra and it really worked well,” Smith said. “This time instead of a partial concert, there will be a full blown concert. The symphony will play a couple of tunes by themselves and then mostly its Landau.”

Gates open at 5 p.m. for picnics.

You'll want to get there early as HSO executive director Hogan Haas said they are expecting a record crowd to come out and see Murphy, the Columbia Records recording artist whose debut CD, "That's Life" went to No. 1 on the Billboard Jazz chart and who has performed all over the country from the California State Fair to the New York's famous Apollo Theatre, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas to the Marina Civic Center in Florida.

"We have a concert that will probably be the biggest in our history," said Haas. "He is going to be unforgettable, which is what he's singing, 'Unforgettable' how convenient."

Murphy, the 2011 "America's Got Talent winner" whose last performance in Huntington was back in November at the historic Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center for the Hospice of Huntington celebration, has kept his home in West Virginia in spite of a travel schedule that has taken him around the world and has included appearances on "The Today Show," "The View," and dozens of other shows and media outlets.

Some of the songs on the program include: "A Song for You," "Come Fly with Me," "Fly Me to the Moon," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "I've Got the World on My Shoulders," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "Kick in the Head," "Mustang Sally," "New York," "Night and Day," "Something Stupid," "That's Life," "Unforgettable" and "Witchcraft."