The 2nd part of Bear Family's Complete Frankie Laine career retrospective follows the great singer and his producer, Mitch Miller, to Columbia Records, where they went together after their successful stint at Mercury (chronicled in Bear Family's first boxed set). This one presents Frankie's complete recordings from 1951-1955, some 160 songs (on 6 CDs) that include all those great duets with Jimmy Boyd, Doris Day, the Four Lads and, of course, Jo Stafford. A hardcover book includes an extensive discography and interviews with Jo Stafford, Frankie's long-time accompanist, Al Lerner, and Frankie himself. Deluxe box (LP size, over 1 inch thick). 2002.
Frankie is one of the legends of the British music scene, with a powerful voice that has drawn numerous comparisons. His distinctive voice and song writing ability have earned him the respect of his peers and that is reflected in the number of world renowned artists, including Rod Stewart, Joe Cocker, Etta James, Cher, The Everly Brothers and Ray Charles, who have covered his songs…
What one feels about this 27-song CD will depend entirely upon one's tolerance for soft rock and bubblegum pop. Pickettywitch were huge in England for about two years, and remain one of the more fondly remembered pop/rock groups of their period, mostly by virtue of singer Polly Browne, who has maintained a fandom for 30 years. The sound is soft rock in a modified group context, similar to the kind of music generated by the Partridge Family, the Cowsills, and, on a two-dimensional level, the Archies in America, slick and smooth, catchy and unthreatening; their version of Paul Simon's "Sound of Silence" is something akin to what the New Seekers' rendition might've been like, while "Days I Remember," which came close to charting in America, is akin to the Carpenters trying their hand at blue-eyed soul.
Compilation album of 22 songs, 21 of which are adaptations of various arrangements and compositions for tango music, with inadequate added (bonus) of a pasodoble. Most of the threads correspond to well known tangos, some with dual instrumental version. Overall are instrumental arrangements with European style orchestrations. It's to emphasize the uniqueness of the interpretation of the great Louis Armstrong in the song 'That Lucky Old Sun'.
While this two-disc compilation is hardly definitive, it does contain many, many classic performances and it lists for a good price. There are original recordings of "That's Amore," "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," "Lucky Song," "Georgia on My Mind," "That Lucky Old Sun," "Under the Bridges of Paris," and a few dozen others. What a compilation like this reveals about an artist like Dean Martin is simply how talented he was. Sure, there are the sappy Italian songs and the saloon songs, but there are also country songs, pop standards, and jazz tunes thrown in this mix, and like his pal Frank, Martin could sing anything he wanted to at will. Memories Are Made of This portrays how gifted he was, and makes even the most casually curious listener want to dig for more. That is the function of a good compilation, and this one merits attention for that alone.
Allmusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Standards is a 17-track collection of Ray Charles' versions of classic pop songs, culled recordings he made for Atlantic, ABC/Paramount, ABC/TRC, and Crossover/Atlantic between 1959 and 1977. There are a handful of hits – "Georgia on My Mind," "Ruby," "That Lucky Old Sun," "Without Love (There Is Nothing)," "Makin' Whoopee" – but the collection concentrates on little-known album tracks and live cuts. Although the steady stream of repackages from Rhino can be a little overwhelming, the idea behind Standards is attractive, and it's executed well – it's nice to have all these songs on one collection, even if the live cuts can be a little distracting. Certainly, anyone looking for a collection of mellow ballads from Charles will not be disappointed by this set.