Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae certainly had different backgrounds: his career evolved out of the vaudeville circuit and Carmen's career was based upon much more formal music training. Nevertheless, their union sparks more than just plain old harmony on this generous "two-fer" CD. The "two-fer" CD is called a "two-fer" because it contains all the tracks from their record album entitled Boy Meets Girl as well as the tracks from their album entitled Porgy and Bess.
The CD begins with the twelve tracks from the 1957 LP entitled Boy Meets Girl; and "Happy To Make Your Acquaintance" charms you with its beauty. Their excellent diction and enthusiasm electrifies this number and already you're dying for more.
You won't be disappointed as you listen along, either. The track set continues with the classic "Tea For Two." Sammy and Carmen sing the rarely heard opening verse and the musical arrangement makes great use of the piano and horns. Sammy also interjects clever, witty side comments to make this number even better than I've ever heard it! Excellent! "You're The Top" boasts a great musical arrangement and Sammy and Carmen sing this to perfection. Once again, the rarely heard opening verses enhance the beauty of this number. When Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae sing these numbers, you can tell they ARE in love--with their music, of course, as they were two of the very best in the business.
Carmen and Sammy infuse "Cheek To Cheek" with a high octane energy as they sing this number as if their lives were on the line! You become convinced no duo could perform "Cheek To Cheek" better than Sammy and Carmen can here.
Other gems include "A Fine Romance" which gets a royal yet playful treatment from Sammy and Carmen; they sing like artists scratching to be heard and we get the all the benefits on numbers like "A Fine Romance!" "Baby, It's Cold Outside" offers more of that magical chemistry between Sammy and Carmen; and the horns on the musical arrangement work very well.
The CD also gives us a bonus single track entitled "I Go For You." Carmen and Sammy sing this love ballad with panache and a playful togetherness that charms you instantly. The cha cha rhythm makes "I Go For You" even better, too!
Then the CD gives us the ten tracks from Sammy and Carmen's 1959 record album entitled Porgy And Bess. Carmen performs "Summertime" with great sensitivity in a fairly serious mood. Sammy then comes in on the next track entitled "A Woman Is A Sometime Thing." Sammy performs "A Woman Is A Sometime Thing" with great feeling and a degree of sensitivity I rarely hear. His voice is rich, warm and full of masculine charm. "My Man's Gone Now" features Carmen performing this ballad with strength as she sings of her terrific angst over her lost love. Carmen even makes her voice tremble to convey her vulnerability which, ironically, makes her interpretation of "My Man's Gone Now" all the more powerful and commanding.
Other great numbers from the Porgy And Bess track set include the touching and memorable "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" performed by Sammy Davis, Jr.; and "It Ain't Necessarily So" gives us Sammy singing at his best with a great male backup chorus. "I Loves You, Porgy" yields yet another sublime duet between Sammy and Carmen; "I Loves You Porgy" lets Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae sing of the love Porgy and Bess have for each other and how they may have to fight for their love and happiness together.
The CD ends with "Oh, Lawd, I'm On My Way." Sammy sings this uplifting ballad to perfection. The chorus in the background adds to the beauty of the number, too.
The liner notes feature an essay about Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae by Wil Haygood; and the photos of Sammy and Carmen together are very nicely done. You also get miniature replications of the artwork for both the front and the back of the record album covers, too.
I truly have difficulty imagining a world of entertainment without the fine contributions of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae. They sang passionately with all their hearts and souls. We are much better off for them sharing their fine artistry with us. I highly recommend this "two-fer" CD for fans of both Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae; and people who enjoy classic pop vocals will cherish this CD for many years to come.