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Tony Bennett 2CD & DVD
Tony Bennett 2CD & DVD
Price: £11.32

5.0 out of 5 stars THIS TONY BENNETT 2CD+DVD IS A VALUE-FOR-MONEY WINNER!, 26 Jun 2014
This review is from: Tony Bennett 2CD & DVD (DVD)
Delta’s latest series of double CD sets also includes a DVD which makes it a real winner. Among them is this Tony Bennett anthology which contains fifty classic tracks extracted from albums as well as a few of his hits. Needless to say I LEFT MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO is the opening track and STRANGER IN PARADISE, RAGS TO RICHES, BLUE VELVET, BECAUSE OF YOU and BOULEVARD OF BROKEN DREAMS and PUT ON A HAPPY FACE represent Tony’s successful tried and true repertoire which has proved to be the popular basis of his concerts over the years. Without doubt, the added emphasis on album tracks will certainly tempt buyers unless they already have Delta’s Performance 38360 two-disc collection, TONY BENNETT SWINGS THE GREAT AMERICAN SONGBOOK released last year, as many songs are duplicated; leaving this latest release with just nine songs which did not appear on that compilation.

However, the inclusion of a colour mid-Seventies concert taped in Edmonton, Canada by ITV must be viewed as the main attraction as it coincided with Bennett‘s short-lived move from Columbia Records to Improv and MGM Records, with CHANGE, THIS CAN’T BE LOVE, MY FUNNY VALENTINE and O SOLE MIO reflecting material newly recorded for the new labels whilst he also clung to JUST IN TIME and many of the hits as listed above. It’s good to see the singer in great form and the video quality is quite acceptable allowing for technological enhancements improvements of recent years.

Priced at around a fiver, this 2CD +DVD is a real winner.

And Here She Is Again 1961-1962
And Here She Is Again 1961-1962
Price: £15.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The versatile actress/singer/dancer Ann-Margret made ripples during the early Sixties playing sex kittens in numerous movies so it was no surprise her RCA albums would enjoy a similar measure of success with her later move into Las Vegas and television Specials keeping her name on the billboards.

This triple-treat of albums is certainly welcome with AND HERE SHE IS (1961) her winning introduction to the world of vinyl, and with excellent arrangements the singer brings sex appeal to bear on those home hi-fi systems. From the opening BABY WON'T YOU PLEASE COME HOME? through to LOVIE JOE, it's hard to resist oldies PLEASE BE KIND, MORE THAN YOU KNOW and I SHOULD CARE as sultry ballads whilst CHICAGO and BYE BYE BLUES are easy swingers with KANSAS CITY and TEACH ME TONIGHT sliced with bluesy elements.

ON THE WAY UP (1962) delivers a more rhythm and blues selection to the fore with Ann-Margret and an authentic Nashville sound having fun on such favourites as OH LONESOME ME, FEVER, HEARTBREAK HOTEL and I JUST DON`T UNDERSTAND - the latter hitting the Billboard Charts when released as a single.

THE VIVACIOUS ONE (1962) offers a playful and varied pop-styled diet, with standards THERE'LL BE SOME CHANGES MADE, PLEASE DON'T TALK ABOUT ME WHEN I'M GONE, BEGIN THE BEGUINE and even INKA DINKA DOO but all revised for a more contemporaneous thrusting treatment; sharing track space with THE ROCK AND ROLL WALTZ, THIRTEEN MEN and jazz classic SENOR BLUES, with JIM DANDY enjoying some lower-chart success when released as a single.

Adding the singer's non-LP extracted singles is welcome as are the chosen triple-treat Ann-Margret featured songs from the movie remake of STATE FAIR (1962)and even better four songs including HOW LOVELY TO BE A WOMAN and THE BEST IS YET TO COME extracted from a rare album she shared with Della Reese and Kitty Kallen.

Without doubt, Ann-Margret proved to be a vocal force to be reckoned with and with excellent sound, notes and attractive presentation, this welcome release will satisfy her reputed cult following as well as those who collect recordings by girl vocalists.

All I Have To Do Is Dream
All I Have To Do Is Dream
Price: £8.97

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Dishy Richard Chamberlain's claim to fame was initially due to his success in the DR. KILDARE television series and having established a devoted small-screen fan base, he followed other TV stars like Patty Duke, Vince Edwards and George Maharis into the recording studio in order to consolidate his versatility and satisfy his enthusiasm and belief he could succeed as a singer.

This Jasmine collection combines two of the singer's albums, with RICHARD CHAMBERLAIN SINGS allowing the opportunity to emote through oldie ballads in a smooth easy-going style reminiscent of Pat Boone but with the chosen material veering towards standards rather than any attempt at rock `n' roll. I HADN'T ANYONE BUT YOU and I'LL BE AROUND are examples but latching on to the more recent TRUE LOVE, LOVE ME TENDER and the Dr. Kildare theme-song THREE STARS WILL SHINE TONIGHT obviously helped make the album more current. Conversely, ALL I DO IS DREAM OF YOU is a swinger.

JOY IN THE MORNING delivers more of the same with GEORGIA ON MY MIND, STELLA BY STARLIGHT and I CAN DREAM CAN'T I? vying with the more contemporary DEAR HEART, TRY TO REMEMBER, HUSH HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE and APRIL LOVE - the latter number obviously intended as a cover of Pat Boone's hit version. ROME WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU, BLUE GUITAR and THEY LONG TO BE CLOSE TO YOU are early examples of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David song-writing partnership with Chamberlain's slow but sure version of the latter song predating The Carpenters Seventies hit version.

With a few added singles and four rare Irving Berlin songs devoted to the songwriter, this is the perfect way to catch up on an actor/singer who is still active but best recalled by his success during the early Sixties. Excellent sound and fulsome notes make this a notable release.

Listen / I'll Keep You Satisfied / Little Children / Trains And Boats And Planes
Listen / I'll Keep You Satisfied / Little Children / Trains And Boats And Planes
Price: £13.39

4.0 out of 5 stars RECALLING THE HITS OF BILLY J. KRAMER & THE DAKOTAS., 10 Jun 2014
An early member of the Merseybeat invasion, Billy J. Kramer shared the same manager (Brian Epstein) as The Beatles so had access to some Lennon & McCartney songs. Professionally teamed with the Manchester-based Dakotas, young Billy made impact on television on account of his personable vocal talent and photogenic visual appeal.

Of the six Top Twenty hits achieved, DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET? BAD FOR ME, I’LL KEEP YOU SATISFIED and FROM A WINDOW were Lennon/McCartney compositions with the remaining LITTLE CHILDREN and TRAINS AND BOATS AND PLANES written respectively by two other song-writing teams - Shuman/McFarland and the upcoming Bacharach/David. All are included in the four albums on this two-disc anthology - LISTEN (1963), I’LL KEEP YOU SATISFIED (1964), LITTLE CHILDREN (1964), TRAINS AND BOATS AND PLANES (1963) produced by iconic record producer, George Martin.

Additionally THE TWELFTH OF NEVER, GREAT BALLS OF FIRE, BEAUTIFUL DREAMER, DA DOO RON RON, DANCE WITH ME, UNDER THE BOARDWALK and TENNESSEE WALTZ are among covers of hits by others or updated oldies which give additional spontaneity to the mix and it should be noted that any duplications of songs between albums has meant the use of “live” alternatives. I note another reviewer has reservations regarding individual album contents and use of mono/stereo tracks but listening to such nostalgic Sixties pop, and recalling the brief tenure of Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, I found this collection very entertaining.

Accompanied by effusive notes, original album graphics and liner notes plus photographs, this release will be snapped up by devout fans, obsessive collector's and those who still relate to or were involved in the cosmic shift in the axis of popular music during the crowded world of Sixties pop.

Herman's Hermits / Both Sides Of / There's A Kind Of Hush / Mrs Brown
Herman's Hermits / Both Sides Of / There's A Kind Of Hush / Mrs Brown
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £11.92

Herman's Hermits were almost as successful in the UK as The Beatles and Rolling Stones with ten Top Ten hits as well as a further seven Top Twenty singles augmenting their popularity. The group achieved a similar breakthrough in the USA with their catalogue of happy, catchy tunes making immediate impact, aided by the group's attractive close harmony vocal style which was smoother and more compatible than their rivals. This was especially true of their chosen easy listening songs which appealed to a wider audience, although deeper elements were often at work for the youngsters. However, it has to be said their cute, charismatic and mischievous Manchester-born front-man, Peter Noone had much to do with supplying the necessary feel-good factor whenever the lads appeared on television and in movies during the colourful Sixties.

This anthology of the group’s first four complete albums (HERMAN‘S HERMITS (1965), BOTH SIDES OF HERMAN‘S HERMITS (1966), THERE‘S A KIND OF HUSH ALL OVER THE WORLD (1967) and the songs of the film MRS BROWN YOU’VE GOT A LOVELY DAUGHTER (1966) fully reveal the group’s likable traits as well as recalling its brief six-year tenure, with HEARTBEAT, MRS BROWN YOU HAVE A LOVELY DAUGHTER, LEANING ON A LAMP POST, I’M HENERY THE EIGHTH I AM, DANDY, NO MILK TODAY and THERE’S A KIND OF HUSH amongst the hits which peaked although look elsewhere for the earlier charting singles as they preceded Herman’s Hermits move to albums. However these albums confirm there’s much to gain from random songs - covers of oldies/hits by others JEZEBEL, TRAVELIN’ LIGHT, STORY OF MY LIFE, OO-EE BABY, THE END OF THE WORLD and the partial French lyrics of JE SUIS ANGLAIS which add flavour and remaining choices well suited to the style of the group who in their unique way reflect an optimistic chunk of the swingin’ Sixties.

Accompanied by effusive notes, original album graphics and liner notes plus photographs, this release will be snapped up by devout fans, obsessive collector's and those who still relate to or were involved in the cosmic shift in the axis of popular music during the crowded world of Sixties pop.

Viva Cugat! / The Best Of Cugat
Viva Cugat! / The Best Of Cugat
Price: £8.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT CUGAT DOUBLE ALBUM COLLECTION!, 9 Jun 2014
That champion provider of Latin American music, Xavier Cugat (1900-1990), is well-represented by this two-album stereo collection which was his introduction to the spacious world of multi-channel recordings introduced at the end of the Fifties with his orchestra ideally suited to such sound innovation. VIVA CUGAT! recorded in 1961, perfectly captures the exotic JUNGLE CONCERTO, PERFIDIA, SIBONEY and POINCIANA; describes the Latin delights of ANNA and MARIA ELENA whilst that location known as THE ISLE OF CAPRI is remarkably inviting.

THE BEST OF CUGAT recorded the very same year, sounds even better with explosive ear-catching instrumental and choral effects in the line-up which hurls itself towards TABOO, AMAPOLA, EL CUMBANCHERO and MISIRLOU whilst straying further a field for the classic TEA FOR TWO amongst a dozen updates finely orchestrated to catch the ear with sheer imaginative power. Six bonus tracks from 1962 allow the Latin beat to work on big-band classics; amongst them CHATTANOOGA CHOO CHOO and IN THE MOOD.

Sepia’s great remastering ensures these tracks sound better than they ever did on their original vinyl outing. Quite the finest Latin orchestral collection I can recall. Can’t say better than that!

Hits Around the World
Hits Around the World
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Hits Around the World (Audio CD)
There are numerous Neil Sedaka collections available especially those containing his hits with this engaging compilation following the well-worn groove by including OH CAROL, STUPID CUPID, BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO amongst songs that reached the US/UK Charts during the late Fifties and early Sixties. However, they precede fifteen songs Sedaka recorded in various languages; neatly justifying this diverse collection’s claim to its title - HITS AROUND THE WORLD.

Whatever the language, Sedaka proficiently ensures he smoothly emotes in whatever lingo he intends:- Portuguese (A FELICIDADE), Spanish (NO ME MIENTAS MAS/DON’T LEAD ME ON and five other translations including CALENDAR GIRL, BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO and HAPPY BIRTHDAY SWEET SIXTEEN), Italian (FINCHE’ VIRO’/AS LONG AS I LIVE and three others), German (CRAZY DAISY/LITTLE DEVIL and one other) and Hebrew (OH CAROL plus one other). It’s all fascinating stuff and as one who enjoys language alternatives I applaud Sepia’s continuing dip into such rare world pop which also includes a Connie Francis compilation

Ballads of the Kings - The Songs of Presley and Sinatra
Ballads of the Kings - The Songs of Presley and Sinatra
Price: £7.99

With three-dozen albums to their credit, The Johnny Mann Singers were in competition with the equally proficient Ray Conniff Singers. Always tuneful and well-produced, their fame hit its height with the 1968 Grammy-winning hit single UP UP AND AWAY which became their signature tune.

Having previously been backing rock ‘n’ roll singers Johnny Burnette, Eddie Cochran etc., the group obviously decided to look further afield and produce their own choral-styled tributes to other singers - in this case Elvis and Sinatra. Recorded in 1961 THE SONGS OF ELVIS PRESLEY covered Presley’s best-known hits up until that period with ARE YOU LONESOME TONIGHT?, I WANT YOU I NEED YOU I LOVE YOU, LOVE ME TENDER and IT’S NOW OR NEVER amongst the choices.

The following year it was Sinatra’s turn and it must have proved easy to assemble a dozen “Ol’ Blue Eyes” favourites and include ALL THE WAY, YOUNG AT HEART, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS and NANCY (WITH THE LAUGHING FACE).

Both albums are well arranged, entertaining and welcome examples of smooth early Sixties popular easy listening music with Sepia’s usual sound remastering ensuring the best quality outcome.

The Sound Of Bossa Nova: Brazil - World Cup 2014
The Sound Of Bossa Nova: Brazil - World Cup 2014
Price: £5.30

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
With Brazil currently on everyone’s mind, there’s been a plethora of newly-released collections devoted to the country’s music, proving beyond doubt that of all the Sixties music styles, the bossa nova was surely the most innovative. Meaning "new trend" the exciting fusion of jazz and samba rhythms as played by Brazilian instrumentalists soon expanded to accompanying soft and sensual vocals which attracted the attention of Sinatra, Doris Day, Eydie Gorme and others in the USA who devoted complete albums to the new sound with the compositions of Antonio Carlos Jobim and others favourably received.

This bewitching mix of Brazilian originals and US jazz recreations may often sound raw and less up-front in pre-translation, but taking their time to travel from their native homeland to Los Angeles and New York recording studios, emerged courtesy of the full-light smoother jazz instrumentation of such luminaries as Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd, Cannonball Adderley, Bud Shank, Walter Wanderley and Barney Kessel etc. DINDI, SAMBA DE ORFEU, CORCOVADO, INSENSATEZ, DESAFINADO, O PATO (THE DUCK), OUTRA VEZ etc.will be immediately familiar whilst a few Brazilian vocalists (including Sylvia Telles and Elisabeth Cardoso) are very welcome and show how these songs initially developed their power on the way to outright popularity. Conversely, LOVE FOR SALE, STRING OF PEARLS, SWEET GEORGIA BROWN and SATIN DOLL are prime examples of how American standards were revitalized to reflect samba rhythms.

This toe-tapping two-disc anthology of forty-seven bright and breezy bossa novas will bring both joy and light to the listener when the sun fails to shine during a typical British summer. It’s highly recommended for diversity and great sound.

Seaside Special - Kiss Me Quick!
Seaside Special - Kiss Me Quick!
Price: £6.98

This welcome sequel to last years’ equally enjoyable three-disc compilation celebrating times past when all the major UK summer resorts booked variety shows for their pier or seafront theatres in order to entertain the incoming holiday makers. You could be sure Blackpool, Bournemouth, Great Yarmouth and Torquay ensured the most popular comedians, instrumentalists and pop vocalists filled their theatres week after week. All was well until Brits decided Spain and other exotic destinations offered sun, sand and sea well within financial reach thanks to cheaper package-deal air fares, leaving just the BBC's weekly Seventies show, SEASIDE SPECIAL to act as a reminder of previous decades before seaside variety’s slow demise.

With three discs containing seventy-five tracks, the emphasis is on those comedians who fortunately waxed a few discs (Ken Dodd, Bruce Forsyth, Charlie Drake, Terry Scott, Eric Sykes & Hattie Jacques etc.), chart-busting pop singers (Cliff Richard, Helen Shapiro, Joe Brown, Lonnie Donegan etc.), established instrumentalists (Russ Conway, George Chisholm, Kenny Ball, Chris Barber etc) and vocal favourites (Matt Monro, Frankie Vaughan, Petula Clark, Shirley Bassey, Joan Regan, Anne Shelton, Tessie O'Shea, Harry Secombe etc.) with all adding their magical touch of nostalgia to the mix.

Even after the delights of the first collection, there’s still so much enjoy on this follow-up compilation and if the inclusion of US stars Eartha Kitt and Ketty Lester somewhat push the concept, I’m not complaining!

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