7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Sammy's most amazing live performance,
This review is from: Sounds of '66 (Audio CD)
The Sounds of '66 is a recording that all Sammy Davis Jr. fans simply must have in their collections. Sammy Davis Jr. is in perfect form, backed by world-famous drummer Buddy Rich and his orchestra live in Las Vegas. This was Sammy's natural environment, and he put on what is perhaps the show of his life that night. World-class entertainers from all over the Vegas strip packed themselves into the Sands lounge in the middle of the night, after all of the main shows were over, and reveled in a jam session the likes of which may never be seen again. After Sammy's hip introduction, he bores right into Come Back to Me at fever pitch and never slows down until the show is over. It is unbelievable to see that this CD is not readily available, but a couple of these recordings can be found on Sammy's two Greatest Hits albums, the incredibly enjoyable The Birth of the Blues and Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone (which really showcases the talent of Buddy Rich on drums). Although this live version of Come Back to Me is the best I've ever heard, the studio recording can be found elsewhere. I've lost count of how many versions of What Kind of Fool Am I? are available, as Sammy never seemed to sing this song the same way twice, but this live recording features one of the better ones.
All of that being said, one of the many great things about The Sounds of '66 is the fact that a number of these tracks aren't readily available on other albums, at least not that I know of. I can't remember which female artist made I Know a Place famous, but Sammy truly brings the song to life in a wholly new form. What Did I Have That I Don't Have? is perhaps my favorite song on this CD; it starts a little slowly, but Sammy fills it with enough passion and emotion that it is all but flammable by the time he gets through with it. Once in Love With Amy and If It's the Last Thing I Do are great songs I have not heard elsewhere. I never cared for What the World Needs Now Is Love until I heard Sammy sing it; he wails, producing a much more animated song than Burt Bacharach could even conceive of. One of my all-time favorite songs is What Now My Love?, and Sammy provides rather a unique version of it here. The song starts slowly, sounding almost like uninspired lounge music, but Sammy quickly picks up the tempo and energy, eventually drawing the most vocal audience response of the night. One selection that is admittedly rather strange is Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead from The Wizard of Oz. This ain't your Munchkins' version because Sammy belts this thing out and makes it a truly hip experience.
This live album is more than deserving of five stars, but I do see a couple of minor problems with it. For one thing, it is relatively short, adding up to just over thirty four minutes; I should note that this is the most intense, action-packed thirty four minutes I've ever experienced, though. To my great consternation, I found that tracks six and seven were listed backwards, with What the World Needs Now is Love actually preceding Once in Love With Amy; I will never understand how mistakes like that can happen on a released CD. Finally, this CD does not contain a full and complete recording of the concert. There are gaps in between most of the songs, so I'm not sure whether or not the songs are presented in the order Sammy performed them, nor can I keep myself from wondering what other musical magic was made that night that was not released for posterity. Given the strength of the performance as a whole, though, these are minor quibbles that have absolutely nothing to do with Sammy, who threw himself completely into all of these songs. No Sammy Davis Jr. collection is complete without The Sounds of '66.