Mathis at a vocal peak,
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This review is from: Love Is Everything (Audio CD)
The two albums on this CD are so widely different I almost wonder why they were paired (it looks like proximity of recording dates). "Love Is Everything" is very much Johnny Mathis in 1964 going back to the style of his very successful collaborations with Glenn Osser about five years earlier. Anyone who has heard the Mathis album "Heavenly" from 1959 will instantly feel at home with the style here. However, there are a couple of surprises. "Young and Foolish" is extraordinarily powerfully sung with quite a different feeling to the wistful regret that the song's lyrics might suggest. And the song "One More Mountain" is an absolute gem.
What is disappointing is the sound. On some tracks, it is absolutely excellent. However, on a couple, particularly the opening track "Never Let Me Go" there is considerable loss of detail and I am surprised other detailed and knowledgeable reviews haven't mentioned this. It hit me so strongly when I put the CD on to play that I dug out my own CD copy of the mint condition LP that I have of this record, and confirmed that the track on this CD sounds muffled by comparison. I can only assume that someone was over enthusiastic with the noise reduction software or the master tape has suffered damage in the intervening years (the sound quality on other songs is so good, I am assuming that the remastering was from the original tapes). Other songs have considerable distortion (though this may be inherent in the original tapes).
"Broadway" is just superb - Mathis swings hard and makes songs associated very strongly with other artists "Once In A Lifetime", "Manhattan", "Hello Dolly" absolutely his own. I simply can't understand some of the negative comments directed at these cuts, but I suppose many people only like "romantic" Johnny Mathis.
The sound on Broadway is absolutely flawless - like listening to something done yesterday. I once heard that Johnny Mathis was (justifiably in my view) disappointed with the production of his LPs on the Mercury label. That isn't a criticism that can be levelled at his Broadway album, which sounds great.
All in all, a very good CD with just a few sound flaws. Oh, and, for once, some excellent, accurate and informative liner notes written by someone who clearly knows what they're talking about and put some effort in.