Collectables Records' two-fer Andy Williams/Sings Rodgers & Hammerstein combines on one CD Andy Williams' first two LP releases, first issued by Cadence Records. Andy Williams was really a compilation that gathered together the A- and B-sides of all six of the singles Williams had released in 1956 and 1957. The A-sides of each of these singles reached the charts: the first, "Walk Hand in Hand," broke Williams into the charts in the spring of 1956; "Canadian Sunset" just missed hitting number one, establishing him as an important new star; "Baby Doll," the title song of a movie, made the Top 40; "Butterfly" was a chart-topper and Williams' biggest ever hit single; "I Like Your Kind of Love" made the Top Ten; and "Lips of Wine" made the Top 20. To achieve this kind of singles success, Williams was forced to flirt with the kind of up-tempo rock styles then being popularized by Elvis Presley, and later Williams fans may be surprised to hear him in such a context, though in truth he does better with it than, say, Pat Boone did. It is the second album here, however, that gives us the real Andy Williams: 12 songs drawn from the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II Broadway musicals Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific, and The King and I. Backed by a full orchestra, this is the warm-voiced Williams who went on to prove himself a worthy successor to Bing Crosby and Perry Como in the 1960s, on record and on television. He evinces a complete understanding of the material and is in as good a voice as he ever was. Combining these two albums, different as they are, Collectables traces Williams' development from the awkward, earnest hitmaker of the mid-'50s to the modern crooner he became.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann