Connie Francis

Cocktail Connie: Connie Francis Sings and Swings Lounge Classics

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Connie Francis recorded so many pop trifles during her long career that it's easy to forget what a hip and effervescent singer she could be when paired with the right material and collaborators. Cocktail Connie: Connie Francis Sings and Swings Lounge Classics rights that wrong, assembling 18 surprisingly fresh and sophisticated tracks recorded for MGM during the mid-'60s. A significant chunk of the compilation originates via 1968's Sings Bacharach and David -- arranger Claus Ogerman's interpretations of songs like "Walk on By," "This Girl's in Love with You," and "Do You Know the Way to San Jose" augment the melodies' jazz-like intricacies to create subdued, richly textured settings that perfectly complement Francis' uncharacteristic vocal restraint, complete with nuanced orchestration worthy of Burt Bacharach himself. No less impressive are pairings with arrangers like Don Costa, Marty Paich, and Benny Golson, all of whom push Francis in welcome new creative directions spanning from bossa nova to sunshine pop.