The definitive Jay & the Americans collection, Come a Little Bit Closer: The Best of Jay & the Americans, collects the highlights of the band's career with each of its lead singers, Jay Traynor and Jay Black. Traynor was the voice behind the group's first big hit, 1962's "She Cried," as well as singles like "Dawning," the melody of which cleverly mimics Edvard Grieg's "Morning Mood" and a laid-back version of "Tonight" from West Side Story. It's too bad that the Americans didn't wait to record that last song until Black had entered their fold. His impressive range and theatrical delivery made songs like "Only in America" sound like they were from some forgotten musical and made the band's version of "Crying" closely rival Roy Orbison's original. Along with the title track, "Come a Little Bit Closer" also features the hits "Cara Mia" -- one of the best showcases for Black's vocal prowess -- and "This Magic Moment," as well as sound-alike follow-ups like "Let's Lock the Door (And Throw Away the Key)," "Some Enchanted Evening," and "Sunday and Me." The group's attempts to graft folk-rock and psychedelic pop to their own sound on "(He's) Raining in My Sunshine" and "(We'll Meet in the) Yellow Forest" aren't entirely successful, but they are interesting -- perhaps more interesting than the band's better-known songs. Not all of the collection's 28 tracks are strictly necessary, but that's what makes it so comprehensive. Casual fans of Jay & the Americans might only need a dozen-track collection to satisfy their needs, but for the fans who need all the hits, some choice album tracks, and Italian and Spanish versions of "She Cried" and "Come a Little Bit Closer," this is the collection for them.
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