Dean Martin

Dino/You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me

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Collectors' Choice Music opted to skip over one of Dean Martin's albums, Sittin' on Top of the World, and pair early 1972's Dino with late 1973's You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me in its series of two-fer CD reissues of Martin's long out of print Reprise LPs. Presumably, the reason was that, while Sittin' on Top of the World returned him to singing Tin Pan Alley standards (as did his final Reprise album, 1978's Once in a While), You're the Best Thing contained some contemporary material and used at least some of the country-pop approach of Dino. Fair enough. Martin's recording career slowly petered out at Reprise in the 1970s due to repetition and neglect, for which both the singer and his producer, Jimmy Bowen, can be blamed. Dino was a tired collection of mediocre country material notable only for a couple of Kris Kristofferson songs. You're the Best Thing had a little bit of everything, including the title song, a country hit by Ray Price when Martin recorded it, and soon to be a pop hit for Gladys Knight & the Pips instead of Martin. There were also pop standards, an R&B number ("You Better Move On"), a recent pop hit ("Tie a Yellow Ribbon ['Round the Old Oak Tree]"), and even an Italian song ("Amor Mio"). The point seemed to be to display the range of Martin's talent at this late stage. Nearly three decades later, new listeners are liable to find the two discs an uneven jumble of old favorites in a variety of styles and quite a few mediocre country songs.

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