Jerry Vale

Jerry Vale Sings the Great Italian Hits

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Released as a companion piece to Columbia/Legacy's Greatest Hits collection, Jerry Vale Sings the Great Italian Hits features 18 Italian songs Vale recorded for Columbia Records during the '50s, '60s, and '70s. Like any Italian-American crooner, he learned these songs from his family and continually returned to them over the years. He didn't record a full album of Italian songs until 1962, when he cut two that year. Ten tracks from those two albums are featured here -- the remaining cuts date from 1955, 1966, 1967, and 1970. The remarkable thing about Sings the Great Italian Hits is that it all sounds as if it comes from the same recording session. That's how consistent Vale's performances are -- even though this disc contains sessions helmed by four different producers, it all holds together. Also, these 18 songs -- including "Innamorata (Sweetheart)," "Volare," "Ciao, Ciao, Bambina," "O Sole Mio," "Arrivederci, Roma," "Summertime in Venice," "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," and "More" -- are among his best vocal performances, illustrating what a fine vocalist he could be. For some tastes, the collection may be a little ballad-heavy, but this remains one of the very best Vale compilations released in the CD era.

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