Dick Van Dyke

Songs I Like

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Most people don't think of Dick Van Dyke as a singer, foremost, but he sang in a number of movie musicals (Bye Bye Birdie, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and recorded singles for the Jamie label as early as 1961. Songs I Like, from 1963, is his sole album that is neither a cast album nor a soundtrack, although he does sing "Put on a Happy Face" from Bye Bye Birdie. Recorded live in Hollywood, and produced by Enoch Light, the album features 13 songs, most of which are pop oldies and show tunes. The "live" billing refers to the album having been recorded live in a studio, not in front of an audience. The Ray Charles Singers provide welcome vocal support -- Van Dyke succeeded in musicals because he was fun to watch and could carry a tune, but he isn't the world's greatest singer, so the chorus makes a valuable contribution. Van Dyke would have been better served by novelty songs that allowed him to use his comedic talents, but as it is, "Ain't We Got Fun" and "They All Laughed" are as funny as the material gets (which isn't very). Songs I Like is one of those disappointing celebrity vocal records that isn't good enough to be genuinely enjoyable, but is too competently performed to be embarrassing.

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