Sonny James

Sonny

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Sonny James was still courting the pop market very actively when he cut this, his first long-player. He uses the LP format to show off his range and vocal dexterity, countrifying (and even gently rocking up) a brace of pop numbers, by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, Rodgers & Hammerstein, et al., as well as doing smooth countrypolitan renditions of songs by Gene Autry, Floyd Tillman, et al. His loping country-style version of "Secret Love" is so beguiling that it's almost worth the rest of the album by itself, and the jaunty rendition of "Beg Your Pardon" that opens side two brushes up against Elvis Presley's more pop-oriented work of the same period, even if James could never be as threatening a presence as Elvis. But whatever the style embraced on a particular number, there's no dead weight on this oft-overlooked jewel from the early part of James' career, and it's well worth hearing anew more than 50 years later -- and it's got crisp, clear mono sound, from the closing days of that era on LP.

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