Bobby Vinton

Take Good Care of My Baby

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Mort Goode's liner notes stating "Vinton is virtual" say absolutely nothing about Bobby Vinton the singer, produced here by industry veteran Billy Sherrill. And these are the only three names credited on this Epic release, where Vinton remakes actor/singer Bobby Vee's only number one hit from 1961, slowing the pace seven years later in 1968 and landing it in the Top 35. Vinton had four hits in 1968, and the title track is the only one included on this 11-song collection. The music is what you expect from the crooner, the performance on "Serenade of the Bells" as flawless as "To Be Alone" or any of the other tracks. Not as prestigious as Johnny Mathis, he had twice the number ones as Mathis (four) and 11 more Top 40 hits. The difference is clear when listening to this disc, though. The songs are repetitive and the vocal performance similar on each one. Which isn't to say that's necessarily bad -- the record is listenable from start to finish; it's just so passive that repeated spins aren't mandatory. Producer Billy Sherrill's co-write, "Forget Me Not," is nice enough, but a hit collection by this artist is far more essential to fans than songs that sound like clones of the chart-climbers. Mathis knew enough to do as many contemporary tunes as his fans could handle, and "Bobby Vinton Singing the Hits of Bobby Vee" would have been far more interesting than hearing the Vinton co-authored "Little Barefoot Boy" or "To Think You've Chosen Me." The title track is the keeper, and the fact that the co-writer of Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man" is the album's producer makes it more than just an afterthought. Now a cover of that gem could really have turned some heads in 1968 -- and given this album a special place in history -- but this BV wasn't as adventurous as Johnny Mathis would be with the subtle and sly dabbling on his Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head adventure.

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