Merv Griffin

The Complete Columbia Recordings

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When Columbia Records signed the young Merv Griffin in 1953, they did so on the recommendation of Doris Day, but they were probably most interested in capitalizing on his new contract with Warner Bros. Film Studios. Griffin never turned out to be much of a box-office draw, and Columbia never struck gold with the artist. The Complete Columbia Recordings collects all of the sides he recorded for the label, adding one unreleased track, and excellent liner notes. Griffin's biggest hit, "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts," was recorded three years before joining Columbia, so what listeners are left with are a bunch of second-rate "Coconuts," wannabes, and dreamy, whisper-in-you-ear ballads. With a delivery that's serviceable but never compelling, it's easy to see that Columbia's biggest mistake was taking the singer away from the bands, and trying to sell him as a "personality." Most of the bland material included here wouldn't give any singer much to interpret, but to his credit, Griffin delivers both the sugary "A Handful of Dreams," and the ridiculous "Prunes" ("Love to hear my baby say, 'prunes'") with the same conviction. Numerous novelty numbers that are bizarre (at worst), and the appearances of Rita Farrell and Xavier Cugat keep things interesting. Most will be better off with a Vic Damone collection, but fans should be pleased with how thorough Griffin's brief stint at Columbia is presented.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:18
2 2:52
3 2:26
4 1:57
5 3:03
6 2:34
7 2:16
8 3:00
9 3:11
10 2:47
11 2:31
feat: Buddy Weed
feat: Buddy Weed
14 2:20
feat: Xavier Cugat
feat: Xavier Cugat
17 2:08
18 3:04
19 2:18
20 2:57
21 2:46
22 2:57
23 2:20
blue highlight denotes track pick