Andy Williams

Warm and Willing

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Warm and Willing, Andy Williams' third Columbia records LP, followed Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes, a career-making effort that had given him a signature song. It was released as Williams embarked on his first regular-season variety series, The Andy Williams Show, in the fall of 1962, and the singer and his producer/arranger/conductor Robert Mersey seem to have decided that it should position him as a Frank Sinatra-like mainstream pop singer. Thus, they followed the Sinatra concept-album formula of creating a consistent mood, in this case a romantic one, and picking material mostly from the Great American Songbook of compositions written for Broadway musicals in the 1920s and '30s by the likes of George and Ira Gershwin, then giving them slow, string-filled arrangements over which Williams could croon in his breathy, intimate tenor voice. There were a few chronological exceptions, but they fit into the overall style. Frank Loesser's "Warm All Over" came from the 1956 musical The Most Happy Fella, and "If Ever I Would Leave You" from the 1960 musical Camelot instead of from the interwar era. The title song was an obscure tune written for the 1959 film A Private's Affair, and "Stranger on the Shore" was carried over from its use as a single the previous spring, when it served as a vocal cover to Mr. Acker Bilk's number one instrumental hit and got into the Top 40. As a primer for what Williams planned to bring into America's living rooms, Warm and Willing indicated that a singer who had flirted with many styles over the previous half-dozen years had settled down to something very familiar. His treatment of these standards was not definitive, by any means, but it was certainly effective, and Williams benefited from his association with such material.

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