Andy Williams

25 All-Time Greatest Hits 1956-1961: The Cadence Years

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

The title presents a somewhat mixed message: If this album has his 25 all-time greatest hits, it wouldn't cover just his 1956-1961 Cadence years. And sure enough, this couldn't be considered Williams' best greatest-hits collection, as it contains only material from those Cadence years and none from his subsequent hit-filled decade at Columbia. That carping done with, if you want a survey of his Cadence output, this is the best collection for that purpose, though it's not significantly different from the 1996 Varese Sarabande compilation The Best of the Cadence Years, other than dropping "Beyond the Reef" and adding six other tracks. Williams' Columbia hits might be a little better known, but he was indeed successful at Cadence. All of these 25 songs were released on singles (a handful after his early-'60s departure from the label), and about two-thirds made the charts, half a dozen making the Top Ten. Musically, it's lightweight and erratic, however, veering from good crooning standard pop to some pretty dull easy listening. Crooning is what he's known for, but actually some of the better cuts are those in which he swings to some degree, like "Canadian Sunset," "Butterfly" (actually a cover of a superior rockabilly hit by Charlie Gracie), the giddy male-female duet of "I Like Your Kind of Love," Lionel Bart's "Do You Mind?," and the mambo "House of Bamboo." On another trip altogether, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" manages to drain all of the country out of the Hank Williams standard with its schmaltzy orchestration.

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