Steve Lawrence

All My Love Belongs to You

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Hardly a compact overview, All My Love Belongs to You is an insight into pop star career-building in the early '50s, or an essay on "what do you do with a new crooner coming off a near-novelty hit?" In this case the singer is Steve Lawrence and the near-novelty hit is "Poinciana," an exotic, tropical-lite number with "the rhythmic, savage beast" growing inside it. The tracks all come Lawrence's pre-Eydie Gorme days, which besides "Poinciana" are hitless and forgotten. What makes the collection desirable are the wild and dreamy orchestrations from Dewey Bergman and the liner notes by Joseph Lanza, author of the great Vanilla Pop: Sweet Sounds from Frankie Avalon to Abba and Elevator Music. One of the great champions of exotica and kitsch, Lanza makes Lawrence's search for his defining style a lot deeper than the faux-jazz and maudlin ballads that pepper that album should warrant, but his appreciation of Bergman is spot on and infectious. As far as the singer himself, the jaunty "You Can't Hold a Memory in Your Arms" joyfully points to his Vegas future and it's hard to believe his croon on "Remember Me" didn't give him big hit number two. Most of this bland and gimmicky material would be nothing without the context, but lounge lovers and historians will appreciate the championing liner notes and in depth insight they rarely receive from lesser efforts.

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