Collectables Records' two-fer reissue of the Andy Williams albums Andy Williams' Best (1962) and Under Paris Skies (1961) presents the best of the singer's early years in two different senses. Andy Williams' Best was Cadence Records' Williams greatest-hits LP, assembled from his biggest hit singles and recent singles releases after he departed for major label Columbia Records in 1961. It contains all seven of the Top Ten hits he scored on Cadence, 1956-1960, a stylistic mixture that includes lightly rocking numbers like "Butterfly" and "I Like Your Kind of Love" as well as the religious number "The Village of St. Bernadette" and the Hawaiian standard "The Hawaiian Wedding Song." The remaining five tracks consist of Williams' last three Cadence singles and two of their B-sides, none of them big hits, while some modest hits are missing, but this is still a good survey of Andy Williams the 1950s singles artist. By the end of his tenure at Cadence, Williams had evolved into an album-oriented balladeer, and Under Paris Skies, a concept album of French and French-oriented songs actually recorded in Paris, was his best Cadence release. Quincy Jones handled the baton at the sessions (which are amusingly described in Nat Hentoff's liner notes), giving the music a jazzy feel. Williams is no jazz singer, but he had done his homework on his interpretations and even his French accent (though most of the album is in English). The only thing wrong with pairing these two records on one CD is that there is such a leap from the reluctant rockabilly of "I Like Your Kind of Love" to the Gallic sophistication of "La Valse Des Lilas." Just think of it as two separate albums that together give you the best of the early Andy Williams, and it will be fine.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann