Andy Williams

Andy Williams Sings Steve Allen

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After the breakup of the Williams Brothers in 1952, new solo singer Andy Williams caught a break when television host Steve Allen made him a regular performer on the early programs of the late-night talk show The Tonight Show. Williams performed on the series for over two years before going on to a contract with Cadence Records in 1956 and after that his own TV hosting work. He therefore owed a lot to Allen, and this album constituted payback. Allen, an entertainment jack-of-all-trades, had carved out a modest career as a songwriter that included his hit theme for the 1956 movie Picnic, included here, as well as songs recorded by the likes of Nat "King" Cole ("Impossible") and Margaret Whiting ("Spring in Maine"). So, this was not entirely a charity project for Williams and Cadence, though it probably was not one of their big sellers. Allen wrote in a sophisticated pop-jazz style, and conductor Alvy West gave the songs appropriately smoky, late-night settings heavy on tinkling pianos and bluesy horn parts, with some restrained strings. This was yet another opportunity for Williams to show off his diversity, and though he couldn't ever be called a jazz singer, he sounded typically comfortable putting across the songs' slyly romantic lyrics in the melodies' minor keys. The result was a fine mood album and a good addition to his quickly growing album catalog.

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