Sammy Davis, Jr.

As Long as She Needs Me

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As Long as She Needs Me (1963) is a fruitful union between Sammy Davis, Jr. and arrangers Marty Paich and Morty Stevens. With the singer's inimitable sense of style and flair, Davis unleashes another dozen classic reworkings of pop standards and melodies from Broadway and the silver screen. Paich's scores incorporate two distinct backing ensembles, his own ten-piece Dek-tette of heavyweight studio musicians, as well as a larger orchestral aggregate. The title composition, taken from Lionel Bart's Oliver! (1962), is enhanced by a lush accompaniment, showcasing the strength and conviction of Davis' dramatic and emotive interpretation. The same holds for "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," which is lifted by a refined chorus (likewise heard on the revisitation of another Rodgers & Hammerstein tune, "We Kiss in a Shadow" from 1956's The King and I). Conversely, "There Is Nothing Like a Dame," "Falling in Love with Love," and "The Tender Trap" are given hard-hitting and thoroughly pulse-quickening readings, allowing the vocalist to let loose with his trademark passion and high energy. Interestingly, the swinging Stevens collaborations "The Tender Trap," "Back in Your Own Back Yard," and "Out of This World" are from Davis' incipient Reprise sessions some two years earlier. "Bye Bye Blackbird" would become one of Davis' most revered catalog entries thanks to this ultra-hip and finger-snappin' overhaul. He similarly breathes new life into the jazzy and upscale redux of "Song from Two for the Seesaw (A Second Chance)," crooning above Paich's scintillating backdrop. The platter concludes with the tale of Honey Brown on the grooving and rhythmically propulsive "There Was a Tavern in the Town." Although the song commences in a low-key and unassuming manner, it isn't long before Davis pounces, turning it into a suitably show-stopping affair.

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