Tony Bennett

As Time Goes By [Box]

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This three-CD Tony Bennett collection is strictly a fanatics-only package. While most Bennett compilations feature a certain set of tracks and the Columbia box is more or less thorough, Disky is one of the stranger boxes -- with very dodgy packaging -- this writer has ever seen. For starters, other than track listings, there is actually no information given about recording or issue dates, if the takes were masters or alternates, or any such information. The three CDs each offer a different photograph of the singer from various stages in his career, which is apparently some kind of semiotic guide to what's included here, but it's lost on me. Each disc does offer two previously unreleased tracks -- hence the appeal to Bennett fanatics, perhaps -- and is chock to the rim with music. The unreleased tracks are: "Reflections" and "There'll Be Some Changes Made" on disc one, "Life Is Beautiful" and "Who Can I Turn To" on disc two, and the cuts "All Mine" and "The Bridge" on disc three. Also noteworthy is the Cole Porter medley at the end of disc three, a nearly 13-minute swinging romp through Porter's book which includes "Love for Sale," "Night and Day," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," and more. Another mark against this set is its sound quality. It feels as if the earlier tracks on discs one and two were mastered from either LPs or acetates, sounding like they are filtered through a tunnel to the point where the voice breaks up in the mix. Casual listeners or those looking to get a bargain collection on Bennett could do better elsewhere.

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