Various Artists

Cigar Classics, Vol. 1: The Standards

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Now obviously, there's absolutely no such animal as "cigar smoking music," but never let it be said that a major record company (in this case, MCA, through their Hip-O imprint) would let a yuppie-derived social fad -- in this case, the rise of cigar smoking in the politically correct '90s -- go by without cobbling together a four-volume series to profit from it. The initial entry in this tenuous series is called The Standards and this volume is obviously targeted at the parents (and grandparents) of baby boomers, loaded up as it is with 14 tracks aimed at the AARP set and inveterate cigar smoker Milton Berle doing the liner notes. Actually, as an entry in the "pop vocal" section, this compilation holds up remarkably well, with Dooley Wilson's "As Time Goes By," The Four Aces' original "Mister Sandman," "Near You" by Francis Craig, "Takes Two To Tango" by Pearl Bailey, "Don't Fence Me In" by Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters, "Embraceable You" by Judy Garland, and "I Don't Want To Set The World On Fire" by the Ink Spots holding sway next to sweet big band sides like "Smoke Rings" by Glen Gray's Casa Loma Orchestra. Left-field additions also include Peggy Lee's sultry "Black Coffee," Louis Jordan's "Let The Good Times Roll," and the out-of-time-frame "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" by the Platters.

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