Como Swings and For the Young at Heart are chronologically consecutive albums in Perry Como's discography, not counting the holiday collection Seasons Greetings, so it makes sense for Collectables Records to have combined the 1959 and 1961 releases on one CD in its series of Como two-fers. But stylistically they are very different records. Como Swings was the singer's attempt to make an album like one of Frank Sinatra's popular up-tempo LPs of the 1950s, such as Songs for Swingin' Lovers. Arrangers Joe Lipman and Jack Andrews wrote a bunch of charts that aped the sound Billy May got for Sinatra, full of blaring horn fanfares and loud percussion. Song after song features these aggressive orchestrations, which push Como to assert himself more than usual. Arranger O.B. Masingill, on the other hand, takes a different tack for the 12 songs that make up For the Young at Heart, all of which have the word "young" in the title. The strings are gone, a prominent chorus sings along with Como, and the horns are frequently muted or just restrained, as Masingill imposes a lightly swinging style on the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra. The approach is more conducive to the singer, who turns in characteristically warm and easy interpretations. The big changeover on the CD occurs between track 12, "Begin the Beguine," and track 13, "When You and I Were Young, Maggie," when things suddenly calm down considerably. Both albums have their virtues, but this CD should really be thought of as two separate collections that happen to have been run together.
Como Swings/For the Young at Heart Review
by William Ruhlmann