Connie Francis

Connie at the Copa

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Connie Francis at the Copa is a decent document of the immortal pop singer performing live in New York City with an orchestra conducted by Joe Mele. The ten selections include a five-song Al Jolson medley and a coupling of "When the Saints Come Marching In" with "Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home" -- putting the emphasis on standards more than her hits. Two Top Ten gold singles from 1960 are here, though: Connie's remake of the 1940s Italian composition "Mama" and a song more representative of her pop hits, "Many Tears Ago."

The sound quality for a major release on MGM is shockingly low, on the level of a good bootleg. Mickey Deans' cassette recordings of his wife, and Judy Garland's last performance, which became the Judy. London. 1969. LP, are similar to this allegedly "High Fidelity Recording" -- though that album emerged out of necessity and this was produced by a major film/record company. But the singer is great -- at the top of her game, recorded a year after she debuted her album of Italian songs in 1960 on The Perry Como Show. The liner notes contain nine reviews from critics, Frank Farrell of the World-Telegram and Sun calling this a "...sensational supper club bow as a major star." Connie Francis at the Copa casts the singer in a different light. Somewhat removed from her popular radio material, she proves she has the talent to take virtually any material and hit it out of the park.

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