Dean Martin

Cool Then, Cool Now

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Dean Martin was cool. That’s a fact, Jack, and this beautiful two-disc set, which is really as much or more an intimate photo album as it is a collection of recordings, just underscores the obvious -- Martin was cool then and he’s cool now. Yeah, he could sing. His voice was a distinctive, warm and relaxed croon that was instantly recognizable, and he certainly could have had a career as a singer alone, but Martin was more than that: he was an icon, and he did comedy, acted in movies, hosted TV shows, and in general coasted through his public life as himself, that cool guy having fun and going with the flow -- even if he was in a tuxedo -- with a drink in one hand and, more often than not, a cigarette in the other. This lovely audio photo album captures all that easy, relaxed coolness in page after page of photos portraying Martin in both his public and private lives, along with classic Martin performances of “Everybody Loves Somebody” and “That’s Amore” as well as distinctive and charming versions of “King of the Road” and “Five Card Stud,” to name just a few of the 28 sides collected here, all of which provide the perfect soundtrack to the photo album that houses the two discs. It’s a lovingly assembled artifact, half coffee table book and half box set, and it’s cool, just like Dean Martin was cool.

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