Dean Martin Hits Again was the singer's eighth Reprise album and Houston his tenth, which introduces the question why Collectors' Choice Music chose to pair these albums together instead of matching his seventh, The Door Is Still Open to My Heart, with Dean Martin Hits Again and his ninth, (Remember Me) I'm the One Who Loves You, with Houston. The answer is simple. Reprise was not above repeating tracks from one album to another, and the hit "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" appears on both The Door Is Still Open to My Heart and Dean Martin Hits Again, so it would have been repeated (or the correct song lists of the albums violated) on a two-fer combining those albums. Skipping over (Remember Me) in the sequence of Martin's albums eliminates a step in the musical development producer Jimmy Bowen was exploring with the successive discs. Bowen had conceived the idea of doing a 1950s-style rock & roll arrangement of "Everybody Loves Somebody" in 1964 and thus fostered Martin's musical comeback. On Hits Again in early 1965, he and arranger Ernie Freeman cloned that sound over and over, from the 4/4 beat and the piano triplets to the swooping strings and the vocal chorus. But by the time of Houston, which was arranged and conducted by Bill Justis, Bowen was taking Martin in other directions, notably pop/rock and an updated middle-of-the-road pop style best heard on the hit "I Will." Still, the basic approach was a variant on Nashville sound country-pop, as on the Roger Miller-like "Houston." The ever-versatile Martin seemed to be at home no matter what the backing, and these were two more gold records to add to his collection.
Dean Martin Hits Again/Houston Review
by William Ruhlmann