This isn't a definitive collection mainly because Frank Sinatra went on to record so many more great Johnny Mercer tunes for his Reprise label. But what does make it onto this CD is top-shelf. Since Sinatra was justly renown for his sensitive way with a lyric, it makes sense to compile numbers that were by written by Mercer, his favorite lyricist. Both men excelled at throwing away jazzy, seemingly off-the-cuff lingo ("Jeepers Creepers") or at spinning sophisticated, worldly narratives "When the World Was Young." This may help explain why so many of these songs became the definitive versions. Sinatra puts the twisted sexual obsession back into the film noir theme "Laura," turns "Autumn Leaves" into a wintry funeral dirge, and places so much behind-the-beat jazz phrasing into "Too Marvelous for Words" that the number really does live up to its title. Other highlights include the two versions of "Day In - Day Out" (one's an up-tempo swinger and the other is a ballad version with a swelling arrangement that matches the bizarre "when I awaken/I awaken with a tingle" lyrics), the frenetic "Something's Gotta Give," and the wondrous "One for My Baby," which quickly became one of Sinatra's signature songs.
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AllMusic Review by Nick Dedina