Two mid-'60s albums on which Darin focused on jazz-pop-swing and standards, 1964's From Hello Dolly to Goodbye Charlie and 1965's Venice Blue, are combined onto one CD on this 2002 reissue. Darin focused on standards done with jazzy arrangements on From Hello Dolly to Goodbye Charlie, though he did in fact co-write a couple of the songs, "The End of Never" and "Look at Me." Otherwise, writers like Sammy Cahn, Henry Mancini, Anthony Newley, and Andre Previn figure strongly in the songwriting credits. "The Days of Wine and Roses," "Call Me Irresponsible," "Once in a Lifetime," "Sunday in New York," and of course "Hello, Dolly!" and "Goodbye, Charlie" are all on board. It's got the competent verve you'd expect from Darin's mid-'60s pop'n'swing vocals, though not so exceptional that you'd recommend it as the cream of the crop. The highlight, if only because it doesn't sound like more of the same, is the dramatic, somber ballad "The End of Never," with its unexpected melodic arches and Darin's committed singing. Venice Blue isn't much different, though perhaps it's less jazzy and more orchestral in orientation. His heartfelt rendition of "Somewhere" from West Side Story is a standout here, and "Softly, As I Leave You" and his breezy "A Taste of Honey" are also good, though again this album don't contain Darin's very top of the line pop standard interpretations. And again, Darin was involved in the writing of just two of the tracks, "You Just Don't Know" (which he penned alone) and "In a World Without You" (which he co-wrote).
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger