Various Artists

Fun & Lounging in Las Vegas

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Here's one for the books, and just where to stick it in the book is somewhat problematic. Las Vegas is the active phrase here, as all 18 selections have that phony, martini-and-ascot hipness permeating the performances that screams "lounge and Nehru jackets for everyone" loud and clear. The lounge genre covers a lot of music that really isn't, and often seems to support a whole musical style that at one time was laughed at and now has found a new (and camp) audience. The matchup of singers and material often borders on the surreal (Andy Williams doing "I Think I Love You," Ann-Margret turning "I Just Want to Make Love to You" into a production number, Ed Ames rocking up "Proud Mary," and of course, William Shatner's legendary treatment of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds"), but amid the glitz, there emerge some actual solid pieces of music, Tom Jones' live rendition of "Land of 1,000 Dances" being the surprise highlight. No doubt this compilation will probably end up in the pop section, only escaping the vocal category by virtue of there being tracks aboard by instrumentalists Roger Williams ("I'm a Believer"), Enoch Light and His Orchestra ("I Want to Hold Your Hand"), Xavie Cugat ("Thunderball"), Martin Denny ("Incense and Peppermints") and Liberace ("Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye"). But if there was a category for pretentious schlock, this one would head the list. Praise the high rollers and pass the tiki umbrellas.

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