By 1966, Eddie Fisher's recording career seemed to have come to an end. After scoring numerous hits on RCA Victor in the 1950s, he had recorded for several labels in the early '60s (including his own imprint, Ramrod) and had a sojourn on Dot in the mid-'60s that ended in poor sales. But he returned to RCA and cut "Games That Lovers Play," a major easy listening hit and nearly a Top 40 pop entry, and followed it with the Nelson Riddle-arranged-and-conducted LP of the same name that restored his commercial and artistic credibility. This was a new, mature Fisher singing in a powerful baritone with a deeper understanding of the pop standards and high-quality new songs in his repertoire. Unfortunately, his next RCA effort, People Like You, largely handled by other arranger/conductors, was a less-inspired effort on which he covered recent songs associated with other singers. But it still wasn't bad. This discount-priced two-fer CD combines the two albums, to their benefit. The 11 songs that made up Games That Lovers Play still impress, and one is less conscious in 2002 than in 1967 that the songs on People Like You were signature songs for Fisher's competitors. Now, one can simply enjoy his renditions of songs like "Watch What Happens" and "Born Free," which have become minor standards over the decades. Nevertheless, on the later material, he sounds less distinctive, seeming to imitate Dean Martin on "People Like You" and Al Jolson on "If She Walked Into My Life." Those who think of Fisher as the soaring tenor of his early hits will be surprised to hear this more considered baritone, which demonstrates that the singer actually improved over the years and may have been singing at his best here, at the age of 38.
Games That Lovers Play/People Like You Review
by William Ruhlmann