Robert Goulet

Glorious Crooners

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Glorious Crooners is not an album of duets by Robert Goulet and Bing Crosby. It is simply a repackaging of two albums previously released by Canada's Retro Music label, one each by Goulet and Crosby. The Goulet album is called The Best Of, while the Crosby album is called Everything I Have Is Yours. The Goulet album should be called The Worst Of, not The Best Of. Some time in the late '70s, Goulet returned to the recording studio and cut an album's worth of material, including a cover of the 1977 Debby Boone hit "You Light Up My Life" and a disco remake of his signature song, "If Ever I Would Leave You." These tracks have turned up on several budget compilations over the years, and the first seven tracks here are drawn from them. The last four tracks sound like they were cribbed from Goulet's Columbia recordings, that is, if taken from tapes several generations removed from the originals that were also strangely sped up. The spare annotations incorrectly credit some of the songwriters ("Quiet Nights" is the Antonio Carlos Jobim song, not the Rodgers & Hart song "Quiet Night," and "What Kind of Fool" is actually "What Kind of Fool Am I?," by Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse). But that's the least of the problems on this rip-off of an album.

As for the Crosby album, misleading packaging would suggest this is material from a mature Bing Crosby; in actuality, Everything I Have Is Yours is simply another raiding of the Crosby radio vaults from the '40s and '50s. There are a number of repackages that draw from the same well (Collection of Classics, High Profile), none of which provide essential snapshots of the singer. The problem doesn't stem from the songs themselves, but rather the compromised quality of the recordings. Some labels have taken it upon themselves to draw from the original tape masters and clean up these tunes, which is the best way to hear them. True, even muddy versions of "I Got the Sun in the Morning" and "Now That I Need You" are not without charm, yet the loss of the high and low end makes this disc sound like a cassette that's baked in the sun for a while. The disc has other shortcomings -- a meager run time (under a half-hour) and no liner notes. Listeners can hope that these recordings are better preserved somewhere, since Crosby's versions of "Lady of Spain," "You Go to My Head," and "Everything I Have Is Yours" are great (the arrangements, by comparison, are dated). Also included here is "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania," which manages to succeed despite its sonic limitations. Even at a low price, Everything I Have Is Yours isn't worth having, since you could put the money toward a disc that sounds twice as good and runs twice as long.

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