Val Doonican

His Special Years: Very Best

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Fifty songs by Val Doonican may seem like overkill, but there is something about the man's voice that makes this set work, even for a non-fan. It's not just the attractive intonation and the care that he brings to each song -- which encompasses everything from folk ("Scarlet Ribbons") and country-pop standards ("King of the Road") to covers of '60s rock numbers ("All My Lovin'," "If I Were a Carpenter") and pop standards ("Windmills of Your Mind") -- but the sincerity of his singing; he seems to "live" the song in his laid-back but effective manner. The mastering is superb, bringing out the richness and depth of Doonican's fine, low tenor voice, plus such little embellishments as the fine modulations over certain phrases, which at times recall Richard Harris in his pop-singer phase, and at other moments recall Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues. The selection includes all of his hits for Decca, and most of his best album tracks, dating between 1966 and 1986. It's all pretty impressive, especially for those with a taste for pop or country-pop vocals -- Perry Como fans may especially want to check this out, but there's also good reason for fans of Glen Campbell, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Jim Reeves to give this set a try.

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