Sammy Davis, Jr.

I Gotta Right to Swing!

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One of Sammy Davis, Jr.'s best studio albums, I Gotta Right to Swing! is an invigorating mix of uptempo swing and hard-hitting rhythm & blues that secretly featured the Count Basie band, with the Count himself replaced by George Rhodes on the piano (this is most probably due to contractual obligations). The awesome ensemble plays jazz- and drum-heavy arrangements that excite Davis to such an extent that on half of the tracks he replaces his pure, Broadway croon with a rough R&B howl that makes Ray Charles sound like Sam Cooke. The album kicks off with the zany hit version of "The Lady Is a Tramp" that shows off Davis' gift for mimicry as he barrels through a boat-load of show biz clich├ęs ("they went that away," etc.), but the rest of the album finds Davis at his least stereotypical, with the Basie band playing charts provided by Sy Oliver, Jack Pleis, and Davis' musical director, Morty Stevens.

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