Along with his producer, Ernest Altschuler, and his arranger/pianist Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett had been searching for a repertoire and a musical approach beyond his long-gone pop work with Mitch Miller of the early 1950s and his artistically pleasing but commercially dicey jazz work of the mid- to late '50s. It seemed to be a combination of Broadway songs and other contemporary material, carefully selected and arranged to show off Bennett's now-burnished vocals. With this album, they found the key, not only by happening across a signature song in the title track, but also in the approach to songs like "Once Upon a Time" and "The Best Is Yet to Come," which Bennett helped make a standard. I Wanna Be Around, also on this two-fer, had a lot to live up to, but since San Francisco was a culmination of Bennett's development, not a fluke, I Wanna Be Around turned out to be almost on a par with its predecessor. "The Good Life" and "I Wanna Be Around" became Top 20 hits, showing that Bennett had somehow found a line into good new pop material. A worthy successor.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
feat: Ralph Sharon