Johnny Hartman

I Love Everybody

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The first side of I Love Everybody finds crooner Johnny Hartman in an orchestral pop setting, with lush, sweeping strings arranged by Jack Pleis. Those familiar with the intimate small-group albums Hartman recorded for Impulse might find the backing just a bit saccharine, but fortunately the orchestra never overwhelms Hartman's incredible voice. The song selection on this side is strong, too, with "I Cover the Waterfront" and "If I Had You" being the standouts. The superior second side features a big band of Hollywood studio musicians arranged by the inventive Oliver Nelson. If the first side is a showcase for Hartman's much-lauded ballad technique, the second side finds him in a party mood. There's an appreciative live studio audience on hand to hear Hartman and band tackle up-tempo dance numbers ("Today I Love Everybody"), blues ("T'Ain't No Need"), and a rousing medley of "Old Black Magic" and the calypso "Matilda," with a few phrases of the Yiddish folk tune "Greena Couzina" thrown in for good measure. The two sides of I Love Everybody seem like separate mini-albums, but both are strong and offer a good showcase for Hartman's impressive vocal technique.

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