Johnnie Ray had a pretty good run on the singles charts between 1951 and 1957, scoring eight Top Ten hits in the Billboard charts among 20 chart entries. But the 30-year-old singer clearly had decided by 1957 that it was time for him to make a transition to a more adult audience and to the LP market, a reasonable decision after he had been sideswiped in the teen singles field by the likes of Elvis Presley, who took his emotive approach and added an R&B backbeat. Thus, Ray turned up in a tuxedo at the Desert Inn hotel in Las Vegas in October 1957, where Columbia Records recorded an album on which, in addition to some of his hits -- "Cry," "The Little White Cloud That Cried," "Just Walking in the Rain," "Yes Tonight, Josephine" -- he also essayed standards like "As Time Goes By" and "Yesterdays." Being Johnnie Ray, he couldn't resist some more up-tempo material that was not the sort of thing you usually heard in the main room at a casino, such as Faye Adams' R&B hit "Shake a Hand" and Sister Rosetta Tharpe's gospel number "Up Above My Head (I Hear Music in the Air)," but he was still trying to tone things down a little, making polite patter with the high rollers. He continued this attempt to go legit on his next album, 'Til Morning, in which he sang standards in a late-night pop-jazz context backed by the Billy Taylor Quartet. Neither album was a big seller, and Ray's recording career subsided by the end of the decade. Collectables wisely combines these two albums on a single, discount-priced CD, and although it is not the best of Johnnie Ray, it give a good sense of where he was heading as the hits stopped coming.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann