Sammy Davis, Jr.

I've Gotta Be Me

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Sammy Davis, Jr. scored a significant return to the Top 40 pop album charts with 1968's I've Gotta Be Me, making it all the way to number 24. When the title track was released as a single, it too met with similar success, climbing to a respectable number 11. Once again the artist had unquestionably found his niche with a blend of show tunes and popular standards, no doubt thanks in part to his collaborations with Bobby Darin's lauded musical director, Richard Wess. With the exception of "Something's Gotta Give," "That Old Black Magic," and "The Candy Man" -- the latter of which Davis had yet to record -- "I've Gotta Be Me" is the song most immediately identified with the vocalist. The Walt Marks-penned number was originally written for the Broadway production of Golden Rainbow, a vehicle for the husband-and-wife team of Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme. However, it is Davis' emotive reading and practically biographical sentiment that makes the cut unquestionably his own. The LP also features "If My Friends Could See Me Now," "I'm a Brass Band," and "My Personal Property" -- all from Sweet Charity. Although Davis did not star in the stage adaptation, he was a force to be reckoned with in the cinematic version. While his silver-screen portrayal of Big Daddy didn't permit him to sing the selections in the movie, he certainly brings them to life within these grooves. This is Davis in his prime doing what he does best, animating the distinct dramatic sensibility to the material. The inclusion of "I've Got You Under My Skin" is a natural given Davis' association with the Rat Pack, particularly Frank Sinatra. Compared to Ol' Blue Eyes' definitive rendition, J.J. Johnson's arrangement -- the only one on the platter not by Wess -- is a jazzier and suitably swinging affair.

blue highlight denotes track pick