This title features Joni James on a dozen sides scored by renowned conductor/arranger Jimmie Haskell. Like 3 O'Clock in the Morning (1962) spotlights the jazzier side of James' immeasurable talents with a generous helping from the songbooks of key American composers, such as the mid-tempo reading of Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen's "Second Time Around," or the sublime serenity of "You Go to My Head" from the legendary Tin Pan Alley team of J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie. With the often verbose string section held in check, James' warm and inviting intonations swaddle and swing on Johnny Mercer and Sadie Vimmerstadt's "I Wanna Be Around," to which her soulful rendering is equally suited. "No, Not Much" is perhaps best remembered as the Four Lads' second-tier hit. Here, it is one of the more memorable inclusions thanks in part to Haskell's sophisticated approach, as it takes James' to an undeniable zenith with an emotive, if not slightly revealing, lead. Other standouts include "As Long As He Needs Me," from Lionel Bart's Oliver (1962), and the intimate "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," an appropriate opener as it sets the tenor for the entire affair. Like 3 O'Clock... was coupled with After Hours (1962) and issued on Like 3 O'Clock in the Morning/After Hours (2003) as part of Collectors' Choice Music's complete reassessment of James' classic MGM recordings, many of which have been out of print for over three decades.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer