Paul Anka

Live in Las Vegas

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

No recording date for this show is given in the liner notes, but the small print does point out that most of these songs first saw release on a Barnaby Records album in 1975. Three live tracks (including a Vegas-ized soul-rock cover of "This Land Is Your Land") not on that Barnaby LP also appear here, as do the two songs from his 1971 Barnaby single, "Why Are You Leaning on Me Sir"/"You're Some Kind of Friend." It's pretty much what you'd expect from a 1970s Anka Vegas show: a slickly arranged mixture of Anka originals, a medley of his 1950s hits, and covers of smashes like "Gentle on My Mind," "Games People Play," "For Once in My Life," and "Something." Of course, there's also "My Way" (which is reprised again at the end) and "She's a Lady," which are not covers; many forget that Anka co-wrote both of those songs. It's all relayed with pretty routine show biz execution, and frankly Anka's voice isn't so strong at points, though like virtually all Vegas entertainers he's obviously making a strenuous effort to be engaging with the audience. As for the studio single, "Why Are You Leaning on Me Sir" taps into the early-'70s gospel-informed let's-all-be-brothers singer/songwriter vibe, and "You're Some Kind of Friend" is a less remarkable, overbearingly serious pop number with some tradeoffs between Anka and a female singer.

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