Sammy Davis, Jr.

Lounge Legends

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Sammy Davis, Jr.'s short stay at MGM in the early '70s produced the biggest hit of his career and a whole bunch of tunes that reflect the times they were recorded in. The German Lounge Legends series puts together 20 recordings made for MGM under the direction of Mike Curb between 1972 and 1974. Sammy's blissfully sweet version of "The Candy Man" hit number one in 1972. Its success inspired a few unsuccessful attempts at recapturing that success: "Sweet Gingerbread Man" and "It's a Musical World." The rest of the collection is a strange mix of Las Vegas funk (the groovy and wild "Get It On"), TV show themes (Mary Tyler Moore, Kojak, Hawaii Five-0, Baretta, Chico and the Man), dramatic story-songs ("Willoughby Grove," "Mr. Bojangles"), Leslie Bricusse- and Anthony Newley-penned maudlin ballads ("Tomorrow," "The People Tree," "I'll Begin Again), and just plain weird stuff like the version of "Get Happy" with the Stepford Wives on backup vocals and Davis' cover of "Theme From Shaft" (called "John Shaft" here), which is produced by Isaac Hayes himself. Davis sounds out of place and a little disinterested, but the song is a fun listen. That basically sums up the entire compilation. Fans of Davis will see it as a guilty pleasure and fans of high-quality pop corn will find it to be a perfect collection of Davis' corniest incarnation.

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