James Darren

Love Among the Young

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James Darren's fourth long-player, Love Among the Young (1962), is a concept album of sorts as each of the dozen selections are love songs that actually feature the word "young" in the name. The platter was also his last for the Columbia Pictures subsidiary Colpix Records. Rather than back the vocalist with the looming big-band orchestration that had accompanied Darren on Album No. 1 (1958), arranger/producer Stu Phillips updated the musical scores to showcase the rich interpretive artist. Interestingly, the title track was recorded some years earlier on Darren's aforementioned debut, Album No. 1. The remake is equally affective in this slightly updated form. Otherwise, the results remained distinctly non-rock & roll oriented. That said, they certainly weren't throwbacks either. Phillips' use of a brass section and chorus colors the overall sound, rather than defining it. Both the jazzy opener, "Hello Young Lovers," as well as a measured and emotive reading of "Young World," the latter of which had been a rousing hit for Ricky Nelson, are evidence of Darren's supple and decidedly modern approach. His skills as an actor are especially exemplified on his interpretations of more familiar pop standards, such as the strong commanding baritone projected during "Blame It on My Youth" or the stirring "Too Young to Be True." Although his teen idol image was secured by not only his discs, but his cinematic exploits as well, the singer was still considered in the same nonthreatening, clean-cut camp as his contemporaries Pat Boone, Fabian, and Frankie Avalon. Instead of attempting aggressive early rock tunes that were quickly replacing milquetoast MOR as the music of choice among America's youth, the remainder of the LP is filled with a few covers made popular by Nat Cole on "Too Young" and "Too Young to Go Steady," as well as a pair that Ol' Blue Eyes regularly incorporated into his repertoire, "Young at Heart" and "You Make Me Feel So Young." In 2004, Collectors' Choice Music issued Love Among the Young and Album No. 1 onto a single two-fer CD, making both available for the first time in four decades.

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