Dickie Valentine

One More Sunrise: The Pye Anthology

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British '50s crooner Dickie Valentine had his greatest success in the early and mid-'50s with Decca, landing a dozen U.K. hits between 1953 and 1956 (without making an impact in America). This two-CD set, however, picks up the Valentine story after his commercial peak and his move to Pye in the late '50s, assembling all of his 1959-1962 recordings for the label. Though Valentine was just shy of 30 years of age by the time he began his Pye stint, some of his work for the company skirted -- in the slightest way imaginable -- teen idol pop/rock territory, particularly in his covers of Frankie Avalon's "Venus" and Dion & the Belmonts' "A Teenager in Love." "Venus" even gave him a British Top 20 hit, though only one of his other Pye singles, "One More Sunrise (Morgen)," experienced similar success. Disc one of this package has both sides of all eight of his Pye singles (as well as three tracks not issued at the time), and though some of the cuts are in the style of Pat Boone's most mainstream outings, Valentine was really far more comfortable with the type of pop music that had been popular just before rock's ascendancy, including covers of standards like "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," "Walking My Baby Back Home," and "Standing on the Corner." It's competently done, but not in the same league as the better American crooners of the era, with backing so whitebread it's blinding. Disc two is entirely devoted to a recording of Valentine live in South Africa in 1962, during which he reprises relatively few of his Pye recordings. Instead he comes off as a second-rate all-around cabaret entertainer, complete with unfunny patter and bad impersonations of Elvis Presley, Billy Eckstine (was that controversial in South Africa in 1962?), and Johnny Ray. It's an unwitting parody of schlocky lounge, it's that bad, and while disc one is more worthwhile, it's hard to imagine there willl be many listeners with an interest in this stuff once the audience of Valentine's generation isn't around anymore.

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