This disc completes Collectors' Choice Music's set of 12 CD two-fer reissues of 24 Dean Martin albums originally released on Reprise Records in the 1960s and 1970s. It contains the singer's antepenultimate Reprise LP, Sittin' on Top of the World, originally released in May 1973, and his final one, Once in a While, originally released in October 1978, though it had been recorded in November 1974. Martin's next-to-last Reprise album, You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, was passed over appropriately, since it was better paired with 1972's Dino. Both of those albums contained contemporary and country material, while these two are both devoted to traditional pop standards, albeit some of them done in then-contemporary arrangements. ("If I Had You" even has a touch of disco.) The bulk of Martin's Reprise catalog consists of country-pop/ Hollywood versions of the Nashville sound. But here he returns to the kinds of standards he was known for in the 1950s. Some of the songs from Sittin' on Top of the World (tracks one through ten) date back to the early part of the century, and the ones on Once in a While (tracks 11-20) -- nine out of ten of them recorded by Martin's chief influence, Bing Crosby -- are from the '30s and '40s. Martin's familiarity with the material makes these performances even more relaxed and comfortable than most of his interpretations. The singer's recording commitment may have been the least of his concerns by the mid-'70s, but this collection is as enjoyable as any in the series, and it contains more memorable songs than many.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann