John Gary and his conductor, Marty Gold, chose to emphasize the dramatic nature of Gary's rangy, full-bodied tenor on his third RCA Victor album, So Tenderly. Although the album was released in the mid-summer of 1964, it might easily have been billed as a St. Patrick's Day collection, since there was a distinctly Celtic feeling to much of the material, starting with "Danny Boy," but also including Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's "Come to Me, Bend to Me" from the 1947 Broadway musical Brigadoon and Gary's own co-composition with Robert MacGimsey, "Brown Eyed Baby Boy." Gary's readings, backed by Gold's forceful, yet supportive strings, also frequently gave the material the tone of art song as much as pop music, so it was good that the singer could also show off his comic side in the novelty "Ten Girls Ago." For the most part, however, this was serious, intensely romantic stuff that Gary and Gold collected from such surprising sources as the 1954 film The Glass Slipper (Bronislau Kaper and Helen Deutsch's "Take My Love") and Lerner and Kurt Weill's 1950 Broadway musical Love Life ("Here I'll Stay"). Gary's healthy sales with his first two RCA albums, Catch a Rising Star and Encore, may have encouraged the singer to take a left turn toward the concert hall with this collection, and, though his sales fell off somewhat, his audience was largely willing to follow him into more sophisticated territory; the album peaked with the Top 40 and spent more than six months in the charts.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann