Steve Lawrence

Steve Lawrence Sings Sinatra

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Steve Lawrence has released only two newly recorded albums in the last 30 years, 1981's Take It on Home and this one. The inspiration for heading into the recording studio for the first time in over two decades was his mentor, Frank Sinatra, who bequeathed him a batch of song arrangements when he retired. Lawrence makes use of those arrangements, written by the likes of Nelson Riddle, Quincy Jones, and Don Costa, on a tribute album that deliberately sounds a lot like a Sinatra recording. Lawrence was always a student of Sinatra, singing in the same smooth, swaggering manner even if he was 20 years younger. He was perhaps a little smoother and a little less swaggering, but here, freed from any burden to distinguish himself by the album's concept and by those familiar charts, he frequently evokes Sinatra. In fact, the album would be an odd listening experience to anyone caught unaware. Hear a bit of it in passing without knowing who is singing, and you're liable to suppose it is Sinatra, but listen more carefully and you may become confused. The idea of having Lawrence sing Sinatra is a good one, but maybe it's good primarily for his stage act. The album is, at best, redundant, tribute or not. And yet, repeated listenings bring out the singer's individual nuances, demonstrating that, in his mid-sixties, he is still in very good voice, making you wish he had an opportunity to record more frequently and not under anyone else's shadow.

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