Dean Martin

The Best of Dean Martin 1962-1968

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Dean Martin had 22 singles chart entries on Reprise Records between 1962 and 1969, and all of them are on this 66-minute, 25-track import compilation, along with covers of "Gentle on My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and "King of the Road." What makes this fool-proof collection, highlighted by the Top Ten hits "Everybody Loves Somebody" (a chart-topping million-seller), "The Door Is Still Open to My Heart," and "I Will," particularly notable is that these recordings, owned by the singer (and now by his estate), have been out of print for years and, at this writing (May 1996), remain so in the U.S. It is arguable that Martin's Capitol recordings of the 1950s are superior to these Jimmy Bowen-produced tracks, the earlier ones paced by rock & roll rhythms, the later ones country-tinged, and all featuring prominent backup vocal groups. But as usual, Martin's nonchalance allows him to be comfortable in any context, and the arrangements are undeniably catchy, especially Billy May's punchy chart for "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You." And if the Capitols always evoke the straight man of the Martin & Lewis comedies, the Reprises call to mind the tuxedo-clad swinger on the fireman's pole and the suave star of the Matt Helm spy spoofs -- boozy, bawdy, and brilliant. (Though the selection of material earns this album landmark status, its sound quality could be better.)

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