Johnny Mathis

The Global Masters

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Johnny Mathis interrupted his long-term relationship with Columbia Records in 1963, opting for a three-year contract with Mercury Records through his own Global Records production company. The deal resulted in 11 albums released between 1963 and 1967, and this two-CD set selects 24 tracks from the period. Mathis signed to Mercury for "an awful lot of money," he said, but probably also because, after six years at Columbia, his sales were slipping. As it turned out, that slippage had more to do with the state of the music business and of his own career than with his record company affiliation, and his sales continued to deteriorate at Mercury; after three years, he went back to Columbia. As revealed here, his work for Mercury didn't differ in type or quality from what he had been doing previously; there is the same mixture of vintage standards ("Laura," "When You Wish Upon a Star") with high-quality contemporary material, mostly drawn from musicals and movies ("Call Me Irresponsible," "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," "Somewhere My Love"), along with mediocre pop material (the chart single "Bye Bye Barbara"). The set includes three previously unreleased tracks, among them readings of "Hello, Dolly!" and "Manhattan" for a projected Broadway album from 1965. The running time of 82 minutes is skimpy for a double-CD album.

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