Dick Haymes

The Very Best of Dick Haymes, Vol. 2

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This flawless 20-song compilation picks up right where Very Best of Dick Haymes, Vol. 1 left off: in the fall of 1945 with the Top Ten hit "It Might as Well Be Spring" from the film State Fair (in which Dick Haymes appeared). From there, it presents the rest of his major hits through 1950, when his popularity tailed off. In fact, Haymes was just past his peak as this compilation begins. Though 13 of the tracks made the Top Ten, none hit number one. Only "Little White Lies" went gold, and only that song and "Maybe It's Because" were the most successful versions of these songs. More often, as on "It's Magic" (a signature song for Doris Day) or "Room Full of Roses" (for Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye), Haymes' version was a cover. Nevertheless, he turned in excellent versions of these songs, offering stiff competition for the originals. He was helped by the arrangements and conducting of Gordon Jenkins and others (among them Artie Shaw, who was co-billed on his last major hit, "Count Every Star") and was joined by such guests as Judy Garland (on the Gershwins' "For You, For Me, For Evermore" from the film The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, in which he starred) and the Andrews Sisters (on "Teresa"). Also included are his last three hit duets with Helen Forrest ("I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," "Oh! What It Seemed to Be," and "In Love in Vain." Haymes' decline after the recordings made here is one of the mysteries of popular music (he had well-documented personal problems, but they still don't fully explain it), and the mystery is deepened by listening to this album and its predecessor, which clearly reveal one of the most accomplished and popular singers of the '40s.

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