Lou Monte, the king of the Italian-American novelty song, is well represented on this career-spanning anthology that contains selections from his terms with RCA Victor, Roulette and Reprise, including all of his Top 100 hits. Only a couple of ballads interrupt an otherwise non-stop program of novelties, many of which are Italian remakes of popular songs such as "(At The) Darktown Strutters' Ball" and "The Sheik of Araby." In Monte's world, even the animals are Italian, from the chipmunk-voiced "Pepino the Italian Mouse" and his feline friend ("Pepino's Friend Pasqual") to Rudolph the Reindeer's would-be successor, "Dominick the Donkey." "Calypso Italiano" recalls Rosemary Clooney's "Mambo Italiano" and was a logical response to the calypso craze in 1957. The only song lacking the Italian touch is "Elvis Presley for President," which Monte recorded at the request of his label. The popularity of The Very Best of Lou Monte prompted a followup anthology, The Best of the RCA Victor Recordings, to compile most of Monte's remaining RCA singles.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams