This EMI Gold two-fer assembles a pair of excellent mid-'60s efforts by the underrated crooner Matt Monro. This Is the Life pairs Monro with arranger Sid Feller for a collection of standards and ballads that incorporates elements of contemporary pop and jazz but never does so at the expense of its sophistication or hard-fought maturity. The cover -- with Monro sandwiched between a pair of fabulous babes -- sets the tone for the music inside: this is effervescent, celebratory pop for and by adults. Feller's ripe arrangements beautifully complement the restrained drama of Monro's vocals, and the songs -- "Strangers in the Night," "Sweet Lorraine," and "Merci Cherie" among them -- are perfectly calibrated to his almost effortless interpretive brilliance. Here's to My Lady essentially replicates the winning formula of its predecessor, and why fix what isn't broken? Reuniting Monro with Feller, the album is as mature and comfortable as the cardigan sweater the crooner wears on its cover -- Monro's vocals are smooth and rich like crushed velvet, tackling standards like "Laura," "When Sunny Gets Blue," and "When Joanna Loved Me" with a thoughtfulness that comes only with age and experience. Few crooners are so effortless yet so precise, and Feller's lovely arrangements further enhance the elegance of Monro's approach. When you've exhausted the Sinatra canon, this is where to go next.
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny