Give a pair of medals and hefty raises to the two fellows at Atlantic who thought of pairing Bobby Darin -- then 24 -- and Johnny Mercer -- then 51 -- and backing them with the charts of Billy May. These two singer/songwriters, occupying opposite poles of a yawning generation gap, take some often hoary old Tin Pan Alley tunes and kid and swing the hell out of them, with May providing the same kind of hard-swinging, sly-witted big-band backings that he gave to Sinatra. Listen to the way they play with the syncopation on "Bob White," dancing all over the May beat and ad-libbing wisecracks all the while -- and no one can resist the charm of the two composing a song together (the title track) and then interrupting it with some horseplay and switching to "Indiana." Mercer has never sounded looser or more swinging on records -- he thrives on the Billy May beat -- and Darin just about keeps up with him, throwing in several brash impersonations of Dean Martin, Elvis, Crosby, Louis Armstrong, and other icons. Interestingly, Mercer's "Lonesome Polecat" comes closest to the rock & roll rhythms that propelled Darin to fame and sent Mercer into seeming eclipse. The music world hadn't heard this brand of impeccably timed, back-and-forth joshing since the heyday of Hope and Crosby (or perhaps Mercer and Crosby) -- or the inspired Nashville rivalry of Red Foley and Ernest Tubb. Don't miss it.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell