It is an interesting question why the British arm of Sony Music would choose to combine these two Robert Goulet albums on a two-fer CD. Two of Us was Goulet's second solo album, released in 1962; Begin to Love was his tenth (counting a live recording and a Christmas LP) from 1965. One similarity is that both of the albums are keyed to songs of European origin that were released as singles and that gave them their titles, with the rest of the LPs filled out largely with popular standards and recent Broadway fare. In that sense, and, of course, in the consistency of Goulet's powerful voice, the two albums are well matched. But then, nearly any two of his regular studio albums would be. And, in fact, there are some distinct differences in the two collections that make their pairing somewhat odd. Two of Us (tracks 1-12), all of it arranged and conducted by Glenn Osser in a combination of string charts and smaller ensembles, found the 28-year-old Goulet, fresh from his star-making turn in Broadway's Camelot, negotiating some lovely ballad material originated by the likes of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Osser deliberately dialed down Goulet's power in favor of a more intimate approach, resulting in some affecting performances. All of that was appropriate to establishing a talented new pop singer in 1962; Goulet went on to win the Grammy for Best New Artist. By 1965, changes were afoot in pop music, with the British Invasion pushing nearly all aside. Nevertheless, Goulet had managed a Top 20 hit single with "My Love, Forgive Me (Amore, Scusami)" in early 1965, and "Begin to Love (Cominciamo Ad Amarci)" was an attempt to repeat that success. The follow-up fizzled, and the album of the same name found arranger/conductors Ralph Burns and Sid Ramin trying a lot of different approaches to a lot of different material (some of it distinctly mediocre), looking for ways to keep Goulet current. Happily, amid forgettable (and forgotten) efforts like "The More I See of Mimi" and "I Never Got to Paris," there were some beautifully handled standards including "Long Ago and Far Away" and "In the Still of the Night," as well as excellent takes on more current fare such as the 1962 show tune "Real Live Girl" and the New Christy Minstrels hit "Today." So, Begin to Love was more of a mixed bag than Two of Us, but there were some winners in that bag, and taken together the two albums boast far more wheat than chaff.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann