Bobby Vinton

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Ultimate Review

by William Ruhlmann

First assembled in 1981 by the Special Products (i.e., budget) division of what used to be called CBS Records, subsequently reissued by the company after it had been sold to Sony, and, in 2002, licensed to Collectables for its Priceless Collection series, this compilation of Bobby Vinton recordings made for Epic Records in the 1960s and early '70s has always suffered from its grandiose and inappropriate title. There are great hits included on the disc, to be sure, but most of them are not Bobby Vinton's hits. A handful of Vinton's favorites are included, four early Top Five entries -- "Roses Are Red (My Love)," "Mr. Lonely," "Blue on Blue," and "Blue Velvet" -- plus his last Top 20 hit for Epic from 1972, a revival of Brian Hyland's "Sealed With a Kiss." That's five songs out of 14. The rest are the kind of material Vinton used to fill up his many LPs, covers of songs that were popular for others during the era, like the Seekers' "Georgy Girl" and Roger Williams' "Born Free." Vinton is better suited to some of these songs than others; he does fine with movie ballads like "The Shadow of Your Smile," but is lost on labelmate Tammy Wynette's signature song, "Stand By Your Man." In any case, an album called Greatest Hits ought to have more hits that the singer himself actually enjoyed than this one does, even for the very modest price. [The Collectables reissue contains brief liner notes.]

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