Vegas Goodfellas

Various Artists

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Vegas Goodfellas Review

by William Ruhlmann

This is a motley, low-budget collection of stray tracks by various male pop singers, held together by its title. But many of the recordings date from the 1940s, before Las Vegas had become a performing and gambling mecca, even if several of these performers became identified with it. Certainly, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Al Martino spent much time there, and actor Joe Pesci, who contributes a stylistically out-of-place rendition of the Beatles' "Got to Get You Into My Life," actually appeared in the Martin Scorsese movie GoodFellas (which wasn't set in Las Vegas come to think of it, but Pesci was also in the Scorsese movie Casino, which was, so maybe it's okay). But straight-laced Bing Crosby, at least one of whose tracks is an aircheck, probably wouldn't appreciate the association, and neither would Perry Como. The album has no annotations, but the sources of the tracks are not hard to trace, and they are from odd moments in the performers' careers -- a late live album by Martino, a rare Roulette Records session by Tony Bennett -- or they are out-of-copyright studio recordings presented in crackly, muffled transfers. As such, there's little to recommend this album other than the mere presence of so many notable names on one disc.

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