Val Doonican

Very Best of Val Doonican [MCI]

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Generally overlooked by many rock fans as just one more in a long line of super suave mid-'60s crooners, and epitomized for a generation of TV viewers by the image of him smiling gently, cardigan clad in his rocking chair, Val Doonican nevertheless possessed one of the most distinctively restful voices of the age. And this collection, drawing upon the stream of albums and singles he released for the U.K. Decca label through the 1960s, is a fitting tribute to his talents. Doonican's biggest hits were the country-flavored "Walk Tall" and his cover of Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly"; his most distinctive were the novelty "Delaney's Donkey," "O'Rafferty's Motor Car," and "Paddy McGinty's Goat," gently humorous slices of life from the singer's own Irish homeland. All are included on this 20-track compilation, alongside his equally pleasant takes on "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," "King of the Road," and "Song Sung Blue," and while those numbers do form the stylistic limits of Doonican's repertoire, that still leaves him a lot of territory in which to roam. Other Doonican CD collections exist, but this one -- one of the very first to appear -- remains the definitive one.

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