Vic Dana

Warm & Wild

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Though none of the 12 songs here made it on to The Complete Hits Of Vic Dana, the young singer that the 1962 liner notes claim was "not yet of voting age" did get to play in an exclusive arena. This is not the Vic Dana the world knew from his sole Top 10 hit, the re-make of Vaughn Monroe's Top 3 smash from 1949, "Red Roses For A Blue Lady." Warm and Wild plays more like a young Vic Damone or Jerry Vale. Backed up by stellar musicians like keyboardist/woodwind star Buddy Collette, guitarist Barney Kessel, and bassist Joe Comfort, with Earl Palmer and Mel Lewis on drums, you have a young pup with seasoned (and major) instrumentation behind him. This is as impressive and creative as Pia Zadora on her glitzy 1980s tour with musicians found after she opened for Frank Sinatra's. It's actually quite amazing: a young pop singer performing Rodgers and Hart's "My Romance" years before Carly Simon, Toni Tennille, and Linda Ronstadt found the idea chic.

Here's the problem with this great disc. The packaging of the teenager in a red shirt against a blue cover looking like he's leaning on a car gives the Warm & Wild album the look of Frankie Avalon stepping out of one of his Beach Party movies -- the image hardly representing the Tony Bennett sounds found within. Music like his excellent minor hit "Danger" would have been better served by the packaging. But despite that record company ploy, this project sounds like it fell out of a time machine from the 1940s. As a career move it seems risky and probably was. As an artistic statement, it's an achievement.

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