Les Paul & Mary Ford

Warm and Wonderful

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Les Paul and Mary Ford try to take their driftin'-and-dreamin' ballad style of the Silent '50s into the Swinging '60s, where all of the gleaming stereo sound cannot hide the stark fact that the formula had already been stretched very thin. The menu is mostly time-worn standards and other artifacts from then-dying Tin Pan Alley. The tempos are languorous, and Ford's vocals have little of the soul of her best, more fragile Capitol recordings; Paul is always worth hearing for his imaginative curling around the vocals, urbane harmonic sense, and quirky bent notes, and there is a nice nostalgic moment when they do a spangled remake of "It's a Long, Long Time" (his No. 1 hit with Bing Crosby) for the Space Age. Collectors' note: the whole album was also issued on 33 1/3 RPM 7-inch singles as part of an attempt to launch that instantly doomed format. Taken all by itself, this is a lovely record but there is a lot of better Les Paul and Mary Ford vinyl to be heard, even from their waning days at Columbia.

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