Sammy Davis, Jr.

Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis Jr. Story

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AllMusic Review by

It's hard to believe that a Sammy Davis Jr. box set retrospective was not released until 1999. One simple reason for the delay is that Davis' discography is a licensing nightmare, so the initial triumph of Warner Archives/Reprise/Rhino's four-disc Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story is that it brings together material controlled by Time Warner, EMI-Capitol, Universal, and the Davis estate. But another reason why a Sammy Davis, Jr. box set may not have been an immediate priority is that recording was never his primary medium. Davis was first and foremost a live performer with an act that included singing, dancing, and impressions; everything else -- Broadway shows, films, television, record-making -- was secondary. Despite being possessed of a clear, powerful baritone and precise diction, Davis was always more a performer than a singer. His repertoire as presented here is dominated by songs written for stage and movie musicals by the cream of the interwar pop songwriters. Davis renders this material well, but the lyrics rarely mean much to him beyond being vehicles for his own self-expression (vocal effects, comic interjections, etc.). When this began to change in 1961, it was because a highly self-referential performer found a songwriter, Leslie Bricusse, whose subject was self-absorption. Writing for musicals, Bricusse secondarily provides Davis with material he sings with unprecedented conviction, because it allows him to explore his own dreams and doubts. The claims for Sammy Davis, Jr.'s importance as an all-around entertainer cannot be disputed by anyone who has seen him perform in any medium, and strictly as a recording artist, much of that appeal comes across. Yes I Can! The Sammy Davis, Jr. Story is more the statement of a magnetic personality than it is a collection of meaningfully sung songs, but it is no less impressive for that.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:34 Amazon
2 02:34 Amazon
3 02:48 Amazon
4 03:17 Amazon
5 02:24 Amazon
6 03:08 Amazon
7 03:19 Amazon
8 02:57 Amazon
9 02:04 Amazon
10 02:22 Amazon
11 03:29 Amazon
12 04:41 Amazon
13 03:23 Amazon
14 04:26 Amazon
15 03:29 Amazon
16 04:00 Amazon
17 09:44 Amazon
18 02:51 Amazon
19 04:23 Amazon
20 03:50 Amazon
21 02:44 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:45 Amazon
2 04:30 Amazon
3 03:32 Amazon
4 02:27 Amazon
5 02:49 Amazon
6 03:00 Amazon
7 02:51 Amazon
8 02:09 Amazon
9 02:49 Amazon
10 04:16 Amazon
11 02:19 Amazon
12 03:47 Amazon
13 03:46 Amazon
14 03:24 Amazon
15 02:10 Amazon
16 02:24 Amazon
17 03:06 Amazon
18 01:59 Amazon
19 03:26 Amazon
20 03:07 Amazon
21 03:06 Amazon
22 02:46 Amazon
23 04:05 Amazon
24 04:34 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:55 Amazon
2 03:00 Amazon
3 04:06 Amazon
4 04:23 Amazon
5 02:35 Amazon
6 02:52 Amazon
7 02:17 Amazon
8 02:23 Amazon
9 03:32 Amazon
10 02:12 Amazon
11 02:36 Amazon
12 04:13 Amazon
13 02:32 Amazon
14 02:57 Amazon
15 03:08 Amazon
16 02:57 Amazon
17 02:17 Amazon
18 02:33 Amazon
19 03:12 Amazon
20 05:47 Amazon
21
02:25 Amazon
22 04:08 Amazon
23 04:14 Amazon
24 02:55 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:17 Amazon
2 02:41 Amazon
3 01:36 Amazon
4 05:53 Amazon
5 02:48 Amazon
6 01:25 Amazon
7 02:20 Amazon
8 03:19 Amazon
9
04:47 Amazon
10 10:26 Amazon
11 02:55 Amazon
12 03:33 Amazon
13 02:42 Amazon
14 03:20 Amazon
15 02:38 Amazon
16 02:09 Amazon
17 02:30 Amazon
18 02:53 Amazon
19 03:27 Amazon
20 03:22 Amazon
21 03:50 Amazon
22 03:02 Amazon
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