This album is an interesting back note in music history, as it is Dean Martin’s first LP recording. The LP was only created as an invention a few years before in 1949, and this was way before the likes of rock bands such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd recognising it as an artistic and money making tool. Dean Martin was signed to Capitol Records, who also pioneered this then new format of the LP. Dean Martin himself was building up slowly a successful musical career as a Vocal Jazz pioneer and this is an important musical release, so let’s see if it sounds good today.
We begin with Who’s Your Little Who-Zis! begins with some Jazzy sounding instrumentation and Dean Martin’s excellent voice. He sounds more tuneful than some of his competitors of the time, such as Frank Sinatra. This was no doubt a single take in the studio as well on minimal technology, so bonus points must go to that. It is indeed a really good song, and just sounds amazing. There is some cheerful ambience to this song, a great start to the recording.
Next is I’m Yours which begins with some excellent saxophone, before going into a slow ballad style piece that is really great sounding, even today. Dean Martin’s voice flutters over the top of the piece, and this sounds old-fashioned in a decent way. A nice tune to listen back to, even after all these years, it fits the mood for a romantic dinner with your partner, along with wine and cigarette smoking. There is a superb sax solo here, before Dean Martin returns to finish this song off nicely. Very romantic and beautiful sounding, a nice listen.
I Feel A Song Comin’ On is next, and has a frenetic pace to it, with plenty of gorgeous Jazz instrumentation on it. This is a really great piece to listen to, it sounds very fresh and perfectly played as a piece of Vocal Jazz wonder. There is a brass solo here as well, and although less than two minutes long, is very, very good to hear. Great effort here.
Come Back To Sorrento is next, and is another slow ballad type piece that has much instrumental fluttering, and Dean Martin’s iconic voice. There is a neat twist here with some Italian sung, unsurprisingly so for an Italian-American singer as Dean Martin was. This is a great listen regardless and although it may have been recorded many years ago, it is an excellent recording. In the second half, Dean Martin goes back into English singing. A great listen if you like slow romantic music with a twist. A golden oldie musically.
Next is Oh Marie which sounds truly joyous at the start, before Dean Martin sings away in Italian again. Although this may not be the most appealling listen to English speaking audiences, it is a good song, although very much dated now. Halfway through, it changes dramatically and Dean Martin gets singing in English with a Jazzy backing band. A very surprising listen.
Following is With My Eyes Wide Open I’m Dreaming which begins with (what sounds like) Clarinet that is really beautiful. You can see the likes of some of Paul McCartney’s influences here easily. Regardless, this is another quite good listen, especially given the time. This was the era of live performance set to a recording, which is more pure and authentic than you’d think before listening. A slow burner, but a good one, this is a fine listening experience. Dean Martin sings wonderfully here, and this is a good song about romantic dreams coming true. Great stuff.
Just One More Chance is a more midtempo piece that is upbeat, despite Dean Martin singing about troubled emotions. He sounds super cheerful and confident about it, though, which is a nice statement from him. Most of these songs run around the three minute mark, which is miles away from the 20 minute long song styling of Progressive Rock in the 1970s. This is for a good reason, Dean Martin gives 100% here. He sings about love and some guilt about being a poor character to a lover. An excellent melodramatic listen.
Louise is a very Jazzy piece that sounds majestic. This is a great effort on this album, showing that Dean Martin can sing along with music to match. A really cool and old fashioned piece. This was before the Rock phenomenon, but sounds classy and elegant for Vocal Jazz. Short at two minutes long, this is really enjoyable. A very nice listen for a song of its kind.
The historically important song That’s Amore is one of Dean Martin’s biggest hits. It begins with some background singing before going into this classic gem which also has flamenco style guitar playing and accordion. Dean Martin sings in both English and Italian, and proves himself to be deserving of credit here. Wonderful and beautiful a song, it benefits from great lyrics, a nice minimal Jazz backdrop and memorable imagery, it is excellent to hear. A song about true love, and a must listen if you dig musical history. Nice song, and a great musical statement.
Following is I Feel Like A Feather In The Breeze which begins with many Jazz wind instruments playing, before Dean Martin kicks in with his joyous and upbeat message. This is really cool, a gorgeous piece of song artistry that shows that even back in the 1950s, a cat like Dean Martin could make a crowd swing. There is a mesh of wind instrumentation as a solo, rather than a roaringly loud guitar solo here. Still, a wonderful and effortless piece of music that is a gem, like the rest of the album. Great stuff.
When You’re Smiling (The Whole World Smiles With You) is next, and is from the start a really optimistic and positive statement. The honest song title says it all. It is a midtempo (for Vocal Jazz) piece that is a great listen and a gentle reminder that one should remain positive and full of joy throughout this life. This is a message to a lover, so grab your significant other and slow dance to this one. A fine performance and a genuinely good listen, this is impressive music. Very good to hear.
A Girl Named Mary And A Boy Named Bill is last here. It begins with some slow instrumentation, and goes into another fluttering piece of old fashioned romanticism. This is really cool, and is a nice piece about romantic ideals and intimacy. Dean Martin has this piece and album nailed wonderfully, and although many people today may not appreciate this kind of music, there is still a great appeal to it. This is a really great finish to this album, excellent.
This is a really excellent, good quality listen that was recorded in two days. Most artists these days make recordings taking a year or more to do so. However, it may not be the best album ever, but the songs here are good quality and amazing enough for you if you wish to dig through the history of music. Dean Martin was just getting started here, this is a fine release.
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