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Sings the Big Ones for Young Lovers

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Album Review

Sammy Davis, Jr. followed up 1964's The Shelter of Your Arms — his highest charting long-player to date — with this dozen-song outing, supported by some irresistible backdrops courtesy of arrangers Jimmie Haskell and Perry Botkin Jr. Rather than another collection of show tunes and standards from the American popular music canon, Sings the Big Ones for Young Lovers primarily consists of well-known covers, including a handful of early rock & roll selections such as Leiber & Stoller's "Kansas City" and the frisky and loose remake of "Walk Right In," which Davis belts and scats into an uptempo swinger. Decidedly less bombastic yet instinctually grooving is the undulating bossa nova rhythm on "Days of Wine and Roses," while Davis' mellow and easygoing take of "Deep Purple" finds the vocalist weaving around a woozy string arrangement and a steadily driving backbeat. Of equal note are the ballads that the artist so ably reinvents and, in doing so, intimately personalizes. "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is given a brass-intensive upgrade, matching Davis' hearty intonations. By contrast, "Deep Purple" bears a noticeable Baroque feel thanks to its quaintly effective harpsichord accompaniment. Although "I Wanna Be Around" commences with a sole acoustic guitar, it isn't long before the full ensemble kicks the affair up a notch, turning in a profound and powerful moment. On the softer side, Davis updates "It's All in the Game," replacing the incessant doo wop score heard on Tommy Edwards' 1958 version with the charm and allure of an affective ballad, creating a coziness and maturity conspicuously absent from the more familiar reading. In 2004 Collectors' Choice Music issued Sings the Big Ones for Young Lovers as part of their reassessment of Sammy Davis, Jr.'s recordings on Reprise Records, marking the first time that a majority of the material had been available in several decades.


Born: 08 December 1925 in Harlem, New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Recognized throughout much of his career as "the world's greatest living entertainer," Sammy Davis, Jr. was a remarkably popular and versatile performer equally adept at acting, singing, dancing, and impersonations -- in short, a variety artist in the classic tradition. A member of the famed Rat Pack, he was among the very first African-American talents to find favor with audiences on both sides of the color barrier, and remains a perennial icon of cool. Born in Harlem on December 8, 1925, Davis...
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Sings the Big Ones for Young Lovers, Sammy Davis, Jr.
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