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Call Me - The A&M Years

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Album Review

Chris Montez started out in the early '60s as a Ritchie Valens-influenced, fairly gritty rock & roller. But upon signing with A&M in the mid-'60s, he changed to a much smoother style that crossed easy listening pop, bossa nova, and the lightest of pop/rock touches. This 22-track compilation focuses on his 1966-1968 recordings for the label, which did bring him a fair amount of pop success, a far cry though they were from the days of his raucous 1962 smash "Let's Dance." All four of his 1966 Top 40 hits are here ("Call Me," "The More I See You," "There Will Never Be Another You," and "Time After Time"), as well as many other tracks that emphasize his almost womanishly high vocals and a loungey mid-tempo groove. There are, perhaps, too many standards filling out the CD, and too many bossa nova-easy listening blends; if you're going to hear that stuff, you're much better off with an actual Brazilian singer who made it their main dish, like Astrud Gilberto. Still, as easy listening '60s pop goes, this is for the most part good and likable, by virtue both of Montez's engagingly shy voice and the deftly loping arrangements, which can't help but bring to mind indolent semi-tropical afternoons spent lounging around the jet set. All-Time Greatest Hits, which spans Montez's entire '60s work, is still the best compilation for those who want just one CD of his material (and want to hear his rockin' side as well as his crooning one). But Call Me: The A&M Years is recommended for those who want a more in-depth helping of his softer side.


Born: 17 January 1943 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the leading rockers in the Los Angeles Hispanic community after the tragic death of Ritchie Valens, Chris Montez later mellowed out under the tutelage of Herb Alpert and tallied several MOR-style hits. His first smash was on Monogram in 1962, "Let's Dance." It was a grinding rocker with roller-rink organ. Montez changed his attitude after signing with A&M. With Alpert producing, Montez adopted an easygoing approach on "Call Me," "The More I See You," and "Time After...
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Call Me - The A&M Years, Chris Montez
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