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Tonight With Eddie Fisher

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Album Review

Between 1958, when Eddie Fisher released As Long as There's Music, and 1960, when its follow-up, Tonight with Eddie Fisher, appeared, his life and career underwent considerable upheaval. On the career front, he parted ways with his longtime label, RCA Victor Records, and launched his own, Ramrod Records; he also went off television after six years. Gaining considerably more attention, however, was his personal life, in which he divorced movie star Debbie Reynolds and married movie star Elizabeth Taylor. Those events were attended by so much hoopla that his singing came to seem almost an afterthought, perhaps even to him. Yet, Tonight with Eddie Fisher doesn't show much evidence of the distraction. Basically, it marked another step in his transition away from being a teen idol and toward being a mainstream adult pop singer. He seemed to have surveyed the Broadway shows and movie musicals of recent (and not so recent) years and cherry-picked his favorites from them: "Just in Time" from Bells Are Ringing; the title songs from Gigi and The Sound of Music; "Let Me Entertain You" and "Small World" from Gypsy; "Another Autumn" from Paint Your Wagon; "Summertime Love" from Greenwillow; "Tomorrow" from The Vagabond King; "Happy Talk" from South Pacific; "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" from My Fair Lady; "Till There Was You" from The Music Man; and "Tonight" from West Side Story. Some of these songs, particularly "The Sound of Music" and "Tonight," gave him opportunities for his trademark belting. But it was striking how often he chose character songs over the soaring ballads he might have been expected to do, such as "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from Gypsy, "Some Enchanted Evening" from South Pacific, or "On the Street Where You Live" (which, come to think of it, he had recorded already for RCA) from My Fair Lady. By eschewing such obvious choices and going for more intimate fare, he gave a good account of himself with a playful "Happy Talk," for example, and a conversational "Small World," giving the album greater variety. [In the wake of the blockbuster box-office success of the film version of West Side Story in 1961, 7 Arts Records licensed Fisher's recording of "Tonight" and released it as a single that made the Top 50, his biggest hit in five years. Nevertheless, the LP spent nearly four decades in out of print obscurity until it was reissued on CD by Collectables Records on January 25, 2000.]

Tonight With Eddie Fisher, Eddie Fisher & The Golden Strings
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