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The Ultimate Collection

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Album Review

Despite its highfalutin' title, British budget-reissue label Prism Leisure's Dick Haymes compilation The Ultimate Collection is just another in a long line of cheap discs made to take advantage of the 50-year copyright limitation in Europe. The album is generous, boasting 25 tracks and a 74-and-a-half-minute running time. With the exception of "I'll Get By," recorded by bandleader Harry James with Haymes on vocals for Columbia in 1941 (but not a number one hit until 1944), the selections are all drawn from Haymes' tenure at Decca Records, 1943-1949. Included are both solo recordings and several hit duets with Helen Forrest, such as "It Had to Be You" and "I'll Buy That Dream," plus a duet with Judy Garland on "For You, for Me, for Evermore." Eighteen of Haymes' 27 Top Ten hits following his big band days are included, among them the chart-topper "You'll Never Know" and his other gold record, the number two hit "Little White Lies." But far too many favorites are missing for the album to live up to its title, especially when the familiar muffled sound of compilations made on the cheap is taken into consideration. Supposedly, albums like this are not for sale in the U.S.; in practice, they're usually easy to find inexpensively, and for the novice this one will give a sense of Haymes' singing. But there are legitimate stateside collections that would be more highly recommended.


Born: 13 September 1918 in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Genre: Vocal

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

Dick Haymes was one of the most splendid ballad singers of his era, the near-equal of Crosby and Sinatra on classics of the form like "It Can't Be Wrong," "Till the End of Time," and "It Might as Well Be Spring." Though he was unable to cash in during the '50s golden era of adult pop (due to alcoholism, troubles with the government, and a few tempestuous relationships), Haymes continued performing and recording until his death in 1980. Born in Buenos Aires in 1918, Haymes was the son of British...
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The Ultimate Collection, Dick Haymes
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