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Album Review

Vic Damone at the Royal Festival Hall is a surprising joy — a classy latter-day concert by the smooth-as-velvet voice of Damone backed by the Northern Dance Orchestra, a wonderful full orchestra that adds more than a touch of class to the proceedings. Opening with "The Song Is You" this 1985 concert, listed in the BBC Archives as part of their recordings, has the 57-year-old crooner (at the time) in fine form. "When I Dream" follows and the production and performance are so perfect one might think they are listening to a studio version on radio instead of a live concert. Damone's fresh, youthful look from the album covers has been replaced by elder statesmen authority, but you'd never know it when that superior voice takes control. After the terrific (neo-disco) title track, "On the Street Where You Live," he allows for some audience participation dipping back 21 years prior to memories from 1956 — and offering an Andy Williams album to a fan. Mixing contemporary material — a nice reading of the 1977 Captain & Tennille hit from the pens of Carole Bayer Sager and Melissa Manchester, "Come in from the Rain," with old standards to Damone's advantage, of course. The singer shows why he deserves more attention — the kind that Tony Bennett and others have garnered in the new millennium. "New York, New York" has none of the angst that Liza Minnelli and Frank Sinatra tore into it, here Damone simply masters and owns the timeless melody with incredible ease. By 2007 this is the only visible DVD from Damone and the lack of more concert material readily available by this important artist is distressing. 13 songs play over 52 minutes, and an instrumental exit of "Over the Rainbow" make this short and sweet — the viewer needing some extras and bonus tracks and their absence the one downer here. There's individual tracking for each song and an advertisement for other Cherry Red Film releases but that's it. So enjoy the superb concert.


Born: 12 June 1928 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

One of the prototypical Italian-American crooners, Vic Damone parlayed a smooth, mellow baritone into big-time pop stardom during the '40s and '50s. Early in his career, his inflection and phrasing were clearly indebted to Frank Sinatra, who once famously called him "the best set of pipes in the business." Overall, though, Damone's style was softer than Sinatra's and owed less to the elasticity of jazz, especially since he was a solo performer who never served an apprenticeship with a swing orchestra....
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On The Street Where You Live - 4 Track EP, Vic Damone
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