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Live! At the Desert Inn

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Album Review

In the early '70s, Bobby Darin had discontinued his infamous "Bob Darin" billing, but he was still interpolating the best of the late-'60s folk and singer/songwriter scene into his live act — this despite playing to the mostly middle-aged, craps-playing audience assembled at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas for an early 1971 run. Darin had more than a decade's worth of hits to reprise for the crowd, and he did so happily, from "Mack the Knife" to "If I Were a Carpenter" and even including "Splish Splash" (as part of a rock and soul encore). But beyond not wishing to begrudge a fandom that had been left behind by the era of progressive rock, Darin most certainly did his best to entertain and enlighten his regular concert attendees — musically, socially, and even politically — without worrying about the blowback from his largely conservative base. It also earned him enmity in progressive circles as a faker, although with his performance Darin makes it clear that he has nothing to apologize for. After all, he was, at heart, a showman pure and simple. He starts the concert with an urgent plaint from the pen of Laura Nyro ("Save the Country") and, after inserting "Mack the Knife" as a sop to his fans, returns to the singer/songwriter crowd with James Taylor's "Fire and Rain." A Beatles medley appears halfway through the set, as does Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" and Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," all of them performed with too much reverence, but also a fine ear for what made those songs examples of great American pop. [Live! at the Desert Inn was projected to be Darin's first album release for Motown, and although it was pressed or planned twice (once under the present title, once as Finally), it was shelved until it finally appeared in 1987 (on Motown) and again in 2005 (on Concord), the latter with several bonus tracks.]

Customer Reviews

Sing a simple song of freedom

This is the most beautiful song I ever heard!!!!

Timeless music

Sung by one of the best voices ever recorded. Wish I were old enough to have seen him at the Desert Inn, alas all I have is this recording but if I close my eyes real tight . . .

Time hasn't passed for Darin

This has to be the best Bobby Darin recordings I've heard and own. The album's sound and Darin's voice are so crystal that your would think they were recorded last week in Las Vegas. The songs all feel real and present, specially his late 60s Folk hits. Love to hear him talk and comment on his act too. Lovely and timeless. Enjoy it!


Born: May 14, 1936 in The Bronx, New York, NY

Genre: Pop

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

There's been considerable discussion about whether Bobby Darin should be classified as a rock & roll singer, a Vegas hipster cat, an interpreter of popular standards, or even a folk-rocker. He was all of these and none of these. Throughout his career he made a point of not becoming committed to any one style at the exclusion of others; at the height of his nightclub fame he incorporated a folk set into his act. When it appeared he could have gone on indefinitely as a sort of junior version of Frank...
Full Bio
Live! At the Desert Inn, Bobby Darin
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