13 Songs, 35 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer teamed up for the 1961 release Two of a Kind, Mercer was a storied veteran who'd made major contributions to the Great American Songbook and Darin was still a rising star. But besides being among the few major artists of the era to record their own material, both men had deep roots in pre-WWII pop music. That common ground provides the basis for much of this collaboration, as Darin and Mercer duet on songs going back at least as far as the '20s. Employing a loose-limbed feel full of lighthearted ad-libs, the two tackle everything from the 1928 Bing Crosby hit "Mississippi Mud" to Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards' vaudeville-tinged "Paddlin' Madelin' Home." But the real stroke of genius on Two of a Kind is the addition of another heavyweight, Billy May, whose swinging arrangements successfully update the older tunes Mercer and Darin dust off. Toss in a handful of Mercer originals, including a title track written with Darin, and Two of a Kind makes for an unforgettable summit meeting between two American musical giants.

EDITORS’ NOTES

When Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer teamed up for the 1961 release Two of a Kind, Mercer was a storied veteran who'd made major contributions to the Great American Songbook and Darin was still a rising star. But besides being among the few major artists of the era to record their own material, both men had deep roots in pre-WWII pop music. That common ground provides the basis for much of this collaboration, as Darin and Mercer duet on songs going back at least as far as the '20s. Employing a loose-limbed feel full of lighthearted ad-libs, the two tackle everything from the 1928 Bing Crosby hit "Mississippi Mud" to Cliff "Ukulele Ike" Edwards' vaudeville-tinged "Paddlin' Madelin' Home." But the real stroke of genius on Two of a Kind is the addition of another heavyweight, Billy May, whose swinging arrangements successfully update the older tunes Mercer and Darin dust off. Toss in a handful of Mercer originals, including a title track written with Darin, and Two of a Kind makes for an unforgettable summit meeting between two American musical giants.

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