Various Artists - The '50s Remembered, The Pop Vocalists Era: Dick Haymes, Alan Dale, Johnny Desmond, Don Cherry
The '50s Remembered, The Pop Vocalists Era: Dick Haymes, Alan Dale, Johnny Desmond, Don Cherry
By Various Artists
Any single CD that attempts to help us "remember the `50s" is going to fall short of being complete, but this album is not bad at all if you view it as a "broad brushstrokes" type of retrospective that focuses on male vocalists. (There's another "The '50s Remembered" CD with recordings by ladies.) We get brief liner notes on each vocalist, song credits and dates each song peaked on the charts. The quality of the sound is excellent and the artwork is nicely done.
Another reviewer writes that Dick Haymes probably should not have been included here since his heyday was in earlier decades. However, Haymes did release record albums both in the 1950s and after, so for me this is not a major complaint. I do wish they had more artists represented instead of just four singers with four or five tracks each. The CD runs about 46 minutes; it definitely could have been longer with more music.
Nevertheless, what we do get is excellent. Dick Haymes' fans will love his duets with Ethel Merman ("You're Just in Love" from "Call Me Madam") and Eileen Wilson. Dick sings his heart out on the other tracks as well. Alan Dale's renditions of "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White" and "Sweet and Gentle (Me Lo Dijo Adela)" are easy on the ear; Alan never missed a beat. There's a cute albeit dated performance of "East Side, West Side" by Alan Dale, Johnny Desmond and Buddy Greco; and I confess that the melody remains quite catchy. (Please forgive me; I'm having a mid-life crisis full of nostalgic moments.) Johnny Desmond's "The High and The Mighty" is easily my favorite version of this ballad; Johnny sings this passionately and the musical accompaniment leaves nothing to be desired. Johnny also does a great job on "Woman." Don Cherry's "While We're Young" is memorable and I also like his treatments of "Thinking of You" and "Band of Gold."
If you want superb classic pop vocals from the 1950s, this CD may be just what you want. I am a bit disappointed that it's limited but this is an inevitable problem with any single CD retrospective, even if they only focus on the men. I also recommend this for fans of Dick Haymes, Alan Hale, Johnny Desmond and Don Cherry.