Album Details

July 22, 2008
EMI Music Distribution
Vocal Music, Standards, Show Tunes, Traditional Pop, Vocal Pop, Vocal Jazz

Album Review

Sammy Davis, Jr. was as much a visual entertainer as he was an aural one, and his incredible energy and vitality seemed muted somewhat on his various recordings, a case of trying to bottle lightning when it won't ever stand still. That being said, this set of Davis' earliest recordings, done over five sessions in 1949 for Capitol Records, shows Davis was already a pretty versatile and charismatic singer even at the age of 23. Davis had been tearing it up in live shows with the Mastin Trio when he came to Capitol's attention, and although he was then an unknown artist, the label obviously had faith in his commercial potential. Amazingly, the full range of Davis' eventual palette is already in place here, and the 1949 sides embrace the standard pop songs and ballads that Davis loved but they also veer off into blues and bebop territory and feature a nascent shot at the jazz scat vocals that became a Davis specialty. An extremely gifted performer and musician (Davis was quite proficient on drums, trumpet, and vibraphone, sang in a natural low baritone, and could tap dance with the rhythmic precision of a percussionist), he puts a lot of good-willed swagger into sides like "Be-Bop the Beguine" (not a reinterpretation of Cole Porter's classic tune so much as a comment on it) and the R&B-tinged "We're Gonna Roll," then turns sugary sweet for the effective ballad "You Are My Lucky Star." After these sessions, Davis wasn't to enter a recording studio again for five years, a spell broken when he began his long association with Decca Records in 1954. In his later years Davis was often less than kind to these first recordings, but they're hardly throwaways, and they stand, in fact, right in line with the best of what he did for Decca.
Steve Leggett, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. I Don't Care Who Knows It
  2. The Way You Look Tonight
  3. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone
  4. I'm Sorry Dear
  5. I Ain't Got Nobody
  6. Be-Bop the Beguine
  7. You Are My Lucky Star
  8. Can't You See I've Got the Blues
  9. Dreamy Blues
  10. What Can I Do
  11. Got a Great Big Shovel
  12. We're Gonna Roll
  13. Smile Darn Ya Smile
  14. Dedicated to You
  15. Azure
  16. Inka Dinka Doo
  17. Yours Is My Heart Alone
  18. Wagon Wheels
  19. Laura
  20. Here Lies Love