Here you can discuss other musicians and CD reissues etc

Sammy Davis Jr...does country

Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:05 am

Spotify has many faults, but occasionally it comes up trumps with very nice versions of material which so often sounds awful. Sammy Davis Jr's last album, Closest of Friends, is a case in point. Recorded in 1982, it somehow fell into public domain and has since been released in a number of awful sounding issues. But Spotify has a cleaned up version, and the album can once again be judged without prejudice due to the sound.

Basically, Davis covers ten MOR country songs, including a clutch written by Kristofferson. The album is over-produced and the 80s synths grate at times, but there is some really nice work hidden away here. The ballads in particular are noteworthy, especially You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning, a cover of a Charlie Rich number. Davis slows the track down considerably when compared to Rich and instills a great deal of passion into his recording - something I never hear in Rich's mournful voice. As noted on the Allmusic review, it is the playing which backs Davis that brings the album down, and for that reason this was never going to be a classic, but Davis is as good as ever vocally, and his committed vocals, and wonderful readings of the lyrics, take this slight album to a totally unexpected level. It's not Davis's finest hour, but it doesn't deserve its reputation as Davis's worst album, or anything close to it.

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The album bombed. Davis had done very little recording since the mid-1970s and had become in many people's eyes a parody of himself. But his stage performances and what little studio work that he did showed that he still had much to give. Thanks to the likes of youtube, we can see Davis on TV in his last years giving wonderful performances of the likes of I'm Telling You I'm Not Going, I Dreamed A Dreamed, Satin Doll, Music of the Night and, perhaps best of all, I Can;t Get Started. His performances in the Ultimate Event tour with Sinatra and Minnelli is superb.

Re: Sammy Davis Jr...does country

Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:24 am

I saw Sammy many times in Las Vegas in the 1984-1989 period. He still had it and was absolutely fabulous. It's such a shame he didn't do more recording, his voice was mature and sensational.

Re: Sammy Davis Jr...does country

Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:37 pm

And in 1949, under the name of 'Shorty Muggins', he recorded an R&B number called "Got a great big shovel" for Capitol, during which he imitated Big Joe Turner. It includes much sexual innuendo, such as 'I got a great big brush, I'll paint your kitchen, don't need no rest, but it's in the bedroom that I paint the best....'!!!
I looked for it on Youtube and was gonna post it here, but it's not on there. :cry:

Re: Sammy Davis Jr...does country

Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:17 am

Tony.. wrote:And in 1949, under the name of 'Shorty Muggins', he recorded an R&B number called "Got a great big shovel" for Capitol, during which he imitated Big Joe Turner. It includes much sexual innuendo, such as 'I got a great big brush, I'll paint your kitchen, don't need no rest, but it's in the bedroom that I paint the best....'!!!
I looked for it on Youtube and was gonna post it here, but it's not on there. :cry:


Upload it!

rjm (Sammy was in fine form, right 'till the point where the treatment wrecked his voice -- what happened was very sad)

Re: Sammy Davis Jr...does country

Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:13 pm

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Because of You
Sammy's performance of the song on "The Colgate Summer Comedy Hour" which originally aired August 8, 1954. In this performance, he impersonates Cole, Bennett, Monroe, Eckstine, James Cagney, James Stewart, an ersatz Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, and Jerry LewisLewis.

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Sammy released the single "Because Of You (Parts 1 & 2)" in 1954

Side 1 - Actors (in order):
1. James Cagney
2. Jimmy Stewart
3. Cary Grant
4. Lionel Barrymore
5. Edward G. Robinson
6. Sammy Davis, Jr. (singing straight)
7. Jerry Lewis
8. Dean Martin
9 Jerry Lewis .
Side 2- Singers (in order)
1 Nat "King" Cole
2. Tony Bennett
3. Mel Torme
4. Bill Kenny (from The Ink Spots)
5. Billy Eckstine
6. Vaughn Monroe
7. Frankie Laine

Re: Sammy Davis Jr...does country

Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:55 pm

Davis's impressions were often impressive, but they should never have made their way into the recording studio - he did half an album of such tracks in the early 60s and it's very tiresome indeed. They have their place on stage, or even live albums, but they're not for repeated pleasurable listening - but they must have seemed a good idea at the time. The same goes for Bobby Darin's impressions and comedy monologue on the Curtain Falls CD. The skip button is so useful!

Re: Sammy Davis Jr...does country

Sun Jun 17, 2012 2:57 am

poormadpeter wrote:Spotify has many faults, but occasionally it comes up trumps with very nice versions of material which so often sounds awful. Sammy Davis Jr's last album, Closest of Friends, is a case in point. Recorded in 1982, it somehow fell into public domain and has since been released in a number of awful sounding issues. But Spotify has a cleaned up version, and the album can once again be judged without prejudice due to the sound.

Basically, Davis covers ten MOR country songs, including a clutch written by Kristofferson. The album is over-produced and the 80s synths grate at times, but there is some really nice work hidden away here. The ballads in particular are noteworthy, especially You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning, a cover of a Charlie Rich number. Davis slows the track down considerably when compared to Rich and instills a great deal of passion into his recording - something I never hear in Rich's mournful voice. As noted on the Allmusic review, it is the playing which backs Davis that brings the album down, and for that reason this was never going to be a classic, but Davis is as good as ever vocally, and his committed vocals, and wonderful readings of the lyrics, take this slight album to a totally unexpected level. It's not Davis's finest hour, but it doesn't deserve its reputation as Davis's worst album, or anything close to it.

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The album bombed. Davis had done very little recording since the mid-1970s and had become in many people's eyes a parody of himself. But his stage performances and what little studio work that he did showed that he still had much to give. Thanks to the likes of youtube, we can see Davis on TV in his last years giving wonderful performances of the likes of I'm Telling You I'm Not Going, I Dreamed A Dreamed, Satin Doll, Music of the Night and, perhaps best of all, I Can;t Get Started. His performances in the Ultimate Event tour with Sinatra and Minnelli is superb.




He sounds very much like Charlie Rich on some of the country ballads.

Re: Sammy Davis Jr...does country

Thu Jun 21, 2012 5:24 am

TCB-FAN wrote:
poormadpeter wrote:Spotify has many faults, but occasionally it comes up trumps with very nice versions of material which so often sounds awful. Sammy Davis Jr's last album, Closest of Friends, is a case in point. Recorded in 1982, it somehow fell into public domain and has since been released in a number of awful sounding issues. But Spotify has a cleaned up version, and the album can once again be judged without prejudice due to the sound.

Basically, Davis covers ten MOR country songs, including a clutch written by Kristofferson. The album is over-produced and the 80s synths grate at times, but there is some really nice work hidden away here. The ballads in particular are noteworthy, especially You're Gonna Love Yourself In The Morning, a cover of a Charlie Rich number. Davis slows the track down considerably when compared to Rich and instills a great deal of passion into his recording - something I never hear in Rich's mournful voice. As noted on the Allmusic review, it is the playing which backs Davis that brings the album down, and for that reason this was never going to be a classic, but Davis is as good as ever vocally, and his committed vocals, and wonderful readings of the lyrics, take this slight album to a totally unexpected level. It's not Davis's finest hour, but it doesn't deserve its reputation as Davis's worst album, or anything close to it.

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The album bombed. Davis had done very little recording since the mid-1970s and had become in many people's eyes a parody of himself. But his stage performances and what little studio work that he did showed that he still had much to give. Thanks to the likes of youtube, we can see Davis on TV in his last years giving wonderful performances of the likes of I'm Telling You I'm Not Going, I Dreamed A Dreamed, Satin Doll, Music of the Night and, perhaps best of all, I Can;t Get Started. His performances in the Ultimate Event tour with Sinatra and Minnelli is superb.




He sounds very much like Charlie Rich on some of the country ballads.


which is pretty much the issue that Davis had throughout his career. Despite so much talent, he so rarely managed to find his own voice. His swing work in the 50s and early 60s was often in the shadow of Sinatra or Bobby Darin, and his funkier soul-style material which followed seemed to find him jumping on a band wagon - despite the fact that he was clearly talented in that area too.

Oddly, Davis seems most like himself when he is performing in the setting least associated with him - just him and a guitar. He recorded two wonderful albums of ballads with just a guitar accompaniment (one in the mid-50s, one in the mid-60s), and these are the two occasions when he absolutely found his own voice. They are beautiful records and show just how talented Davis was. In his final few years, he seemed to perform quite a lot of late-night jazz in TV appearances and, again, Davis seemed to have found his own voice. A shame he didn't record more jazz really - imagine if an album had followed with Ella Fitzgerald after their appearance together on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964! Great to see it uncut on youtube too.

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