Generous collection of heartbreak and romance
Vinton’s best known hits from the early ‘60s have become icons not only on Oldies Radio, but in films, commercials and elsewhere. “Roses Are Red (My Love),” “Blue On Blue,” “Blue Velvet,” “There! I’ve Said It Again” and “Mr. Lonely” are just a few of the great songs to which Vinton lent heartbreak and romance. Like a select few who came just before and after (e.g., Johnny Mathis, Bobby Rydell, Wayne Newton), Vinton thrived as a crooner in the rock ‘n’ roll era. Especially impressive is that his success spanned across the Beatle-led British Invasion of the U.S. charts. ¶ In addition to the chart-toppers, Vinton recorded a deep catalog of lesser-known hits and album tracks. He found both artistic and commercial success in reworking ‘60s hits like The Paris’ Sisters’ “I Love How You Love Me” and Brian Hyland’s “Sealed With a Kiss,” drawing out their tempos to magnify their emotion. His lush rendition of Goffin & King’s “Halfway to Paradise” added a dash of Roy Orbison styled drama to Tony Orlando’s original. It’s surprising to note that several of the songs most closely associated with Vinton were actually covers: “Blue Velvet” was recorded by Tony Bennett in the early-50s, and “There! I’ve Said It Again” was a hit for Vaughn Monroe in the mid-40s. The generously selected 25-song track songlist includes thirteen of Vinton’s fourteen Top-20 singles, and a total of twenty-three Top-40s. Also included are a few lesser known, but equally interesting tracks, including a sweet cover of Johnny & Joe’s “Over the Mountain (Across the Sea),” a Nashville Sound take of “My Elusive Dream,” the Bobby Goldsboro-esque “The Days of Sand and Shovels,” and Vinton’s own “L-O-N-E-L-Y.” Vinton’s stint in the army not only resulted in “Mr. Lonely,” but also the 1966 sequel, “Coming Home Soldier.” ¶ This is a superb collection of Vinton’s most productive years at Epic, and the most complete such greatest hits disc on the market today. All of his major singles are here, except for 1964’s “Clinging Vine,” and his 1974 comeback on ABC, “My Melody of Love.” The latter may be a casualty of inter-label licensing, but the omission of the former is mysterious. Sound quality is excellent, with finely produced true stereo throughout. ¶ 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings.
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