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Sammy Davis, Jr. Band

Discussion in 'Music Forum' started by cshadows2887, Jul 31, 2016.

  1. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    Samuel George "Sammy" Davis ,Jr. (December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990) was an American entertainer. Primarily a dancer and singer, he was also an actor of stage and screen, comedian, musician, and impressionist, noted for his impersonations of actors, musicians and other celebrities

  2. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    Sammy Davis, Jr.
    "Mr. Show Business." Member of the Rat Pack. Or as he sometimes liked to call himself "the only Puerto Rican, black, one-eyed Jewish entertainer in the world." Sammy may have had the purest vocal skills of the Rat Pack (yes, even surpassing Sinatra). But that was only one facet of his gift. He could dance. He could tell stories. He was a terrific impressionist. All of which is on display depending on where you go in his catalog. You can't go wrong being pulled in by any facet of the Wham of Sam.

    Recommended Listen:
    At the Coconut Grove

    Crash Course:
    1. At the Coconut Grove
    2. Sammy Davis Jr. Sings and Laurindo Almeida Plays
    3. What Kind of Fool Am I and Other Favorites

    Compilation Replacement:
    The Definitive Collection

    Signature Songs:
    1. "What Kind of Fool Am I"
    2. "Begin the Beguine"
    3. "As Long As She Needs Me"
    4. "I Gotta Be Me"
    5. "The Candy Man"

    Personal Note:
    It was incredibly hard to make album picks for such a multifaceted artist. I went with At the Coconut Grove not because it represents his highest high, but because it gives you the most complete picture of all his talents. I think Sings and Laurindo Almeida Plays is his masterpiece, showing what he could do when he was in a more serious jazz mood (Mood to Be Wooed hits that spot, too). What Kind of Fool Am I is a good example of his more grab-bag albums, where everything is good, but there's no discernable musical thread and he covers show-tunes, torch songs, percussion-driven numbers, dramatic ballads and an occasionally lighthearted, silly song. As Long As She Needs Me is another quality listen if you like his more varied sound, as is If I Ruled the World. Also worth giving a spin: his lone album for Motown, updated with the Funk Brothers and a bit of swingin' 60s called (appropriately) Something for Everyone and his excellent collaboration with Count Basie, Our Shining Hour. Throw out your preconceptions of the man and poke around in his catalog. He really was a gifted talent.
    hienz4 likes this.
  3. George

    Trusted Prestigious

    Cool! I know him by reputation, and a handful of songs, but haven't ever heard a full album from him. Looking forward to it!
    cshadows2887 likes this.
  4. George

    Trusted Prestigious

    Listened to a version of At the Coconaut Grove today. I say version, because the only copy I could find was 34 minutes long, which is 8 minutes shorter than the version listed on Wikipedia. Not sure what's up with that, or what that I'm missing, but I still enjoyed it!

    He's a lovely performer, seems very relaxed and at ease with the audience, cracking jokes (I've got a pool and I can't even swim!) and he has a fantastic vocal ability. Not knowing much about him beforehand, other than his rat-pack reputation, there wasn't anything on here that surprised me particularly. That's not a bad thing or anything, he's clearly a very talented singer, and the album was a good way to spend 30 minutes. He's a multi-talented, multi-faceted entertainer, and I was definitely entertained for the duration of this album, so no complaints here!
    cshadows2887 likes this.
  5. George

    Trusted Prestigious

    I'm listening at work, and my only option during work-time is Youtube, so I'm slightly limited to what i can find on Youtube. Unfortunately I was unable to find the other two crash course albums there, so I listened to an album called I've Got To Be Me from 1968, purely because it was the first proper result when searching "Sammy Davis Jr Full Album" haha.

    I'm pretty happy with that though, because I thought this was great! I knew the title track before, and that's as awesome as you'd expect, with the big swirling strings and orchestration. That sort of sound carries through, it's very exuberant and life-affirming, perfect summer swing music in short. It's only a little album, ten tracks and a 25 minute run-time in total. It's all great fun, and Sammy sounds fantastic. It's not a big artistic statement or anything, but it doesn't have to be. Good, clean fun all around.
    cshadows2887 likes this.
  6. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    I'll have to listen to that one. I love the song but was always worried that the album would be corny somehow.
  7. George

    Trusted Prestigious

    Listened to Our Shining Hour which is an album of his from 1965 with jazz pianist Count Bassie. It's (obviously) a more jazzy affair than the previous two, and a quick look on Wiki shows that it was produced/arranged by Quincy jones, which is nice to see.

    The arrangements are pretty grand and full sounding, which allows Sammy to shine over the top of them, but they do drop it down for more delicate ballads at times, which I think I enjoy more. I enjoyed Bassie's contributions a lot, he's clearly an extremely talented pianist, and there are lots of little flourishes on the songs which I really appreciate. The percussion on "Blues for Mr Charlie" was also really engaging.

    I'm enjoying the three albums I've heard from him, and it confirms that he definitely was a fantastic singer, and a really talented live performer. There hasn't been a "holy shit" moment in them yet, but you don't always need that, I suppose.
    cshadows2887 likes this.
  8. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    First time with I Gotta Be Me. Pretty damn good. Doesn't go in for the cheese that colored a lot of his contemporaries' excursions in the late 60s, probably helped by picking 3 songs from a quality musical like Sweet Charity. The arrangements are excellent, full and colorful without being too over the top. And while he wasn't quite as jaw-dropping a vocalist as when he was younger, he had learned to do this really cool growling trick to cover for a reduced high range that I find appealing as hell
  9. cshadows2887

    Hailey, It Happens @haileyithappens Supporter

    I Gotta Right to Swing is pretty fabulous. Having the Basie Orchestra behind him really gives him a whole new level of energy. The slow numbers sway, the fast ones cook and Sammy, unsurprisingly, rises to meet their intensity the whole way.