Bobby Darin

Stateside with Robert Rice

This article appears in the December 2004 issue of IN TUNE Magazine.

There is no special commemorative connected with Bobby Darin in this year of 2004, at least not to my knowledge, yet a host of tributes have come forth from varied sources. This is of course to the delight of the myriad of fans that have continued to follow this cult figure, who passed away on December 20, 1973 at the age of 37, in a career that was still in the process of skyrocketing.

Here is a rundown review of what has surfaced in recent months. COLLECTORS' CHOICE, in an exclusive agreement, authored the Bobby Darin ATCO catalogue. All of his best loved albums were gathered together in an elaborate portfolio. Gordon Anderson has been quite proud of this block of discs that highlight the many rhythms and moods of this dynamic performer. Check out the web at www.collectorschoicemusic.com.

HYENA records, which is a new label name to most of you, has issued a special collection of its own in the person of 'Aces Back to Back.' This is the long awaited Darin collection, and it paints the entire picture of his all too short career. It is produced by Joel Dom, in conjunction with Darin's manager Steve Blauner and the Darin official archivist Jimmy Scalia. This CD/DVD set has been billed as the most comprehensive montage of Darin rarities ever released, drawing from long lost concert perforrnances, previously unreleased radio broadcasts, out of print studio sessions and vintage film and television footage. Jimmy Scalia asked me to mention the high spots, which includes appearances from his 1970's television variety show, on which Darin delivers definitive renditions of his biggest hits, from MACK THE KNIFE, to BEYOND THE SEA and DREAM. The fabled 'Milk Recordings' are among the only known Darin Jazz vocal performances. The real bonus here is the DVD component, which includes the aforementioned '70s television show. A feature is the never before seen black and white documentary film that Bobby Darin was directing about his own life. It is narrated by George Sums, and the footage captures Darin in the studio, with his family, and performing around the world. There is also his comeback appearance at the Cocoanut Grove. 'Beyond the Sea: The Bobby Darin Story' is set to hit movie theatres nationwide soon. This is a retrospective that encompasses the brilliance of Darin in the 20th century. It is an over the counter product that hopefully will be readily available everywhere you are reading this. If you wish to have further information on HYENA check out www.hyenarecords.com.

Moving along to the third part of the Darin experience comes 'Songs From Big Sur.' This segment deals with what was to be the latter portion of Bobby's career. Captured on VARESE SARABAND, Cary Mansfield has brought a 22-track representation, depicting some of the rarest and seldom heard material back into the public domain. The collection has been co-produced by Cary with Jimmy Scalia. Jimmy has once again researched and compiled this very sensitive segment in the Darin chain of history. As you may have gathered, from the above coverage, Jimmy Scalia has done much to publicise and promote the legacy that has become somewhat cult like, among his early followers and fans. He then further connects it all to the growing interest and curiosity of an ongoing younger generation, who have, mainly through his efforts, discovered the magnitude of Darin's popularity from a period that barely lasted fifteen years. The composition of this disc consists of nine cuts from Bobby's DIRECTION label, of which two are from the files of the previously unreleased. Two sides are included from ATLANTIC, FUNNY WHAT LOVE CAN DO and I AM. The sweeteners here are four previously unreleased titles that are also from ATLANTIC. LONG TIME MOVIN', I'M GOING TO LOVE YOU, MY BABY NEEDS ME, and EVERYWHERE I GO. The program concludes with Bobby Darin on Bobby Darin. Recorded 'live' at The Troubadour in 1969, Darin is at his best, by performing his own compo- sitions. There is the whimsical DIRECTIONS, delivered with to ngue in cheek, followed by the driving force of LONG LINE RIDER. The concluding number is dedicated to the mood of life in the '60s. SIMPLE SONG OF FREEDOM depicts his feelings about war and injustice. Jimmy Scalia wrote the liners, but he was careful to keep the commentary focused on this particular album. There were many contributors to the final production.

It, along with all of the above, is there for all of the true Darin fans to savour!

CAPITOL is also getting on the Darin bandwagon with yet another anthology from this affluent label. The compilation producer in this instance is the very talented Rob Christie. A very generous 24 sides have been culled from the library to provide a cross section of the CAPITOL years. The titles here are more pop oriented, as was most of the material Darin recorded during this period. All are familiar, and receive the typical Darin treatment. ONCE IN A LIFETIME, MORE, CHARADE, HELLO DOLLY, THE GOOD LIFE, MOON RIVER, YOU'RE THE REASON I'M LIVING, GOODBYE CHARLIE, IF A MAN ANSWERS and 18 YELLOW ROSES are some of the highlights. Five of the entries are taken from 'live' performances from a combination of the Flamingo, in Las Vegas and in Los Angeles. The liners are penned by Will Fiedwald. Further assistance was provided by Steve Blauner, Jimmy Scalia, and the Bobby Darin Testamentary Trust. The mastering was done by one of the best, Bob Norberg. All of the stats are included with the exception of recording dates. I told Rob Christie that this is a glaring oversight, especially for Darin fans. Those dates will be featured in an upcoming Stat file.




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