The Unreleased Capitol Sides


By JT Griffith

While signed with Capitol records, Bobby Darin recorded a number of studio masters that went unreleased for 30 years. With three exceptions, these long-lost recordings are available for the first time on Collector's Choice Music's new CD, The Unreleased Capitol Sides. The exceptions are "I Got Rhythm," "Alabamy Bound," and "Standing on the Corner" which were released by Capitol on its 1995 CD Spotlight on Bobby Darin.

This treasure trove of music is a must own for fans of Bobby Darin's swinging Capitol years. Thirteen songs from this collection were completed during Bobby Darin's most productive recording period ever. In January 1963 he entered the studio seven separate times to work on his follow-up album for Capitol, the country-themed You're the Reason I'm Living. But he also left these songs unreleased until now. They include the song Louis Prima made famous, "I Ain't Got Nobody," Henry Mancini's "Moon River," and the Rodgers/Hammerstein song "This Nearly Was Mine." Adding these 13 to the released version of "You're the Reason I'm Living" makes for a great double album. Jumping ahead to the end of the disc, four songs from the Venice Blue sessions are also included. They are "Just Bummin' Around," "On the Street Where You Live," "Red Roses for a Blue Lady," and "If I Ruled the World." The results of the other material is somewhat uneven. "Gyp the Cat" is Darin's remake of "Mack the Knife" and is a fun novelty song, though the label decided in 1964 that is was not good enough for release. It is clear that while Darin was comfortable poking fun at himself, the listening public might have had a different take on the joke.

The songs recorded to be released as singles are among the most fascinating reasons to buy this collection. Darin recorded the Gershwins' "I Got Rhythm" in July of 1962, shortly after joining the label, but the outtake did not make the LP. In the month before the release of Oh! Look at Me Now, Darin recorded "Alabamy Bound" and "I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now" with the intention that they would be non-LP singles. ("You're the Reason I'm Living" was recorded at the same time and became his first hit single for Capitol.) "Whispering" and "Somebody Stole My Gal" were two upbeat, abandoned follow-ups to Eighteen Yellow Roses, Darin fourth LP released in 1963. The eventual follow-up was 1964's Earthy! which was Darin's first full-fledged foray into folk. Darin probably deemed two singles too lounge. "Two Tickets" and "Love Letters" come from the other side of the spectrum: the ballads. The former is similar to "Eighteen Yellow Roses" while the latter sounds like a slower version of "More." Both are refreshing to hear.

The Unreleased Capitol Sides is a great addition to any Bobby Darin collection, especially the one who has his biggest hits. It completes at least three major Darin releases: the out of print Oh! Look at Me Now (but largely available as Spotlight on Bobby Darin), Venice Blue, and Rhino's As Long as I'm Singin' box set. As such, it is an indispensable group of 25 archival tracks.

(Thanks to Shiying for this review.)

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