Bobby Darin

Darin in Digital From Exemplar

This review, written by Jimmy Scalia, appears in
the October Issue of In Tune Magazine.

Well, have you heard the news. There are 3 new 2-fer's on a one of a kind guy. Thanks to Exemplar music Bobby Darin has entered the twenty first century in 24 bit digital stereo and the project comes out smelling like a Rose! Jim Rose that is, president of Exemplar music. Six Darin Capitol albums are finally available for all to listen to and enjoy.

The first of the three Cd's are "You're The Reason I'm Living & 18 Yellow Roses". This CD captures the feel of standard country music as it graduated from Hillbilly music. The wonder and beauty of this album is that Darin took a left turn at Albuquerque (so to speak) and added big band brass to a number of these country tunes with some arrangements from Shorty Rogers. The selection of songs and order in which they lay also seem to add to the momentum of this Lp. Among some of the tunes that stand out are Darin's own penned, "You're The Reason I'm Living", and "Now You're Gone". Another little gem is "Here I Am". Right from the introduction this song has a western sounding fiddle without compromising the fullness of a violin capturing one's attention. While the crispness of the piano not only accents, but sets a beautiful parallel to the strings. Darin with that "cry" in his voice is very believable in this tune and has the ability to make you understand just what he is feeling. Along with that suttle western ( as if you were on a trail at a slow pace ) bass line make this tune so pleasant. Last but not least the draw of that western Darin dialect makes you appreciate just how in tune he was to be able to sing C&W and do it well. The last line of the song "Heeerya-I-yam is MOST effective.

Another tune that stands out is "Who Can I Count On" for starters it is a Shorty Rogers arrangement. Right from the get go the brass hits you right between the eyes. It's an upbeat catchy tune with a terrific accompaniment by Mary Clayton.

I was wondering to myself how the duet with Mary Clayton came about, so I did what any self respecting archivist would do, I went right to "The Man" Steve Blauner (Darin's manager) and asked him. I figured he was probably there.......and he was, and thank goodness he has an impeccable memory and I that I had fresh batteries in the tape recorder. He went on to say, "Ok, Mary's the story. Bobby was doing a session at Capitol for the "You're The Reason I'm Living" album, Shorty Rogers etc, and they had a trio, it may have been a quartet but I think it was a trio. You know, background singers on some of the songs. So we did this session in the afternoon, this was the great studio A at Capitol and here comes 3 girls and they have school books with them. They come right from school to the session. These were the backup singers. They started to sing and I went out of my mind. There was one girl there out of the group and, oh my God! I went over to Bobby and said to him is there anyway of you singing with this girl alone? She's dynamite! He understood immediately. So the next thing you know, I think there is only one song where they do a duet. If I remember correctly they had found this group singing in a church choir. The way it pans out, a girl walks into a recording studio and becomes a star, it's an American dream. On conclusion of that statement I said to Blauner, "Why don't you make me a star?" He replied, "Did you ever look in the mirror?" All I can say is, "What a pal, he always keeps me in check." Between the arrangements, Darin and Mary Clayton's voice, combined with Exemplar Music's remastering you may realize that until you hear this version, just assume you haven't heard any version.

The other Lp on this 2-fer is "18 Yellow Roses & 11 Other Hits" yet another great vehicle for Darin to get a chance and sing some current songs of the time. It's a little of this and a little of that and very entertaining. You have some country, pop and even a couple of Leiber & Stoller songs. Best of all this is the first time this Lp has made the transition to the digital format. Next on the bill lies 2 great Darin Swing/Standard Lp's "From Hello Dolly To Goodbye Charlie & Venice Blue". Darin teams up once again with Richard Wess to create yet more of that magic that only they two could generate. The fullness of the string section stands out ever more than before in such tunes as Henry Mancini & Johnny Mercer's "Days Of Wine & Roses". Listening to "The End Of Never", was a special treat due to the fact that the harp which plays an important part of the feel and movement of the song is now taken up a notch or so in clarity and brings the feel of the song to an even deeper level of beauty. The cuts that were picked on both of these albums are near perfection. I always felt that these Capitol Lp's were Darin at his vocal best. His voice seemed to mature and sound fuller and stronger than ever. I also feel that from this 1962 to 1965 era his phrasing and accenting as well as overall interpretation of a song was honed and running like a well oiled machine. I seem to favor the Capitol recordings for that reason. From Kay Starr to Nat Cole to the Chairman of the Board. It seemed to me that the sound always was a little stronger, a little clearer and little more just out there "in your face" on Capitol than other labels, for the most part. Not only did Darin's voice sound fuller but stronger. It seemed like he had more lung capacity to belt out and hold a solid note longer than before. I always think of this when I listen to Darin due to the knowledge of his heart problem.

So whether it be Mr. D at his best or the help of Capitol's premium recording process the point of the matter is, IT WORKS! The third of this trilogy is Darin's folk Lp's titled "Earthy & Golden Folk Hits" These albums have been long waited for by many a Darin fan all over.

What can one say, if the word versatility can label a person Darin is sure a candidate. These 2 Lp's are nothing like the other four only that, like the other four they carry weight. Darin knows how to put across the feel and truthfulness of a folk song. Wait, it gets better, it is not just some songs that lived in the structure of the American soil but songs that were born on foreign shores as well, stemming from Latin America to Haiti. The collection of songs from "Golden Folk Hits" are more current to date folk songs and give one a peek into the feel and flavor of America Ala 60's. It also important to mention that the legendary James Burton ( Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer and Elvis Presley's lead guitarist from 69-77 ) is present on some of these cuts along with Glenn Campbell. One more thing, this was the first CD of the trilogy that I opened and waited with baited breathe to hear "Work Song". I can't begin to tell you how impressed I was in the sound quality. In hearing the symbol being played I heard for the first time an authentic crisp clean echo of the ring of the symbol after it had been hit. To me (as a drummer) this was LIVE. What a great experience. My hats off to Jim at Exemplar Music for investing the time to sit at Capitol and weave that magic and do justice to Bobby Darin and to give us the admirers and future admirers, the best that is out there. Also a click of my heels & salute to you Exemplar for the preservation of these CD's by keeping the original artwork and liner notes while still throwing us yet another bone with Jim Rose's additional liners.

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