Title - 'Collected Cool' (UMe)
Artist - Dean Martin
Dean Martin's 'Collected Cool' is the first ever career-defining box-set from the legendary man himself. Sure we've had numerous Greatest Hits CD sets released on him over the years, especially since his passing on Christmas Day 1995. But this oh-so lavish 4-disc collection (3 CDs + 1 DVD) includes rare, unreleased audio and rare footage - plus all of Dean's biggest hits and signature tunes from both his Capitol Records and Reprise years.
The first CD - packed with his biggest hits, signature songs, rarities - follows Dino's early rise to stardom and kicks off with 'Dean's Spoken Word Introductions,' which are followed by 'My Own, My Only, My All,' the old-style swing of 'Powder Your Face With Sunshine (Smile! Smile! Smile!),' 'I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine,' the swayful 'That's Amore,' and both 'If I Could Sing Like Bing' and the lushness of 'Sway (Quien Sera).'
Up next on this best of his Capitol Records years disc comes 'Long, Long Ago,' the Elvis-sounding 'Memories Are Made Of This,' and 'Pardners,' sung with the legendary Jerry Lewis, before such lush gems as the Italian-fused 'Volare,' 'Rio Bravo,' the tale-telling of 'On An Evening In Roma,' and 'Sleep Warm.' The pace gets picked up somewhat with 'Ain't That A Kick In The Head,' before the first disc rounds out with the brass-enhanced 'Just In Time,' 'Arrivederci Roma,' and both 'Return To Me' (complete with angel backing and harps) and 'A Hundred Years From Today.'
The second disc features some of Martin's biggest and most cherished hits from his rich and fruitful Reprise years kicks off with 'Tik-A-Tee, Tik-A-Tay,' before heading into 'Senza Fine,' 'Who's Got The Action,' 'Guys And Dolls' and then 'Marina.' Up next though is a stripped down version of his #1 hit single, 'Everybody Loves Somebody.' Backed, on this incredible version with an instrumental quartet, the song has new, lush life breathed into it. (FYI - Did you know that when it topped the charts that year it actually knocked the Beatles from the #1 spot at the time?!)
Following on and we next get to hear 'The Door Is Still Open To My Heart,' the always-beautiful sway of 'You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You,' the finger-snapping of 'In The Misty Moonlight,' and both 'Sophia' and the beautiful 'Send Me The Pillow You Dream On.' Then comes the gentle Elvis-flavored country of 'In The Chapel In The Moonlight,' 'Welcome To My World,' the countryfied 'Houston' and the pop-flavored 'I Will.' This second CD is rounded out by 'Somewhere There's A Someone,' 'My First Country Song,' featuring Conway Twitty, and then 'LA Is My Home.'
The third disc is the rarest of all the music you are going to get to ehar on this incredible box-set. It features a rare, live audio recording of Dino's concert at Cal-Neva Lodge in Lake Tahoe, CA, on July 27th, 1962. Running at only around the 52 minute mark, the performance has never been released in its entirety - until now! With bouts of audience banter thrown sparodically in, Martin kicks off his show with 'Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes,' and backs it with 'Almost Like Being In Love,' 'I Love Tahoe (Paris),' 'My Kind Of Girl,' and both 'June In January' and 'Break It To Me Gently.'
Given that Martin does tend to chat with the audience a lot on this disc, the pockets of him speaking are numerous, trust me, but he does seem to be having a great time - and so are they, of course. Next up is 'Rock-A-Bye Your Baby With a Dixie Melody,' which is followed by an un-named instrumental, and then an incredible medley, 'Primrose Lane/You Are Too Beautiful/Carolina In The Morning/Love Walked In/I Love Being A Girl.'
As we head into the final 15 minutes we get 'Beautiful Dreamer,' 'You Made Me Love You,' the soulful 'It Had To Be You/Nevertheless,' and 'I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter.' This delightful flashback of a recording third disc is rounded out with 'Volare,' 'On An Evening In Roma,' another version of 'I Love Paris (Tahoe),' and after a closing outro, the music fades and Martin is gone.
The fourth and final disc is a DVD featuring 60 minutes of live footage from his show at London's Apollo Victoria theatre show in 1983. This performance originally aired only on Showtime and has never been made commercially available - until now! It features such songs as 'Everybody Loves Somebody,' 'When You're Smiling,' 'Pennies From Heaven,' 'L-O-V-E,' 'Drinking Champagne,' and 'That's Amore,' 'Bad, Bad Leroy Brown' and 'Little Ole Wine Drinker Me.'
In closing, and as much as classic cuts such as 'Under The Bridges Of Paris,' 'I'd Cry Like A Baby,' 'Standing On The Corner' and 'Love Me, Love Me,' 'If' and 'Angel Baby' and many more are not included (mysteriously), sitting alongside all the music and screen gems found on the DVD is a 60-page booklet containing essays, extensive liner notes and rare photos from the archives. The man was a legend - and so is this fabulous box-set!