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Boy Meets Girl
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
I have to say I was thrilled hearing the Porgy & Bess album Thrilled because I arranged and conducted four of THE BIG ONES for Sammy Davis - Bess You is My Woman Now, A Woman is a Sometimes Thing, Bess, It Ain't Necessarily So! The sound is so incrediible I thought we must have recorded it in Carnegie Hall - but it was recorded in a very small Decca Studio on Melrose Ave. next to Paramount Sutdios in Hollywood - with about 45-50 musicians - and some of the world's greatest at that! I would usually never write about my own work but I was really thrilled to hear those tracks as I didn't realize at the time that my work had improved so much from just a couple of years before when I first started in the biz whilst still a student at UCLA! But the main reason my orchestrations sounded so thrilling to me was what the re-issue porducer for Verve Bryan Konyarz did with the re-recordings - it is amazing sound - and I have to congratulate him which I already did for doing such a great job - I heard every single note/nuance I wrote at the time - and at the time I didn't realize how awesome the totality of Sammy and I working together once again was. Wil Haygood (who wrote the best Sammy bio ever) quoted me as saying how "thrilling" the session was - not good but thrilling! I get chills every time I play the tracks and am so very happy to have worked on what I feel is an incredible interpretation by Sammy of the Gershwin material - and is hs voice ever great on the CD! WOW! I do remember that I had to conduct without any beat at all on the two "Bess" songs - and continually turn away from the orchestra to only watch Sammy's lips move; and I had to move 50 or so musicians without a drum keeping time. On each 2nd take I had to hold my right arm up with my left arm as my right arm ached so badly - I always made big circles when conducting and used all my power to move the orchestra along so as not to miss a single syllable of Sammy's brilliant delivery! Buddy Bregman
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae certainly had different backgrounds: his career evolved out of the vaudeville circuit and Carmen's career was based upon much more formal music training. Nevertheless, their union sparks more than just plain old harmony on this generous "two-fer" CD. The "two-fer" CD is called a "two-fer" because it contains all the tracks from their record album entitled Boy Meets Girl as well as the tracks from their album entitled Porgy and Bess.

The CD begins with the twelve tracks from the 1957 LP entitled Boy Meets Girl; and "Happy To Make Your Acquaintance" charms you with its beauty. Their excellent diction and enthusiasm electrifies this number and already you're dying for more.

You won't be disappointed as you listen along, either. The track set continues with the classic "Tea For Two." Sammy and Carmen sing the rarely heard opening verse and the musical arrangement makes great use of the piano and horns. Sammy also interjects clever, witty side comments to make this number even better than I've ever heard it! Excellent! "You're The Top" boasts a great musical arrangement and Sammy and Carmen sing this to perfection. Once again, the rarely heard opening verses enhance the beauty of this number. When Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae sing these numbers, you can tell they ARE in love--with their music, of course, as they were two of the very best in the business.

Carmen and Sammy infuse "Cheek To Cheek" with a high octane energy as they sing this number as if their lives were on the line! You become convinced no duo could perform "Cheek To Cheek" better than Sammy and Carmen can here.

Other gems include "A Fine Romance" which gets a royal yet playful treatment from Sammy and Carmen; they sing like artists scratching to be heard and we get the all the benefits on numbers like "A Fine Romance!" "Baby, It's Cold Outside" offers more of that magical chemistry between Sammy and Carmen; and the horns on the musical arrangement work very well.

The CD also gives us a bonus single track entitled "I Go For You." Carmen and Sammy sing this love ballad with panache and a playful togetherness that charms you instantly. The cha cha rhythm makes "I Go For You" even better, too!

Then the CD gives us the ten tracks from Sammy and Carmen's 1959 record album entitled Porgy And Bess. Carmen performs "Summertime" with great sensitivity in a fairly serious mood. Sammy then comes in on the next track entitled "A Woman Is A Sometime Thing." Sammy performs "A Woman Is A Sometime Thing" with great feeling and a degree of sensitivity I rarely hear. His voice is rich, warm and full of masculine charm. "My Man's Gone Now" features Carmen performing this ballad with strength as she sings of her terrific angst over her lost love. Carmen even makes her voice tremble to convey her vulnerability which, ironically, makes her interpretation of "My Man's Gone Now" all the more powerful and commanding.

Other great numbers from the Porgy And Bess track set include the touching and memorable "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" performed by Sammy Davis, Jr.; and "It Ain't Necessarily So" gives us Sammy singing at his best with a great male backup chorus. "I Loves You, Porgy" yields yet another sublime duet between Sammy and Carmen; "I Loves You Porgy" lets Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae sing of the love Porgy and Bess have for each other and how they may have to fight for their love and happiness together.

The CD ends with "Oh, Lawd, I'm On My Way." Sammy sings this uplifting ballad to perfection. The chorus in the background adds to the beauty of the number, too.

The liner notes feature an essay about Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae by Wil Haygood; and the photos of Sammy and Carmen together are very nicely done. You also get miniature replications of the artwork for both the front and the back of the record album covers, too.

I truly have difficulty imagining a world of entertainment without the fine contributions of Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae. They sang passionately with all their hearts and souls. We are much better off for them sharing their fine artistry with us. I highly recommend this "two-fer" CD for fans of both Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae; and people who enjoy classic pop vocals will cherish this CD for many years to come.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
A number of years ago I heard their recording of ,"There's A Small Hotel", recorded in the fifties on Decca. A great rendition of the Rodgers and Hart classic and rarely done as a duet. The album was out of print for decades and has just been reissued.This disc contains two LP's, "Boy Meets Girl" and their interpertation of "Porgy and Bess". The "Porgy and Bess", is a beautiful arranged and performed recording. The, "Boy Meets Girl", is spotty. Sammy resorts to a Jerry Lewis voice in some of the numbers, he's having fun, but it doesn't hold up. I love his voice so I'm always happy when he get's down to business. Carmen sounds fantstic all the way through. For my money and well...yours, if you are considering purchasing this CD, the best part are, the ballads at the beginning and all the Gershwin at the end. Still a good buy, considering you couldn't get it until now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Sibling and parent/child duets create a family voice that complements the individual singers. But duets between men and women elevate the relationship itself. The truth of country music has lent itself to many power duos, including Conway and Loretta, George and Tammy, and Johnny and June, but the raw emotion of soul music gives its duets another dimension of expressiveness. As the Memphis based Stax label expanded upon the success of its 1960s hard soul singles, the arrangements added strings, the horn charts softened and room was created for male-female duets. As part of the label's push into album releases, a double-LP's worth of duets were recorded with roster artists for 1969's Boy Meets Girl and released as part of Stax's massive post-Atlantic Records rebirth.

Mavis Staples sings two album highlights, a conga-heavy deep funk cover of Sam & Dave's earlier Stax hit "I Thank You" with William Bell, and a powerful Southern soul cover of Erma Franklin's "Piece of My Heart" with Eddie Floyd. The album mixes up-tempo grooves such as William Bell and Carla Thomas' "I Can't Stop" with emotionally crooned ballads that include Eddie Floyd and Cleotha Staples' "It's Too Late" and Johnnie Taylor and Carla Thomas' "My Life." This reissue drops eight of the original LP's titles and adds four, including the iconic pre-LP "Private Number," a terribly misguided mid-80s remake by Dusty Springfield and Spencer Davis, and a pair of tracks from Delaney and Bonnie's 1968 sessions for Home. Those seeking the original track lineup (and cover art) can find it on a pricier UK reissue. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This single CD combines two previously released albums featuring Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McRae - "Boy Meets Girl" and "Porgy and Bess," recorded on various dates in 1957 and 1958, twenty-three tracks in all. The tracks from "Boy Meets Girl" feature some nice standards from Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern and Hoagy Carmichael, among others. Track 13 is a previously unreleased song, entitled "I Go For You," and it's a great duet tune, featuring witty lyrics and great singing. It's a very catchy number, and listening to it makes me wonder what other unreleased gems the record execs have kept hidden in the vaults away from prying ears. The tracks from "Porgy and Bess" are similarly excellent. It all adds up to a disc worth owning if you want to hear two great vocalists teaming up at their peak.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
It's easy to take Sammy Davis Jr. for granted, even today. This collection of Sammy-Carmen tracks from the '50s serves as a welcome reminder that, had he done nothing else, he was still one of the several best male singers from this period or any other. To begin with, I thought much of his humor on this outing was gratuitous and even distracting (he'll quickly replace his own lush baritone with a Jerry Lewis impersonation followed by a Nat Cole impersonation followed by spoken asides--all within a phrase or two). But upon repeated listenings his rapport with Carmen sounds convincing, indispensable to the unique chemistry between this pair. And he plays it serious, or romantic and tender, on enough of the tunes to balance the cutting up. (He's endearing on "Two Sleepy People," and I doubt there's a better, and more moving, reading of "Bess, You Is My Woman Now" on record.)

For some ears it may be a revelatory experience to hear Carmen McRae at this time (mid to late 1950s). By the early 1970s she was rightfully recognized as one of the top 3-4 jazz singers and interpreters of the American Songbook, but her once-lovely soprano had dropped considerably (perhaps by an octave) and it lacked the breath support that allowed her to draw out a phrase, finishing it off with a warm vibrato (the vibrato would desert her and her voice no longer had "body" when she sang softly). It was a credit to her that her interpretive abilities and all-around musicianship enabled her to work around the harmful effects of smoking. On this recording, however, you're able to hear both sides of Carmen--the ability to deliver a lyric convincingly and the vibrant vocal quality (which perhaps many listeners are unaware of).

There's no horseplay on the latter part of this collection--the "Porgy and Bess" session. Arranger-conductor Buddy Bregman, whose comments on his own recording are included among the Amazon reviews, has reason to feel satisfaction if not pride. The performances and settings rank among the best of the available recordings of Gershwin's unique opera, which enjoyed a revival in the late '50s (I wish someone would figure out that it's due for another one). As for Sammy Davis' tour de force performance, it should be sufficient in itself to place him in the front ranks of all-time great American entertainers. And the recorded sound of the vocalists and orchestra is not only balanced but has detail, depth, and "presence." This is a genuine, largely-hidden gem that, given the musical sensibilities (and absence of comparable talent) of the present millenium, is indeed an unrepeatable event.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Two classic LP's! The re-mastering job on this CD was first class. The first of the two albums, "Boy Meets Girl," features fun standards with Sammy 'hamming it up' while Carmen's voice is as wonderful as she always was. "Porgy and Bess" was a good concept with fine orchestrations and early 1958 stereo sound (except that some of the selections has the vocals a little low in the mix) but overall felt a little uneven in presentation. That's why I gave it four stars instead of five.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This product is the best of the best. this cd has some great classic tunes of Sammy and Carmen. songs include:Baby It's Cold Outside,There A Small Hotel,A Fine Romance and other classic tunes. buy this cd. It is a great cd and Sammy and Carmen fans are going to love this classic for years to come.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Excellent recording to fill in the blanks for the early years of her career. Duets with Davis are crsip clear and obviously both enjoyed the collabaration.

Now if they would only re-release a CD of "Carmen McRae at The Great American Music Hall" my Carmen McRae CD collection would be complete!
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on October 3, 2011
Format: Audio CD
This would have been a 5 star rating, but I had to subtract 1 star for the poor recording quality. The great Sammy Davis, Jr. and Carmen McCrae deserved better treatment. This recording is slightly hard and treble-heavy, which detracts from the natural warmth of the music. Fans of Carmen McCrae will miss her usually warm, smooth vocal quality. This is the first time I have heard Carmen's voice sound thin and on the verge of sounding strained. Sammy's voice is the more powerful of the two, and therefore seems to suffer less damage from the recording mistreatment than Carmen's beautiful, naturally melifluous voice. But even Sammy's voice takes on a treble edge that is somewhat disappointing. The orchestra and arrangements are marvelous, but unfortunately they sound like they were recorded on a cheap portable recorder with budget microphones. Fortunately, the recording quality is not so bad as to make the CD unlistenable. It's just disappointing to have such a gem not given 5 star recording treatment.

So don't let the sub-par recording quality deter you from buying this CD. The choice of duets is great, the chemistry between Carmen and Sammy is everything you would expect, and the music makes for a very enjoyable and entertaining listening session. And I know of no other available recordings that have captured this dynamic duo. So what we have hear is a very important recording in the history of Jazz, and if you are a jazz fan and a fan of one or both of the recording artists, you don't want to be without this!
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