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I've Gotta Be Me: Best of Reprise

4.9 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 8, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

A tremendous, 15-track collection (rat)packed with Sammy's great hits from the '60s, most of 'em on CD for the first time! What Kind of Fool Am I; As Long As She Needs Me; The Shelter of Your Arms; I've Gotta Be Me; Yes I Can; Lush Life; Once in a Lifetime; Night Song; Gonna Build a Mountain , and more, with notes.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 8, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • ASIN: B000002NBI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,476 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 18, 2003
Format: Audio CD
This CD is not only a wonderful collection of 15 terrific songs; it is a true celebration of the life and spirit of the uniquely gifted Sammy Davis, Jr. The story and meaning of this album are told extremely well in the extensive liner notes included with it. All of these recordings were made under Frank Sinatra's Reprise label in the early 1960s, a decade in which popular music celebrated communal living and shared nonconformity rather than individualism. Sammy's message of empowerment, truth to oneself, and triumph over all the obstacles in one's path are thus much more significant when viewed in this light. Sammy overcame tremendous roadblocks on his way to success: born a poor, black child in a white society, Sammy was battling and overcoming racism long before Martin Luther King brought the issue of civil rights to the forefront; his conversion to Judaism only increased the prejudice he had to overcome in life. This is a man whose loss of one eye in a tragic auto accident sidelined him only a few weeks. Having pushing himself to achieve everything he set out to do, remaining true to himself all the while, he made himself a source of great inspiration to those of us who came after him. Sammy made a number of mistakes along the way, as he freely admitted, but he overcame even these self-imposed obstacles and truly lived every day of his life. This collection of life-affirming songs is truly one of the best Sammy CDs I have found.
Many of these songs are actually show tunes from such Broadway productions as Stop the World-I Want To Get Off, Oliver, The Roar of the Greasepaint-The Smell of the Crowd, and Golden Boy. "Yes I can" was Sammy's mantra, and as such this song best summarizes the spirit of this collection.
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Format: Audio CD
This, I imagine, is what Vegas sounded like in the years when Vegas was really VEGAS. It's whiskey-and-cigarette two a.m. music at it's most dramatic.
"Lush Life" meanders a bit, but "A Stranger In Town" begins to pick up the pace, and Davis begins to pull out the stops on "What Kind Of Fool Am I."
"I've Gotta Be Me" is an absolute masterpiece, a powerful cry of self-impowerment that is as stirring today as it was upon it's release. Is it a tad over-dramatic? Maybe--after all, it's a Broadway tune. But, for those of us who got downright nauseous listening to "Candy Man" four million times, "I've Gotta Be Me" is a revelation, a vocal so big and full of life that it just can't be overlooked. It's old-style Hollywood, old-time Vegas.
By the way--anybody else remember watching Davis shoot his six-guns on the old Merv Griffin show? That was great stuff.
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By A Customer on February 5, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Whether you are new to Mr. *D* or an old fan, you will find "I've Gotta Be Me: The Best of Sammy Davis, Jr. on Reprise" as Sammy's best work.
First the sound quality is very good, something that is somewhat lacking on the live CDs. Second the time and effort that Sammy and his orchestrators put into this great work is obvious. Sammy's timing, his heartfelt vocals, and emotions pour out in all its glory. To say it's a first rate performance is an understatement.
The selection of songs is wonderful-- from Billy Strayhorn's sad and depressing "Lush Life", to Lee Adam's upbeat "Yes I Can!"
If I was to buy only 1 Sammy CD, this would be it ...with "The Wham of Sam" a close #2.
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Format: Audio CD
Sammy Davis Jr never seems to get the credit he was due, but the man could truly SING. A couple of years ago, TVLand showed a concert featuring Davis, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra performing for charity in St Louis. While Frank and Dean were their usual relaxed and confident selves, Sammy seemed to be on a different plane of intensity. Growing up in the 60's, I tended to define his sound by the narrow parameters of "Candy Man" and "I've Gotta Be Me". While that latter cut is included here (and is a highlight as his voice soars over a powerful arrangement), there is SO much more.
First let me say that I completely agree with the liner notes that say "no one celebrates the self as gloriously as Sammy Davis Jr." Because what this set is about is the power of the individual: "Yes I Can", "Gonna Build a Mountain" and "If I Ruled the World" are moving testaments to that faith, and they ought to be everyone's anthems. But there are also some fabulous ballads here, foremost among them the Anthony Newley gems, "Who Can I Turn to" and "What Kind of Fool Am I".
Isn't it ironic, in a sense, that although the music of the Sixties seemed to glorify non-conformity, thirty or so years later much of the "rock" produced then (with notable exceptions of course, such as The Beatles) falls into a rather dull and predictable collectivist mindset, even down to a dress code of sorts featuring long hair, beads, tie dyes, etc, while the supposedly "staid" adult sounds of the period featured an artist who sang of the possibilities and inherent power of the creative individual.
Somehow, this stuff doesn't seem half as dated as groups like Strawberry Alarm Clock or Iron Butterfly. I never would have believed it back then...
To quote Sammy: "A star is the fool who will try anything in public and the genius when it works."
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