Cd Image is different from stock photo.
Tony Bennett's commercial renaissance of the 1980s and '90s was aided by a string of albums that communicated his essential values while providing conceptual rings (Sinatra
, women singers
) for record buyers to grasp. Playin' with My Friends
links duets with an assortment of marquee artists to a set of blues and blues-influenced standards. While Bennett is no Joe Turner
or Bobby Bland
, his upbeat style melds well with that of most of his guests. He achieves the proper level of brio on "Let the Good Times Roll" with B.B. King
and sits in spiritedly with Stevie Wonder
("Everyday [I Have the Blues]") and Ray Charles
(a moaning "Evenin'" that's the standout cut). In fact, it's the visitors, not the host, who occasionally misfire: Sheryl Crow
sounds unsure of her putative pain on "Good Morning, Heartache," while Natalie Cole
is simply too glib to make for a convincing "Stormy Weather." Still, Bennett, his small band, and the best of these cameos make Playin'
more than just another series of superstar walk-ons. --Rickey Wright