39 of Tony's top tracks from the Columbia vaults, spanning five decades of incredible performances! Includes Because of You; Cold, Cold Heart; Blue Velvet; Rags to Riches; Stranger in Paradise; The Boulevard of Broken Dreams; Just in Time; I Left My Heart in San Francisco; Firefly; I Wanna Be Around; For the Good Life; Fly Me to the Moon , and more.
has a typical lack of effusiveness about the kudos of his seven-decade career, but he does reportedly display an inscribed picture from a longtime colleague and fellow saloon singer in his Manhattan apartment. It reads: "To the best goddamned pop singer I've ever heard." It's signed "Frank Sinatra." But don't take the Chairman's word for it. Just listen as these two discs bound from one masterly performance to the next, documenting a career whose ups and downs--Bennett actually went long years without
a record contract--belie a robust evolution of vocal strength and subtlety of phrasing. The arc of Bennett's art in the decade from "Cold Cold Heart" and "Rags to Riches" to "The Best Is Yet To Come" and his signature "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" is remarkable enough, but it just keeps getting better. When the singer's management shrewdly orchestrated his MTV-powered "comeback" in the late 1980s and '90s, Bennett delivered considerably more than mere hype. Indeed, the highlights of those efforts (a warm, semi-autobiographical collection of ballads; tributes to Sinatra, Astaire, Ellington, and the blues; the obligatory MTV Unplugged
set) included here barely skim the surface and arguably warrant a double-disc collection all their own. Still, the 39 tracks here represent the best kind of anthology: one that leaves you craving more. --Jerry McCulley