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Playin With My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 108 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Amazon.com

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, Astaire, 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

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Alright, Okay, You Win - with Diana Krall
  2. Everyday (I Have The Blues) - with Stevie Wonder
  3. Don't Cry Baby
  4. Good Morning, Heartache - with Sheryl Crow
  5. Let The Good Times Roll - with B.B. King
  6. Evenin' - with Ray Charles
  7. I Gotta Right To Sing The Blues - with Bonnie Raitt
  8. Keep The Faith, Baby - with k.d. lang
  9. Old Count Basie Is Gone
  10. Blue And Sentimental - with Kay Starr
  11. New York State Of Mind - with Billy Joel
  12. Undecided Blues
  13. Blues In The Night
  14. Stormy Weather - with Natalie Cole
  15. Playin' With My Friends - with various duet artists


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 6, 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00005QVV2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,121 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I have listened to EVERY Tony Bennett album/cd he has ever done over the years, so needless to say I am a fan. But, I cannot express how amazingly good this CD (album, for people from my era) is. I truly think it is Bennett's best. He is at his prime.
Every song on the CD is excellent, all jazz, all done tastefully, and his selection of "friends" only adds to the pleasure of the CD. I especially liked Sheryl Crow and B.B. King, but everyone -- Diana Krall, Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, k.d. lang, Kay Starr, Billy Joel, and Natalie Cole worked smoothly and well with TB.
I cannot imagine anyone who likes Tony Bennett's sound who will not find this listening experience truly wonderful. And, i would expect that some who are not his fans will finally see why so many of us think of him as one of the greatest singers of the past five decades.
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Format: Audio CD
I never truly considered Tony Bennett one of the great singers of the late 40's and the 50's, and have become amazed at his longevity as a performer and at his continuing popularity.
All this is well earned, as this CD shows. He maintains an upbeat style and while it's wonderful to hear him with a veteran such as Kay Starr on "Blue and Sentimental", he is still a good match for such gals as Diana Krall, Sheryl Crow, and Bonnie Raitt.
Most outstanding, though, in my mind is "New York State of Mind", a great duet with Billy Joel. And for real low down blues, "Evenin'" with Ray Charles can't be beat. Another master blues musician, B. B. King, really backs Tony up, and easily shares the spotlight on "Let The Good Times Roll".
This is good blues, although with the Tony Bennett upbeat interpretation, it isn't always at its most soulful...often a blending of Bennett's smooth and upbeat voice with generally soulful vocal or instrumental accpaniment from the great guest stars.
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Format: Audio CD
I love Tony Bennett- he's talented without being a megalomaniac (unlike Frank Sinatra). "Playin With My Friends" brings Tony together with the likes of Billy Joel, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow and Ray Charles. Tony and Diana Krall have a wonderful sound together on the first track "Alright, Okay, You Win". The most enjoyable factor of these types of CD's is hearing younger artists truly showcase their talents through older songs. It seems more and more kids are warming up to music from several generations ago simply because they recognize newer vocalists on the album. Overall, an entirely scrumptious and delectable CD for evenings in or dinner parties.
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Format: Audio CD
Playin' with My Friends: Bennett Sings the Blues is a great CD. This album has wonderful duets between Tony Bennett and many of his best contemporaries. This is a fine album for Tony Bennett fans; and the quality of the sound couldn't be better. The artwork is very nicely done and the duets feature a broad diversity of artists with whom Tony performs.

"Alright, Okay, You Win" has Tony Bennett singing with the great Diana Krall; together they make this number shine more brightly than ever before! Diana is in excellent form and her vocals complement Tony's performance very well; and the jazzy arrangement works wonders for this classic tune. Great! "Everyday (I Have The Blues)" features Tony Bennett singing with Stevie Wonder; they both sound great and together they make some mighty fine music for us to enjoy! This tune also gets an excellent jazzy musical arrangement that is also very pretty and I really like "Everyday (I Have The Blues)." Listen also for "Good Morning, Heartache" with Sheryl Crow. Sheryl's vocals are excellent although I must admit I still think this number belongs to the immortal Billie Holiday. Nevertheless, Tony and Sheryl do a superlative job as they perform "Good Morning, Heartache" with lots of feeling, heart and soul.

"Evenin'" has the great Ray Charles performing with Tony Bennett; they massage the lyrics to this classic ballad and this bluesy number never sounded better! Tony and Ray Charles do this to perfection--and beyond! I particularly like the piano arrangement--it's not too overbearing and it's elegant as well. "Keep The Faith, Baby" has Tony performing with k.d. lang; together they easily ace this tune and the percussion enhances the natural beauty of this ballad. I can certainly understand why Tony Bennett said that k.d.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a superb album showcasing not only the continued fine voice of Tony, but absolutely wonderful work by Diana Krall, Stevie Wonder, Sheryl Crow, B.B. King, Bonnie Riatt, et al.
The only disappointment is the lack of liner notes. It would be nice to read about these sessions. For instance, where has Kay Starr been all these years. She doesn't sound all that great, but it was nice to hear that she's still among the living.
And, when are recording companies going to stop printing essential sideman information, etc. in the tiniest of type and layed over color graphics? The "artsy" album designers are all after some award, and forget there are those of us who actually like to read what was written and not have to strain through black print on dark colors.
Five stars for Music, but deduct a 1/2 star for the lack of liner notes and graphics as described.
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