Steady Date With Tommy Sands
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18 songs from the Chicago singer/Hollywood actor who was supposed to be the next Elvis. This CD includes Tommy's smash 1957 hit Teen-Age Crush plus Goin' Steady; Sing Boy Sing; Ring-A-Ding-Ding; I'll Be Seeing You; My Love Song , and more.
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"Goin' Steady" opens up the album with Tommy squarely in the spotlight--which is quite all right by me! Tommy's excellent diction enhances his performance all the more--there's a fine backup chorus but Tommy never really needed it. "I Don't Know Why (I Just Do)" is a romantic, smooth love song that's just perfect for dancing all alone late at night in your living room with your sweetheart; and listen for Tommy to outdo even himself on "Too Young" and the classic "Teach Me Tonight."
"Graduation Day" sparkles in Tommy's capable hands; and "`A' You're Adorable (The Alphabet Song)" is relentlessly upbeat with some mighty fine guitar work to make this number a standout. "Gonna Get a Girl" features Tommy again performing a very upbeat tune with lots of positive energy; and "Too Young to Go Steady" is very easy on the ear even if the lyrics are about teen angst. "Ring My Phone" has an early rock and roll flavor to it that works wonders for the tune; and I really like "I Don't Care Who Knows It" with that piano, chorus, and more accompanying Tommy Sands as he sings this to perfection--and beyond!
"Somewhere Along the Way" and "Walkin' My Baby Back Home" continue in a most romantic vein even though "Somewhere Along the Way" isn't a happy song; and "Teenage Crush" has excellent guitar work in the musical arrangement as Tommy bats this one straight out of the ballpark! "My Love Song" has an exquisite melody as Tommy speaks some of the lyrics for an emotional effect; and "Ring-A-Ding-A-Ding" is another number with an early rock and roll feel to it--and that percussion is very well done.
"Sing Boy Sing" is very well done; and "Blue Ribbon Baby" is a great number in every way. The album ends strong, too, with Tommy Sands performing the ageless "I'll Be Seeing You." What a romantic song with which to end the album! Tommy makes this shine with his very sensitive delivery and it will leave his fans wanting more.
Tommy Sands could croon alongside the best of them although he has been sadly overlooked as the years went by. Hopefully, however, that might change with continued sales of albums like this one. This is perfect for Tommy's fans and it even makes a fine starter CD for people just discovering the magical artistry of the great Tommy Sands.
Roulette grabbed Jimmie Rodgers, Ricky Nelson was the voice of choice at Imperial, MGM - which already had Connie Francis as the best of the young female vocalists - put their faith in Conway Twitty, ABC-Paramount had the multi-talented Paul Anka, Columbia - still not totally convinced - turned to movie star Sal Mineo but would release his cuts on their Epic subsidiary, while Atlantic would do the same with Bobby Darin on their Atco link, and Fabian and Frankie Avalon would be the mainstays at the new Chancellor label.
Capitol's choice was Tommy Sands after his successful debut singing Teen-Age Crush on the January 30, 1957 Kraft TV production "The Singing Idol." It was an auspicious beginning as the record, backed by the Bob Bain orchestra, peaked at # 2 Billboard Pop Top 100 and # 10 R&B b/w Hep Dee Hootie (Cutie Wootie).
After that, however, it would be tough sledding with only two of his remaining 10 hit singles making the Top 40. A cover of Faron Young's 1953 Country hit Goin' Steady did reach # 16 in summer 1957 b/w Ring My Phone which, from another Kraft TV show "Flesh And Blood," registered as a "follow-along" hit. Then came Sing Boy Sing, the title song from the film starring Tommy which made it to # 24 early in 1958 b/w Crazy 'Cause I Love you. All were again backed by Bain.
You might have noticed that none of the Tommy Sands CDs listed are labeled "best of" or "greatest hits of" so one cannot be critical of the fact that this one, for example, leaves off three of his eleven hit singles: Teen-Age Doll (# 81 in May 1958); The Worryin' Kind (# 69 in January 1959), and his last hit, The Old Oaken Bucket (# 73 in September 1960). Nor does Collectables include any of the B-sides except for My Love Song, which was a # 62 b/o Ring-A-Ding-Ding, and the above-mentioned Ring My Phone.
The sound quality is excellent and the liner notes informative for this talented young man whose mother had been a vocalist with the Art Kassel band, who starred in the additional films Mardi Gras, Babes In Toyland, and The Longest Day, and who was also married to Nancy Sinatra from 1960 to 1965.
One of the better Sands' compilations available and that includes the one from the normally reliable Bear Family whose offering also omits some significant cuts.