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Saturday, August 7, 2021

Showcase Of Hits - Guy Mitchell


Singing The Blues

Guy Mitchell
Showcase Of Hits
Philips BBL 7265

From the back cover: At the outset of his brilliant career as Guy Mitchell (having just adopted that name, instead of the Al Cernick under which he used to record country-and-western songs), he was inseparably associated with his enterprising recording manager, Mitch Miller. Guy's recording all bore the unmistakable stamp of Miller arrangements and orchestrations, and it was this partnership which, more than any other factor, lifted him to the heights of stardom.

The big break for which every artist waits, and which many fail to achieve, came when Frank Sinatra turned down an offer to record a Percy Faith composition, entitled 'My Heart Cries For You'. Instead, it was offered to Guy, and it proved to be his first million-selling record. The other side of the disc was the nautical-flavored 'The Roving Kind', equally popular with the fans, and to this day it is virtually impossible to decide which was the more successful of the two.

An unusual accompaniment effect in 'The Roving Kind' was built around the prominent use of a quartet of Frenchs horns, and when it was realized how infectious and captivating this idea could be, songsmith Bob Merrill produced a lengthy string of similarly jaunty numbers - all with the tang of a sea-shanty about them, and tailor-made to the effervescent, light-hearted Mitchell style.

Sure enough, they were duly presented to Guy as potential recording material. And the songs, plus the now-inevitable French horns and the masterly baton of Mitch Miller, lent just the right degree of distinction to Guy's vocal tones, to ensure that turntables on both sides of the Atlantic were kept busily spinning thourghout 1951 and 1952... with such titles as "Christopher Columbus', "Sparrow In The Treetop', "My Truly Truly Fair' and 'Belle, My Liberty Bell'.

The output continued unabated and, although 'She Wears Red Feathers' and 'Pretty Little Black-Eyes Susie' were not Bob Merrill compositions, they retained the same idiom and character, both being evocative of a life on the ocean wave.

There's Always Room At Our House
We Won't Live In A Castle
Belle, Belle, My Liberty Belle
Look At That Girl
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
My Truly, Truly Fair
She Wears Red Feathers
The Roving Kind
My Heart Cries For You
Pretty Little Black-Eyes Susie
Cloud Lucky Seven
Sparrow In The Treetop
Singing The Blues

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