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Music Review: Johnny Mathis – Rapture/Romantically

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My grandfather listened to Eddy Arnold and my mother constantly listened to Johnny Mathis. When you add in my love for 1960’s rock ‘n’ roll; so much for the theory of genetic transfer. Anyway, my mother’s Johnny Mathis albums still reside in my record collection although I must admit they are never played.

Johnny Mathis is now over half a century into his career. He has released an estimated 200 singles worldwide and has had over sixty albums reach the Billboard charts in the United States. His Johnny’s Greatest Hits album, which was released in 1958, spent 490 weeks on The U.S.A. charts which was nine plus years. This was a record until Pink Floyd’s Dark Of The Moon went on to spend 741 weeks on the charts.

Collector’s Choice has just released a series of CDs that combine two of Johnny Mathis’ classic albums into one set.

Rapture/Romantically were two of his best selling albums from 1962 and 1963. They were very popular in their day as they charted at numbers 12 and 23 respectively. They were typical Johnny Mathis releases in that they focused upon popular ballads and easy listening material of the day.

Mathis had a smooth vocal sound and always chose material that fit his style. Rapture, the first disc, has wonderful versions of such old standards as “Stars Fell On Alabama,” “Moments Like This,” and “Stella By Starlight.” Romantically finds him taking a few more liberties with interpretation such as “It’s Only A Paper Moon” which is presented as a straight ballad. When you add the likes of “Moonlight In Vermont,” “Autumn In New York,” “The Sound Of Music,” and “September Song,” you have an album that is representative of some of the best easy listening material of the era.

Rapture/Romantically is aimed at his legions of fans and is about as far from rock ‘n’ roll as you can get. The sound has been cleaned up and is infinitely better than the original LPs from the early sixties. Don Costa’s arrangements and orchestration are lush and full and provide the perfect background for Mathis’ vocals. The big plus of course is that you receive two albums for the price of one.

I’m sure that many people in a certain age bracket will enjoy this release as it will bring back memories of a time and music long past. Somewhere my mother is smiling.

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About David Bowling

  • JMFan

    Big Johnny Mathis fan here. I discovered his music in 1969. I bought my first JM album just on a whim. I bought every new release album since. Plus his older music. Best male vocalist I have ever heard.

  • In case you didn’t figure it out from that; yeah… he’s gay-and modern-day bigots still make him suffer for it.

  • I'm disappointed that you left out one of the signature parts of Johnny's life.From contactmusic's website  Crooner JOHNNY MATHIS stopped advertising his concerts 20 years ago because he was sick of being greeted by death threats at every venue.The WHEN A CHILD IS BORN singer became the target of homophobic bigots after he first announced he was gay – and feared turning up at certain venues after receiving threats.He tells Britain's Sunday Express, "I've had a few death threats from the Southern states (in America). They didn't like my sexual orientation."I didn't like the attention, so 20 years ago, I decided to perform without publicising the concerts with interviews."I'd had enough exposure and was concerned about what came with it."

  • DecemberChild

    Have been totally enamoured with the classy, handsome, chic Johnny Mathis since he started his career. Rapture is one of my all-time favorite Johnny Mathis albums along with Romantically etc. There is no music like this anymore and there are no great singers anymore either except Johnny Mathis to sing and deliver such beautiful poetic music. I’m thrilled some Johnny’s earlier wonderful LP’s are on CD’s now.
    Thank you Johnny Mathis for all the wonderful years of your beautiful voice; there are no others to compare.

  • eileen

    As an ardent Johnny Mathis fan since l957, I have well over 100 of his albums, which I still play to this day. I am delighted to see that at last some his best l960’s LPs are being released on cd. I am now hoping that the next step will be the release of l970’s albums. He is just pure class and the best at what he does. Long may he continue.

  • Pat

    I’ve had the Rapture album since it was first released in 1962 and although I’ve played it a lot it’s still in good shape. I think Johnny’s newer fans will enjoy both albums, this is Johnny at his best. I’m glad to see his management has listened to us fans and are releasing some of his earlier songs.