The first Rat Pack actually revolved around Humphrey Bogart and included the likes of David Niven, Sid Luft, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and a number of other Hollywood stars of the era. One night when Bogart staggered into the house with some of his friends, his wife Lauren Bacall said, “You look like a rat pack.” I have deleted the explicatives in her description.
The Rat Pack familiar to most people today was the Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, and Sammy Davis Jr. group of the late 1950s through the early 1980s. They made a number of movies together with the best known being 1960’s Ocean’s 11.
Sinatra, Davis, and Martin were the core of the Rat Pack as they were singers, and would often perform together. A new album, featuring the three singers, has just been released.
The Very Best Of The Rat Pack may not be an essential album for Sinatra, Martin, and Davis collectors but it is a fun release. It gathers 16 solo performances and two duets together for about an hour of listening enjoyment. There are seven Sinatra songs, five by Martin, and four by Davis. Davis also participates in a duet with both Sinatra and Martin.
There really is no rhyme or reason for the material selected. The album does not contain their well known hits, but the allure is in the reissue of some material that is both excellent and not as well known.
There are a number of highlights contained here. Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me,” “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” and “Witchcraft” are always welcome. Martin shows his smooth approach with the likes of “Ain’t That A Kick In The Head” and “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You.” I was less familiar with the music of Sammy Davis Jr. so such songs as “Too Close For Comfort,” “A Lot Of Livin’ To Do,” and “Birth Of The Blues” were a good introduction.
The Rat Pack was the epitome of cool during their era, and the individual members were iconic Las Vegas performers. The Very Best Of The Rat Pack is a nice introduction to their talent and appeal.