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.