By Request/Sing to Me, Mr. C.
Collectables Records' two-CD set By Request/Sing to Me, Mr. C. combines two early-'60s Perry Como albums. By Request, actually the later of the two discs, having been released initially in 1962, finds Como tackling some of the best songs of the day, the album given over to early-'60s hits like "Can't Help Falling in Love" and "Moon River." Of course, those songs are closely associated with other singers, but Como puts his stamp on them, as he does with such quality material as "Maria" from West Side Story and "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music. Sing to Me, Mr. C., originally released in 1961, keys off the popular medley segment of Como's TV show, complete with performances of his opening and closing themes, plus six medleys of three songs each. (The nearly 43-minute running time, unusually long for a pop album of the era, made it impossible for Collectables to put the two albums on one CD.) The medleys don't usually have any apparent thematic or musical cohesion, and especially on record they just seem like a series of unrelated songs, some with little space in between. But again the material is terrific, including many vintage standards and Broadway or Hollywood hits written by the likes of Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Lerner & Loewe, Cole Porter, and Rodgers & Hammerstein. Como is given excellent support on both discs by the string-filled Mitchell Ayres Orchestra and the Ray Charles Singers, with special emphasis placed on the contributions of guitarist Tony Mottola on the second disc.