2 LPs on 1 CD: HAPPINESS IS DEAN MARTIN (1967)/WELCOME TO MY WORLD (1967).
Dean Martin's 16th and 17th Reprise albums, both released originally in 1967 and out of print for decades, make up the contents of this CD reissue. Martin, his producer Jimmy Bowen, and his arranger Ernie Freeman were still working out variants on the country-pop, soft rock arrangements that had given him a series of hits since 1964, and they had several modest successes from these selections, including "Nobody's Baby Again," "(Open Up the Door) Let the Good Times In," "Lay Some Happiness on Me," "In the Chapel in the Moonlight" (actually recorded a couple of years earlier), and "Little Ole Wine Drinker, Me." In addition, Bowen combed the country charts for suitable covers such as "He's Got You" (a recasting of Patsy Cline's "She's Got You") and Jim Reeves' "Welcome to My World" (another track recycled from an earlier Martin LP). Meanwhile, Engelbert Humperdinck ("Release Me") and Tom Jones ("The Green, Green Grass of Home") had found success by borrowing the Martin formula of making pop versions of country hits, and Bowen just snatched those songs back for him. The result, at least on this two-fer, is a good collection of country-pop. The two LPs individually were a bit skimpy; even together, they only run a little over 56 minutes. But they work together well, making one good CD of easygoing Dean Martin country-pop. ~ William Ruhlmann