Personnel: Sammy Davis, Jr. (vocals); Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra (vocals).
Although released in February of 1966 to correspond with NBC-TV's short-lived variety series -- which had premiered a month earlier -- The Sammy Davis, Jr. Show is not a soundtrack per se. In fact, it was assembled from five different studio sessions, some dating as far back as Davis' 1961 hit "What Kind of Fool Am I?" and the 1963 signature song "Hey There." Cole Porter's "We Open in Venice" -- with fellow Rat Packers Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra -- first surfaced on 1963's Kiss Me Kate Reprise Musical Repertory Theatre album. The Davis/Martin duet "Sam's Song" had been the B-side to the Billy May-conducted "Me and My Shadow" single in 1962. The remainder emphasizes Davis' innate affinity and apt interpretations of show tunes from the small screen ("My Mother the Car") to the Broadway stage. The latter category is especially worthy of mention, as both "This Dream" and the distinctive highlight "Feeling Good" are from the Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse score of The Roar of the Greasepaint...The Smell of the Crowd. Other numbers from the play had been excerpted on Davis' previous platter, Sammy's Back on Broadway. The vocalist stretches himself somewhat on English translations of the Charles Aznavour compositions "J'Aime Paris au Mois de Mai" titled "Paris Is at Her Best in May" and "J'En Deduis Que Je T'Aime," translated as "Love at Last You Have Found Me." [With the album having been out of print for nearly four decades, Collectors' Choice Music issued The Sammy Davis, Jr. Show on CD as part of the label's comprehensive restoration of his 1960s Reprise Records catalog.] ~ Lindsay Planer