For someone who never had a Top 40 hit, Steve Alaimo sure got around. Big-name producers Felton Jarvis, Chips Moman, Ray Stevens, P.F. Sloan & Steve Barri, Tommy Boyce & Bobby Hart, Dan Penn & Spooner Oldham, Henry Stone, and Bill Justis all worked on various tracks on this 31-song career retrospective. Inexcusably, there are no liner notes or even recording dates, though an educated guess would place most of these cuts in the 1960s. Like a minor-league Bobby Darin, Alaimo hopped from genre to genre: blue-eyed soul, pop/rock, Steve Lawrence-styled pop, and Las Vegas lounge music were all ripe for investigation. A problem was that Alaimo was not good as Darin, and did not excel in any one area in particular. It's certainly impossible to hear, as Henry Stone has claimed, how James Brown insisted that Alaimo never be allowed to open for him again as Steve was too hard to follow. It's not a bad collection of (largely) '60s pop, but it's just not thrilling. It does contain his biggest hit, the cover of Arthur Alexander's "Every Day I Have to Cry," and the downright ska-sounding "I Don't Know." The original 1963 version of Bacharach-David's "A Lifetime of Loneliness," however, is a lesson in how important the interpreter can be to the success of a song: it's a far less impressive version than the definitive one recorded by Jackie DeShannon. ~ Richie Unterberger
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