Two of Perry's popular "swing" albums, albeit very different one from the other, "Como Swings" and "For the Young at Heart" were recorded back to back at RCA's Webster Hall, New York City, the first in 1959 and the other in 1960, representing two different views of a swinging Como. "Como Swings" was produced by Charles Grean and Lee Schapiro whereas "For the Young at Heart" was the first of five albums produced for Perry by the legendary team of Hugo and Luigi. Both albums are charming and show Perry Como in a very different light from his traditional low-key persona. A highlight of "Como Swings" is a non-credited duet with Como's choral director Ray Charles within the song "To Know You (Is To Love You)".
2 LPs on 1 CD: COMO SWINGS (1959)/FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART (1961).
Personnel includes: Perry Como (vocals); Mitchell Ayres & His Orchestra.
Producers: Charles Grean, Lee Shapiro, Hugo & Luigi.
Recorded at Webster Hall, New York, New York in 1959 & 1960. Originally released on RCA (2010) and RCA (2343).
Personnel: Danny Perri, Allen Hanlon, Al Casamenti (guitar); Harry Glickman, Carlos Fleischmann, Harry Melnikoff, Felix Orlewitz, Harry Urbont, Tosha Samaroff, Sylvan Shulman, Arnold Eidus, Mac Ceppos, Maurice Hershaft, Samuel Rand, Jack Zayde, Max Hollander (violin); Solomon Deutsch, Isadore Zir (viola); Abram Borodkin, Leon Frengut, Maurice Brown , George Ricci (cello); Harry Terrill, Stanley Webb , Sid Jekowsky, Abraham Richman, Philip Zolkind, Bernard Kaufman, Romeo Penque, Al Klink (saxophone); Carl Poole, James Maxwell, Ernie Royal, John Lawson, Mel Davis , Bernie Glow, Jimmy Nottingham, Bernie Privin (trumpet); Dick Lieb, Robert Alexander , Dick Hixon, John d'Agostino, Jack Satterfield, Robert Byrne, Urbie Green, Chauncey Welsch (trombone); Don Butterfield (tuba); Henry Rowland (piano); Sol Gubin, Milton Schlesinger, Todd Sommer, Terry Snyder (drums).
Recording information: 04/09/1959-11/15/1960.
Como Swings and For the Young at Heart are chronologically consecutive albums in Perry Como's discography, not counting the holiday collection Seasons Greetings, so it makes sense for Collectables Records to have combined the 1959 and 1961 releases on one CD in its series of Como two-fers. But stylistically they are very different records. Como Swings was the singer's attempt to make an album like one of Frank Sinatra's popular up-tempo LPs of the 1950s, such as Songs for Swingin' Lovers. Arrangers Joe Lipman and Jack Andrews wrote a bunch of charts that aped the sound Billy May got for Sinatra, full of blaring horn fanfares and loud percussion. Song after song features these aggressive orchestrations, which push Como to assert himself more than usual. Arranger O.B. Masingill, on the other hand, takes a different tack for the 12 songs that make up For the Young at Heart, all of which have the word "young" in the title. The strings are gone, a prominent chorus sings along with Como, and the horns are frequently muted or just restrained, as Masingill imposes a lightly swinging style on the Mitchell Ayres Orchestra. The approach is more conducive to the singer, who turns in characteristically warm and easy interpretations. The big changeover on the CD occurs between track 12, "Begin the Beguine," and track 13, "When You and I Were Young, Maggie," when things suddenly calm down considerably. Both albums have their virtues, but this CD should really be thought of as two separate collections that happen to have been run together. ~ William Ruhlmann