2 LPs on 1 CD: SO TENDERLY (1964)/A LITTLE BIT OF HEAVEN (1965).
Originally released on RCA.
Liner Note Author: Harvey Siders.
Recording information: 03/31/1964-09/21/1964.
Arranger: Marty Gold.
This discount-priced compilation combines John Gary's third RCA album, So Tenderly, originally released in the summer of 1964, with his sixth label release, A Little Bit of Heaven, though, since his fourth, David Merrick Presents Hits from His Broadway Hits, was a duet record with Ann-Margret and his fifth, The John Gary Christmas Album, was a holiday collection, A Little Bit of Heaven was actually his next regular solo album after So Tenderly, and thus an appropriate pairing with it. So Tenderly found him once again seeking appropriate settings for his dramatic tenor and discovering them in a variety of material, from vintage standards to novelty songs. He also included a mini-set of Celtic-tinged songs, among them "Danny Boy," that showed him to be a worthy Irish tenor. And that led him to A Little Bit of Heaven, which is an all-Irish collection. Here he avoided overtly emotional readings of traditional tunes like "I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen," preferring to treat them as virtual art songs and as opportunities to show off his flexible vocal talents. Taken together, the two albums constitute a master class in dramatic tenor singing, which does not mean, however, that they lack for light moments. Gary may have been more of a concert-hall singer than a nightclub man, properly speaking, but he also knew how to entertain. ~ William Ruhlmann