2 LPs on 1 CD: IT MUST BE HIM (1967)/FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE (1969).
Personnel includes: Vikki Carr (vocals); Ernie Freeman, PerryBotkin, Jr., Bob Florence, Tommy Oliver, Sid Feller (arranger).
Producers: Tommy Oliver, Dave Pell, Ron Bledscoe.
Originally released on Liberty (7533) & Liberty (7604). Includes liner notes by Al Fichera.
This discount-priced two-fer combines Vikki Carr's two highest charting albums, It Must Be Him, which keyed off of her only Top Ten hit, and For Once in My Life, a live recording. Carr had been recording for most of the 1960s when she unexpectedly broke big with "It Must Be Him," which may be the ultimate torch song, in the fall of 1967. She sang the melodramatic ballad with a sense of torn emotion in her voice, recounting the turmoil of a love affair that has not quite ended, at least as far as the song's narrator is concerned. The It Must Be Him album, not surprisingly, expanded upon this theme to include other songs of lost love, songs that, 35 enlightened years later, sound like paeans to female victimization, most of them written by men. But there are also some gems, such as Carr's reading of "Alfie" and an early Jimmy Webb composition, "Tunesmith," a title he later used for his songwriting instruction book. For Once in My Life, recorded at the Persian Room of the Plaza Hotel in New York, is a typical nightclub act in which Carr introduces ringside celebrities (Henny Youngman, Ed Sullivan, etc.) and weakly attempts humor based on her Mexican heritage and marriage to a Jewish man. But she also sings a clutch of then-contemporary pop hits ("For Once in My Life," "This Girl's in Love With You," etc.), some of which remain well-known decades later. By combining these two albums, Collectables requires the buyer to acquire two recordings of "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "It Must Be Him," but the label also sweetens the pot by adding as bonus tracks "The Lesson," Carr's second-biggest hit, and a good version of the Association hit "Never My Love." ~ William Ruhlmann