JazzTimes - p.113
"[T]he chameleon-like crooner successfully resurrected his career in the early '70s by serving up the folk tunes and soft-rock ballads he'd grown to love in slick Vegas packaging."
Recorded Live At The Desert Inn, Las Vegas, Febuary 6, 1971.
Includes two previously unreleased bonus tracks.
Personnel: Bobby Darin (vocals); Bobby Darin; Terry Kellman (guitar); Billy Aiken (piano); Quitman Dennis (bass guitar); Tommy Amato (drums).
Audio Remixer: Russ Terrana.
Liner Note Author: Ken Smith.
Recording information: Hitsville U.S.A. Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA (02/06/1971); Motown (02/06/1971).
Editor: Russ Terrana.
Ensembles: The Jeannie Thomas Singers; Carleton Hayes Orchestra.
Arranger: Quitman Dennis.
In the early '70s, Bobby Darin had discontinued his infamous "Bob Darin" billing, but he was still interpolating the best of the late-'60s folk and singer/songwriter scene into his live act -- this despite playing to the mostly middle-aged, craps-playing audience assembled at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas for an early 1971 run. Darin had more than a decade's worth of hits to reprise for the crowd, and he did so happily, from "Mack the Knife" to "If I Were a Carpenter" and even including "Splish Splash" (as part of a rock and soul encore). But beyond not wishing to begrudge a fandom that had been left behind by the era of progressive rock, Darin most certainly did his best to entertain and enlighten his regular concert attendees -- musically, socially, and even politically -- without worrying about the blowback from his largely conservative base. It also earned him enmity in progressive circles as a faker, although with his performance Darin makes it clear that he has nothing to apologize for. After all, he was, at heart, a showman pure and simple. He starts the concert with an urgent plaint from the pen of Laura Nyro ("Save the Country") and, after inserting "Mack the Knife" as a sop to his fans, returns to the singer/songwriter crowd with James Taylor's "Fire and Rain." A Beatles medley appears halfway through the set, as does Jackie Wilson's "(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher" and Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight," all of them performed with too much reverence, but also a fine ear for what made those songs examples of great American pop. [Live! at the Desert Inn was projected to be Darin's first album release for Motown, and although it was pressed or planned twice (once under the present title, once as Finally), it was shelved until it finally appeared in 1987 (on Motown) and again in 2005 (on Concord), the latter with several bonus tracks.] ~ John Bush