A powerhouse singer, Roy Hamilton was a heavyweight Golden Gloves boxer before starting his music career. This reissue of his 1958 Epic release features original liner notes and four bonus tracks. Among the love ballads from this sincere powerhouse of a singer included are "Cheek To Cheek", "Always", and "Time After Time".
Personnel includes: Roy Hamilton (vocals); Neal Hefti (arranger, conductor).
Originally released on Epic (518).
Personnel: Roy Hamilton (vocals).
Arrangers: Chuck Sagle; Neal Hefti.
The distinctive voice of Roy Hamilton was dramatically different from the sound Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone, and other male singers were projecting to the public when this style was in vogue. With All My Love is an album that displays the singer's vocal intuition, embellished by conductor Neal Hefti's superb arrangements, an alliance as powerful as Nelson Riddle's work with the aforementioned Mathis. The cover photo of the singer on a beach with a heart drawn in the sand is a pretty picture, but it doesn't convey the work in these grooves. Hamilton glides over Irving Berlin's "Always" to open things up with jazz-influenced pop that is different from the other styles that Hefti and Hamilton explore on the dozen songs found on the original vinyl version of this release. "Time After Time" gets a more traditional reading, and the song is one of the LP's highlights, though it is hard to zero in on any one tune since each track on With All My Love has merit. "Here I'll Stay" sounds like it was lifted from some classy 1940s movie, Hamilton's fascinating vocal work immersed in a wonderful overabundance of strings. The atmosphere comes down a bit for "Oh What a Night for Love," but the singer remains front and center, carefully playing with the notes while the gorgeous arrangement builds and works with him to the song's conclusion. In "All My Love," he sounds like an American Mario Lanza, Hefti's presentation key to this interesting and successful formula. The uncredited liner notes are also a bit of a treasure. Despite the hyperbole, these matter-of-fact thoughts on the music created by this great collaboration read better than the usual record company PR. The Johnny Ace/Teresa Brewer 1955 hit "Pledging My Love" is just perfect for Hamilton, and it ends the vinyl version of this album. The Collectibles label is busy re-releasing the Hamilton catalog, and they've added four additional tracks to this classic late-'50s recording. Amazing that this project -- and its singer -- did not achieve the level of stardom found by the artists mentioned at the beginning of this review. None of his three Top 20 hits are in this collection, but With All My Love works fine just as it is. ~ Joe Viglione