Revered collaboration, featuring Billy May & His Orchestra, pays homage to
Tin Pan Alley. Expanded reissue contains seven previously unreleased performances.
Anyone who is a fan of a swinging big band and pop vocals knows the names Bobby Darin, Johnny Mercer, and Billy May. But even those who don’t know these names know their sound. Their music is everywhere, being played every day, all around the world.
Mercer had the distinction of being one of the founders of Capitol Records, the lyricist (and sometimes composer) of some of the most beloved and recognizable songs of the 20th century, and a singer himself. May took the songs of the day, many of which are now standards, and set them to brilliant, swinging, swaggering arrangements for legends of the pop vocal era. Darin, a showman’s showman, could do it all, and did do it all.
Originally based on an idea from Darin’s long-time manager Steve Blauner (who also brought the world television series like Bewitched and The Monkees, and classic films like Five Easy Pieces and The Last Picture Show), the 1961 release Two of a Kind put these great talents together, in an homage to the great Tin Pan Alley composers, and mixed it with the vibrancy that only these three giants could achieve.
Years later, he revived his idea with Grammy® Award-winning producer Cheryl Pawelski, working through the session tapes to present a fuller picture of just how much fun Darin, Mercer, and May were having during the original sessions. Says Pawelski, “I’ve long admired and enjoyed the immense, seemingly unlimited talent of Bobby Darin, and have been fortunate over the years to work with both his Capitol Records and Atco/Atlantic repertoire. This album, however, always finds its way to my speakers before all others because it’s fun. It’s three unbelievably gifted musicians who seemingly toss off these performances as if it takes no skill at all. Make no mistake though, Bobby Darin, Johnny Mercer and Billy May only pull off this musical magic because they’re THAT good!”
This new edition of Two of a Kind, set for release on Omnivore Recordings on March 24, 2017, features the original 13 tracks with seven previously unissued performances — five alternate takes, and two songs recorded for, but omitted from the original album. These additional recordings offer a glimpse into the studio to witness the joy the artists shared in this collaboration. Newly remastered by Grammy® Award- winning engineer Michael Graves, Two of a Kind has never sounded better.
In his original notes for the 1961 LP, Stanley Green wrote: “Unquestionably, these ‘two of a kind’ performers were having a ball when they cut this one. I think you will too when you listen to it.”
Sadly, Blauner (who not only discovered Darin, but continued to oversee his estate for the remainder of his career) passed away before his intimate look back at the classic recording could see the light of day. But soon, the expanded edition will be available for the world to experience. It’s apparent that a grand time was had recording Two of a Kind, and now music fans in the 21st century can revel in the fun.
1. Two of a Kind
3. Bob White
4. Ace in the Hole
5. East of the Rockies
6. If I Had My Druthers
7. I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jellyroll
8. Lonesome Polecat
9. My Cutey’s Due at Two-To-Two Today
10. Medley: A) Paddlin’ Madelin’ Home B) Row Row Row
11. Who Takes Care of the Caretaker’s Daughter
12. Mississippi Mud
13. Two of a Kind
Previously Unissued Bonus Tracks:
14. Cecilia (Take 4)
15. Lily of Laguna (Take 7)
16. Bob White (Take 17)
17. East of the Rockies (Take 6)
18. I Ain’t Gonna Give Nobody None of My Jellyroll (Take 5a)
19. My Cutey’s Due at Two-To-Two Today (Take 10)
20. Mississippi Mud (Alternate Take)