“Oh everybody wants Frank” the cashier and owner of Jellybeans in Corunna said to me as I purchased a used copy of Strangers in the Night by Frank Sinatra on vinyl. “You know who I really like?” he asked, not caring if I really wanted to hear what he had to say, “Dean Martin. My wife had never listened to music like that before and when I played some Dean for her, she said ‘You know what his voice sounds like? Sex!’ that’s how smooth his voice is!” Despite his amusing story, I did not go back to find a Dean Martin album, and I still bought the Sinatra record, but I have to admit, his wife was right. Dean Martin’s voice is really, really smooth.
Today’s entry into the Musical Training Plan is the very first studio album by the talented Mr. Dean Martin and, end to end, might just be his best work. Coming in at a total of 33 minutes, Dean and the producers he worked with don’t waste a moment and consistently provide an entertaining variety of music that really capitalizes on the buttery smooth vocal talents of the sexy Italian-American singer who’s name is on the cover of the album. Martin excels with an upbeat dance track as we see on “Who’s Your Little Who-Zis!” and “Oh Marie”. Where Martin really impresses, though, is on a slow, romantic song, especially “Come Back To Sorrento” and “With My Eyes Wide Open I’m Dreaming”. His low, smooth voice feels all too natural as he hangs on notes, dragging them out for effect and letting them breathe. As great singers are often capable of, Martin is really convincingly in love on most of these songs. It doesn’t feel as though he’s just singing words that were written for him (although most were), instead he gives the sense that he is singing from the heart and means every word.
Responsible for giving us the ever iconic “That’s Amore”, Dean Martin Sings is eminently listenable and will likely work just fine as background music for most anybody. Not the most artistically impressive, Dean Martin Sings never challenges the listener, and I’m really glad it doesn’t. Designed as a collection of singles to drink, dance, and be merry to, the album continues to provide entertainment and mood as good as nearly other. There isn’t a terrible amount of depth to this record so I don’t have all that much to say about it, and really you have to listen to Dean Martin’s oily tones to appreciate it, so I suppose that’s all for this blog. Rest in Peace to the great Dean Martin, thanks for the excellent tunes, and thank you for reading. See you tomorrow!