From the Vault...


Steve Lawrence
"Songs By Steve Lawrence"

© Taragon Records

Year of Release: 1994

track listing
  • Party Doll
  • Long Before
    I Knew You
  • (The Bad Donkey)
  • Ethel Baby
  • Adelaide
  • The Banana Boat Song
  • Can't Wait For Summer
  • Willow
  • Kiss Me Now
    (We'll Get
    Acquainted Later)
  • Open Up The Gates Of Mercy
  • If You Would Say
    You're Mine
  • Fabulous
  • Fraulein
  • Uh-Huh Oh Yeah
  • Many A Time

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    Steve Lawrence
    "Songs By Steve Lawrence"

    Singer/Actor Steve Lawrence is best known musically in the style of Easy Listening. Music fans will also remember his appearances in the Blues Brothers movies as the manager of the Blues Brothers (the memorable scene in the first movie, where Jake and Elwood discuss the band's future in a steamroom.) Lawrence does have a page in the Rock and Roll era history books: He had a #1 song in 1963 -- "Go Away Little Girl", which would be remade by Donny Osmond in 1971, which also reached #1. Lawrence's wife is Eydie Gorme, as the two of them had music careers on their own as solo performers, likewise recording music together.

    Taragon Records, another great record company dealing with reissuing music from many artists, released Songs By Steve Lawrence, as it focuses on his early years on the Coral record label. As a youngster collecting 45 RPM records, one of Lawrence's Coral singles was part of my collection, and it was quite a thrill to see both songs on this release -- "Can't Wait For Summer" and it's flip-side, "Fabulous." 15 songs are on this compilation, as it features his Coral hits from 1957-1958.

    Opening the album is Lawrence's version of "Party Doll," which became a #1 hit for Buddy Knox in 1957. Knox's version has a more rockabilly sound, where Lawrence's version is more of an Easy Listening style, making Knox's version the better of the two.

    Easy Listening best describes Lawrence's music, like such tunes as "Long Before I Knew You." A song that categorizes Lawrence as a smooth crooner, such as artists as Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole to name a few. The music is exceptional, very Easy Listen-able. "(The Bad Donkey) Pum-Pa-Lum" has the same style as another song on this release, "The Banana Boat Song" -- Harry Belafonte would have the most popular version with "Banana", as Lawrence's "Donkey" and "Banana" tunes have the pre-Reggae Jamaican style, long before Reggae would become another popular source of music. Lawrence's version of "Banana" is a bit different than Belafonte's, as Lawrence fits a more pop style, than the more effective Jamaican sound Belafonte had.

    "Ethel, Baby" is another good crooner choice, it has a more jazz sound, and could be compared more to Nat King Cole than Sinatra. "Adelaide" has the Sinatra style in true form, both vocally and musically. "Can't Wait For Summer" and "Fabulous" are the standouts for me, as it has a more early '50s Pop/Rock style (compared to Paul Anka), and a song that brings back memories for me.

    "Willow" is easily compared to Sinatra again, likewise Bobby Darin. "Kiss Me Now (We'll Get Acquainted Later)" has the Jamaican sound, as to Belafonte, and Lawrence's vocal style is compared to Bobby Darin. "Open Up The Gates Of Mercy" and "If You Would Say You're Mine" showcases Lawrence as a crooner, compared to the likes of Frankie Laine, Vic Damone, Al Martino, and Sinatra. They also prove that Lawrence can be just as popular as his fellow crooners.

    "Fraulein" is another crooner-type song, as it has a style to another late '50s crooner, Pat Boone. "Uh-Huh, Oh Yeah" has a more '50s Pop/Rock style, as in Paul Anka, and the closing tune, "Many A Time" is compared to another cool and romantic tune as sung by Sinatra.

    Fans of Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin and Easy Listening will truly enjoy Songs By Steve Lawrence. Some heads will turn as when they first hear these songs, and think that they are actually performed by Sinatra and/or Darin. Many may not remember Steve Lawrence as popular as Sinatra or Darin and the likes, yet his music will interest those who enjoy Sinatra and the rest. Songs By Steve Lawrence is truly enjoyable, and easy on the ears, and the Sinatra-related ballads are good mood setters. Highly recommended for those who never heard of Steve Lawrence -- it's a good introduction to another fellow crooner, who is just as good as his fellow counterparts.

    © All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Taragon Records and is used for reference purposes only.

    Previous Review: #844
    Travis Allison Band--Color
    Next Review: #846
    Thin Lizzy--Thunder And Lightning