9-CD box (LP-size) with 104-page hardcover book, 215 tracks. Playing time 615:42 mns
This, the third of the Bear Family boxed sets of Frankie Laine recordings, completes the series, and takes in his studio work for the Columbia label through the years 1956 to 1964. The hit singles, which were hitherto his stock in trade, came along less frequently during this period. As with many of the balladeers of the 1940s and 1950s, rock 'n' roll swept aside many of the fine recordings he made for the singles market. Nevertheless, he was to enjoy a million selling hit in 1956 with Moonlight Gambler, and was still charting during his final year at Columbia with Don't Make My Baby Blue. But it was his recording of the TV Western theme Rawhide that would be his most significant and best remembered single of this era.
It will be noted in the earlier Bear Family sets that Frankie Laine had already begun to establish himself as the voice of Western movies, with notable themes for 'Blowing Wild' and 'Strange Lady In Town' - but during the period covered here he cemented that role for all-time by recording the classics Gunfight At The O.K. Corral and The 3:10 To Yuma. This was reflected also in the concept albums made in subsequent years, beginning in 1960 with 'Hell Bent For Leather,' and continuing with 'Deuces Wild' and 'Call Of The Wild.' These, together with his final album for Columbia, 'Wanderlust', benefited from the exciting orchestrations of Johnny Williams.
Throughout the entire period covered by this boxed set, Frankie Laine was to make giant strides into the rapidly blossoming concept album market with a wide-ranging series of LPs. In 1957 he revisited 12 of the songs, mostly jazz standards, that had established him during his early years with the Mercury label - Paul Weston giving sparkling new life to these old warhorses for the album 'Rockin''. It enjoyed a healthy run in the then recently inaugurated 'Billboard' Pop Album charts. Standards too were the order of the day in two albums with French maestro Michel Legrand - 'Foreign Affair' and 'Reunion In Rhythm'.
Here too you will find the Laine fans' favourite, 'Torchin'', and the rarer sequel 'You Are My Love' - both with Frank Comstock
. Another long sought after album is the folksy 'Balladeer'. Collectors will delight in hearing a number of previously unissued tracks and alternate takes sprinkled throughout the 9 CDs in this set. Equally fascinating is the inclusion on CD for the first time, and often in stereo, of all those lost, but no less exciting singles that failed to chart. Try Choombala Bey, Et Voila
or Miss Satan
and be amazed at how fresh they sound 40 years on. The customary hardback book packed with stunning and often previously unseen illustrations, a fully annotated discography and the conclusion of Todd Everett
's biography make this an essential collection for anyone who has thrilled to the magnificent voice of Frankie Laine