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Album No. 1

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James Darren 27//2012

Review

Although his name is inextricably linked to his late-'50s teen idol status, James Darren's first long-player -- the somewhat redundantly designated Album No. 1 (1959) -- is much more akin to adult pop than early rock. With a sizeable chunk of the dozen-song list derived from the rich catalog of Americana popular standards, Darren comes off more like a Frank Sinatra spinoff than Elvis or Ricky Nelson, all three of whom were accredited actors as well. It was Darren's portrayal of "Moondoggie" in the romantic comedy Gidget (1959) that would ultimately spawn his career as a vocalist. He supplied vocals not only to the film's title track, "Gidget," but also the mid-tempo Jules Styne classic "There's No Such Thing." The overwhelmingly positive results led Columbia Pictures execs to sign Darren to their subsidiary, Colpix Records. Rather than maneuver his image as a rebellious rocker, Darren was preened for conversely innocuous adult contemporary music such as the material he interprets here. The artist was teamed up with a top-shelf cast of notable West Coast big-band and jazz arrangers. Primary among them is the legendary Billy May, whose contributions are evidenced by his trademark swingin' and brass-driven sound on the aforementioned "Gidget" and "There's No Such Thing." These sides quite literally set the tone for the rest of the album, most notably Bob Florence's horn charts on "Walkin' My Baby Back Home." A young John Williams is credited with scoring several of the more contemporary-sounding cuts, including the breezy opener, "Let's Fall in Love" as well as "The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else." Darren ably takes on these well-established standards, bringing a decidedly dramatic flare to his contributions. Although Album No. 1 failed to make much of a dent on the charts or in the racks, it established the burgeoning talent as a formidable vocalist and primed him for his follow-up, the soundtrack-sourced Sings the Movies (Gidget Goes Hawaiian) (1961). In 2004, Collectors' Choice Music coupled Album No. 1 with Love Among the Young (1962) onto a double-play CD. ~ Lindsay Planer
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Let's Fall In Love James Darren 2:8
  3. 2 Sophisticated Lady James Darren 2:2
  4. 3 Let There Be Love James Darren 2:20
  5. 4 The One I Love Belongs To Somebody Else James Darren 2:29
  6. 5 Sweet Lorraine James Darren 1:41
  7. 6 There's No Such Thing James Darren 2:10
  8. 7 Love Among The Young James Darren 2:33
  9. 8 Emaline James Darren 1:43
  10. 9 Gidget James Darren 2:32
  11. 10 Does Your Heart Beat For Me James Darren 1:34
  12. 11 Mighty Pretty Territory James Darren 2:42
  13. 12 Walkin' My Baby Back Home James Darren 2:16

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