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A Portrait of Johnny

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Review

Singer John Royce Mathis followed his classic Nelson Riddle album, I'll Buy You a Star, released on Columbia in 1961, with this interesting collection, A Portrait of Johnny, which was also issued by Columbia. A Portrait of Johnny is also called "the third in the Johnny Mathis greatest-hits series," though the only true chart-climber that shows up is the leadoff track, "Starbright," which went Top 25 in the spring of 1960 and features Glenn Osser's orchestra (sounding very much like Ray Conniff's earlier work on "Wonderful! Wonderful!" -- going back to the singer's original chart entry sound). It was written by popular composers Lee Pockriss and Paul Vance, who also came up with Perry Como's early 1958 number one smash, "Catch a Falling Star." Perhaps "Starbright" was a sequel to Como's hit -- it was perfectly suited for Mathis, who sang a number of dreamy songs utilizing the word "star" in the title. With four compilations released between 1959 and 1964 ("Starbright" showing up on 1963's Johnny's Newest Hits as well as here), it seems like the "third in the Johnny Mathis greatest-hits series" tag is just a marketing ploy. The liner notes read like a good biography from a PR firm, better fare than '60s albums usually offered for the album jackets, but there's no clarification on where this material was culled from. There's also a cover of Leiber & Stoller's uptempo and jazzy "All Is Well," which plays like the other Vance/Pockriss selection here, side two's "Hey Love," featuring an abundance of horns rather than Mathis' trademark string accompaniment. Vance contributes five titles to this 12-song release, employing three different co-writers. The album sounds like a pastiche, but as always, with the sublime voice of Johnny Mathis as the common denominator, it is as entertaining as ever and perhaps more interesting than usual with all the musical changes on each track. ~ Joe Viglione
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Starbright Johnny Mathis 2:47
  3. 2 While We're Young Johnny Mathis 2:52
  4. 3 Should I Wait (Or Should I Run to Her) Johnny Mathis 2:48
  5. 4 All Is Well Johnny Mathis 2:29
  6. 5 You Set My Heart to Music Johnny Mathis 2:41
  7. 6 My Love for You Johnny Mathis 3:3
  8. 7 Oh That Feeling Johnny Mathis 2:30
  9. 8 How to Handle a Woman Johnny Mathis 2:23
  10. 9 Cherie Johnny Mathis 2:45
  11. 10 Hey Love Johnny Mathis 2:25
  12. 11 Jenny Johnny Mathis 2:54
  13. 12 The Story of Our Love Johnny Mathis 2:22

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