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The Essential Johnny Mathis

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Johnny Mathis 5/4/2004

Review

By the time this two-CD, 40-track anthology hit the stores in 2004, consumers had a wide choice of Johnny Mathis compilations that contained his biggest hits in variable surroundings, ranging from succinct single-disc collections to box sets. This one does have all of the major late-'50s/early-'60s hits you'd expect of anything with "essential" in its title. Yet it doesn't quite live up to its potential as an optimum medium ground for those who want more than a bare-bones greatest-hits comp, but less than an exorbitant box set. For one thing, it's missing a good number of his less popular 1958-1963 Top 40 hits, with "Come to Me," "All the Time," "Call Me," "Someone," "Starbright," and "Every Step of the Way" all somehow failing to make the cut. More importantly, there's too much of an effort to make this a career-spanning selection, with the entirety of disc two devoted to his post-1970 work. A small minority of listeners who've followed him with equal zeal all along might disagree, but really, the truly essential Johnny Mathis was laid down prior to 1965. In the late '50s and early '60s, he was the very best at what he did; from the 1970s onward, he was just a run-of-the-mill adult contemporary singer, albeit one who did return briefly to the top of the charts in 1978 via his duet with Deniece Williams, "Too Much, Too Little, Too Late." So in disc one, in place of some his early hits, listeners get far less "essential" Christmas and Broadway musical standards, while overall there is far more of his middle-of-the-road later stuff than there should be. Does this still have a lot of Mathis' best songs, and some of the most popular make-out music of all time? Sure, but it's all on disc one. Not only wouldn't you miss out on much if you seldom or never played disc two, but you wouldn't miss out on much if you just decided to get a cheaper single-disc anthology concentrating on his earlier material instead. ~ Richie Unterberger
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  1. # Track Artist Length
  2. 1 Fly Me to the Moon Johnny Mathis 3:52
  3. 2 When Sunny Gets Blue Johnny Mathis 2:38
  4. 3 It's Not for Me to Say [From Lizzie] Johnny Mathis 3:2
  5. 4 Wonderful! Wonderful! Johnny Mathis 2:47
  6. 5 Chances Are Johnny Mathis 3:0
  7. 6 No Love (But Your Love) Johnny Mathis 2:17
  8. 7 The Twelfth of Never Johnny Mathis 2:25
  9. 8 Wild Is the Wind Johnny Mathis 2:23
  10. 9 Teacher, Teacher Johnny Mathis 2:38
  11. 10 A Certain Smile Johnny Mathis 2:46
  12. 11 Sleigh Ride Johnny Mathis 2:55
  13. 12 My Funny Valentine Johnny Mathis 3:31
  14. 13 Misty Johnny Mathis 3:33
  15. 14 Small World Johnny Mathis 3:17
  16. 15 Maria Johnny Mathis 3:44
  17. 16 Dancing on the Ceiling Johnny Mathis 3:55
  18. 17 Stairway to the Stars Johnny Mathis 4:52
  19. 18 Gina Johnny Mathis 2:43
  20. 19 What Will My Mary Say Johnny Mathis 3:7
  21. 20 The Sweetheart Tree Johnny Mathis 2:11
  22. 21 On a Clear Day (You Can See Forever) Johnny Mathis 2:45
  23. 22 The Look of Love Johnny Mathis 3:39
  24. 23 A Time for Us [From Romeo and Juliet] Johnny Mathis 2:52
  25. 1 I'm Coming Home Johnny Mathis 3:21
  26. 2 Life Is a Song Worth Singing Johnny Mathis 5:58
  27. 3 99 Miles from L.A. Johnny Mathis 3:41
  28. 4 What I Did for Love Johnny Mathis 2:43
  29. 5 When a Child Is Born Johnny Mathis 3:41
  30. 6 Too Much, Too Little, Too Late Johnny Mathis 2:56
  31. 7 Begin the Beguine Johnny Mathis 4:15
  32. 8 Memory Johnny Mathis 2:58
  33. 9 Friends in Love Johnny Mathis 4:1
  34. 10 Brazil (Aquarela Do Brasil) Johnny Mathis 4:13
  35. 11 Prelude to a Kiss Johnny Mathis 2:51
  36. 12 What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? Johnny Mathis 5:56
  37. 13 Let Your Heart Remember Johnny Mathis 4:34
  38. 14 Un-Break My Heart Johnny Mathis 4:59
  39. 15 Because You Loved Me Johnny Mathis 4:33
  40. 16 Life Is Just a Bowl of Cherries Johnny Mathis 2:42
  41. 17 On Broadway Johnny Mathis 3:20

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