Dino Latino

by: Dean Martin

In 1962, Capitol Records, Dean Martin's former record label, and Reprise Records, his new one, were engaged in battle as the former issued his final recordings for it and the latter put out just-recorded material. (The skirmish was a sideshow to the larger war between the two companies over Frank Sinatra, who had founded Reprise even before completing his Capitol contract.) In the LP racks, Capitol struck first with Dino! Italian Love Songs in February, and the album became the singer's first to figure in the best-seller charts. Reprise followed with French Style in April. Cha-Cha De Amor, the last album Martin recorded for Capitol, appeared in early November, and three weeks later Reprise responded with Dino Latino. The two labels seemed intent on emphasizing Martin's international appeal with these releases, and having gone to Italy and France, musically speaking, already, Martin had little trouble extending his tour to the Spanish-speaking countries here. Arranger/conductor Don Costa came up with five string arrangements and five brass ones, varying the album's tones from the playful "In a Little Spanish Town," with its lively Don Fagerquist trumpet solo, to the lush charms of "What a Diff'rence a Day Made." Martin sang convincingly in Spanish here and there, never seeming to work hard for his effects. The glut of releases from the two labels doesn't seem to have hurt his sales as it did Sinatra's; Dino Latino became his first Reprise album to reach the charts. ~ William Ruhlmann

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