Gentle on My Mind

by: Dean Martin

Dean Martin appears to have tired of maintaining his position as a major record-maker of the 1960s before his public got tired of him. With a weekly TV series to maintain and movies to make, the entertainer who had recorded frequently in the three years after his comeback with "Everybody Loves Somebody" in 1964 made his presence scarce thereafter. Reprise Records maintained a singles release schedule by issuing previously released LP tracks as singles in 1967-1968 ("In the Misty Moonlight," "You've Still Got a Place in My Heart"), while Martin avoided the recording studio for almost a year. When he did return, the resulting singles, "April Again" and "Not Enough Indians," only did well on the easy listening charts. Finally, after issuing two Greatest Hits sets, Reprise released Gentle on My Mind, Martin's first album of new material in 16 months. In the interim, the country-pop sound he had pioneered with producer Jimmy Bowen and arranger Ernie Freeman had taken hold with others, and he found himself covering the country crossover hits "Honey," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and "Gentle on My Mind." Of course, he did it superbly, but he was now chasing a trend instead of leading it. Bowen and Freeman kept the sound contemporary, and Martin was comfortable with the slightly more pop direction that country-pop had taken. But you couldn't help thinking that record-making had fallen far down his list of priorities. Meanwhile pent-up demand made Gentle on My Mind his highest-charting album in three years and his last LP of new recordings to go gold. ~ William Ruhlmann

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