The Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection

by: Johnny Mathis

The Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection is exactly that, a four-disc box set of recordings hand-picked by Johnny Mathis, with an accompanying booklet filled with biographical information and his recollections about each song. The 86 selections are arranged in chronological order from Mathis' first recording, "When Sunny Gets Blue" from 1956, through to a 1992 duet with Barbra Streisand. The set has a few previously unreleased cuts from late in Mathis' career and a number of hits, but due to the personal nature of the repertoire there is no particular focus on hits or singles; as a result very few of Mathis' '60s hits are included. Instead the program is oriented towards the standards and show tunes Mathis loves, and the booklet makes clear his appreciation for the fine lyricists and composers whose material he interpreted through the years. These melodically and lyrically sophisticated songs better demonstrate Mathis' superlative vocal abilities than many of the chart-bound pop songs the box set omits. The packaging is aggravating in that the track list on the box is alphabetical and in no way corresponds with the actual running order -- the listener must leaf through the thick booklet to find out the disc and track number for each selection. The Music of Johnny Mathis: A Personal Collection is for fans with an interest in Mathis as a person and as a singer's singer. For those who want a comprehensive anthology of Mathis' hits, no such box set has yet been assembled. ~ Greg Adams

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