Wonderful Wonderful

by: Johnny Mathis

Wonderful Wonderful, the second Johnny Mathis LP, features an orchestra under the direction of Percy Faith. The album is a beautiful selection of 12 songs, none of which were part of Mathis' half a dozen or so hits released on 45 rpm in 1957. Conspicuous in its absence is his first hit, "Wonderful! Wonderful!," which this album is titled after. Actually, the word "Wonderful" drops down eight times on the LP jacket under Mathis' name and alongside a handsome and youthful photo by Normand Menard of the soon-to-be legend. What's impressive about this excellent recording is that Ray Conniff was the gentleman orchestrating the hits while Faith, whose "Theme from A Summer Place" would be omnipresent on radios in 1960, does the honors here. This is a substantial recording, with Mathis covering Cole Porter's "Looking at You" and "All Through the Night," the Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer chestnut "That Old Black Magic," as well as two other Mercer co-writes, "Early Autumn" and "Day In, Day Out," which concludes the project. Even at the outset of his career, the voice that would become so familiar is in control and not just flirting with perfection -- the instrument is perfectly tuned and full of life. The uncredited liner notes here, though firmly set in promotion mode, are informative and worthwhile, noting that Bob Price did the arrangements on "Too Close," "Looking at You," and "Day In, Day Out," with Faith handling that chore on the other nine selections. The production is sublime and the album is a real treasure, a solid effort before the label and singer determined what the formula and routine would be on record after record. The only place where there is naïveté is in the direction they would take this artist, and that adds to the beauty of it all. Jimmy Abato's alto sax and Ernie Royal's trumpet do wonders next to Mathis' voice. ~ Joe Viglione

Please enable Javascript to view this page competely.