So Smooth ~ 1955


It’s a Good Day • As Time Goes By • I’ve Got the World On a String

My Funny Valentine • For Me and My Gal • I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues

Breezin’ Along with the Breeze • It’s the Talk of the Town • You Do Something to Me

It Happened in Monterey • One for My Baby • In the Still of the Night

Perry Como

with Mitchell Ayres and His Orchestra

and the Ray Charles Singers

There is more to Perry Como than meets the ear, even on records. In a career not actually of great length, though of great consistency in both popularity and quality of vocal product, the unfrocked barber from Canonsburg, Pa., has assumed the dimensions of a well-behaved legend in show business. His creamy voice is signature enough, but there are other components of the Perry Como Legend, which add luster and reputation and respect to the voice itself.

Psychologically, most of his listeners look upon the voice of Perry Como as something extra special, for it is the sound of one who has become known in Show Business as "Mr. Nice Guy." This is a title not bestowed capriciously. There are lots of amiable, genial, cheerful, smiling, carefree countenances, in the entertainment trades, but few which carry their surface virtues home, and their finest homely virtues onto Broadway.

Perry’s importance is based first and foremost, of course, on his creamy tones, his veteran manner with a song, his "style," now so easily recognizable. But into that rich syrup of a voice has been poured by his listeners’ or TV viewers’ admiration the Complete Perry Como — the fine voice plus the fine fellow and the homebody, and the good father, the fellow who has simplified his life while making it more important, who has deepened the impact of his performances while making them seem so thoroughly effortless.

We have watched Perry up fairly close since 1943, when he came back to show business after having been frustrated by a gypsy existence as a band singer when he was the soothing syrup supplying solos to the Ted Weems orchestra. We remember him vividly then, for Perry’s had been a favorite though distant sound in our ears through his Ted Weems period. When we first interviewed him, we didn’t know he had just been retrieved from alongside the hot towels in the now-famous barber shop in Canonsburg.

We have been closer than most Tin Pan Alley observers to the Perry Como Parade simply because we had been a young fan in those Ted Weems days. We had harkened to the soothing orchestral serenade, mostly from Chicago, when Perry had been using the vocal formations of one Bing Crosby to get a hold in the musical world — the way a writer utilizes the alphabet. It was Bing who made the world attractive financially for baritones, and Perry’s timbre was not unlike Bing’s; and his style then was Crosby’s, unashamedly; he still openly states his permanent admiration for Bing and what Crosby’s old records did in the form of primary vocal lessons.

But as a writer develops from his alphabet, out of his admiration for Joyce or Hemingway or Yeats or whomever, Perry Como improvised his present style so distinctively his own, though always with a willing — never reluctant — nod back to Bing for his early inspiration.

Perry’s selections for an RCA Victor album entitled So Smooth contain tasteful popular anthems to be pressed into this fine anthology. They are exceptionally welcome pop items in each case, but together, improved in the sauce of Perry’s rich tones, they make a specifically nifty lineup. If you were to get a representative musical group of browsers among the finer "standards" they likely would agree to a memory on every one of the enclosed.

It Happened in Monterey has been a favorite since before Billy Rose got down seriously to publicizing his name as "Billy"; it is listed in our early research tomes as written by Mabel Wayne and "William" Rose. It is, like the others herein, a fine "standard," ideal for Perry’s style and timbre. Such a stylish anthology would not be tastefully proper without a Harold Arlen melody, so Perry has picked "I Gotta Right to Sing the Blues", (And please note it is "I Got . . . " and not "I’ve Got . . ."; its apparent lack of grammar can be properly laid at the door of characterization, for it was written [lyrics by Ted Koehler] as a semi-folk song, and a fine one.) "I’ve Got the World on a String" is included as a bonus for Arlen-Koehler addicts. You’ll naturally find a Rodgers and Hart item — "My Funny Valentine" — raising its pretty — and tenderly sophisticated sound from the never-too-distant past. "As Time Goes By", the Herman Hupfeld song which gave a whole movie — Casablanca — a mood and sentimental importance, also gets Perry’s attention, as naturally must at least one Cole Porter sentiment, "You Do Something to Me". The late Richard Whiting can’t go ignored at such collected moments as these, so his "Breezin’ Along with the Breeze" is warmly noted, as are "It’s a Good Day", For Me and My Gal", "It’s the Talk of the Town", "One for My Baby" and "In the Still of the Night".

It naturally goes without saying — though we feel it best to say it for the record if nothing else — that Perry’s voice is raised to the accompaniment of Mitchell Ayres’ orchestra and the Ray Charles Singers, which spread out to ample voicing in the "big" numbers, meaning fully orchestrated, and shrink to a bright and semi-impromptu smaller group as the mood brightens and the pace increases. The total result is Pure Perry Como, all of his niceness and talents and taste herein supplied, and therefore, So Smooth.

Jack O’Brien
Well-known newspaper columnist
Copyright 1955, Radio Corporation of America

Vinyl Version Extended Play Album| Session Dates |  UK Release | EPB-1085 45RPM |
Recorded at Webster Hall, New York City
With Mitchell Ayres' Orchestra and The Ray Charles Singers
Arrangements by Joe Lipman, Joe Reisman and Jack Andrews
Recorded January 20th, 25th and February 8th, 17th, 1955
Album notes by Jack O'Brien, Newspaper Columnist
All tracks are monaural

Composer Index
A Perry Como Discography 
& Digital Companion

RCA Victor Memorial| Site Links | All AlbumsAll Songs | The Recording Sessions |

First Edition Summer 1992
Second Edition Christmas 1993
Web Page Edition Christmas 1997
25th Anniversary Revision November, 2017
Digital Upgrade August, 2018
Christmas 2022 Revised Edition
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Tuesday, December 13, 2022